The old-school method of connecting with prospects was all about building rapport with the prospect. The most widely-used technique for building rapport was to find a commonality between salesperson and prospect—say, a shared love for The Beatles, cats or sushi. If a prospect had a New England Patriots poster hanging in his office, the salesperson would seek to build a connection by talking about football. We’ve all experienced this type of rapport-building at some point in our lives.
The challenge with this strategy is that is doesn’t go deep enough. It might work on a surface level, but it doesn’t fully allow salespeople to build solid connections with prospects before they enter into selling situations. Another drawback: Prospects are used to this strategy—they’ve seen it a million times before. Fortunately, there’s an updated approach to connecting with your prospect. It involves what I like to call the Three Vs of Matching and Mirroring. Here they are:
1. Visual. Connect with your prospect on a visual level. To do this, present yourself in a way that’s similar to how your prospect looks. If your prospect is wearing a suit, you want to be wearing a suit. If your prospect is wearing a T-shirt and jeans, you want to be wearing something a bit more casual. Again, the aim here is to present yourself as looking physically similar to the prospect. And at the same time, mirror the prospect’s physical demeanor. If the prospect stands upright with his shoulders back, you want to stand the same way. If the prospect is sitting in a reclined, relaxed position, you do the same.
2. Vocal. Talk like your prospect. You can connect with your prospect on a vocal level in three ways: Through your talking pace, your speaking volume and your vocal tone. If your prospect talks very quickly, increase the speed of your speech to match. If your prospect speaks very softly, lower your volume. Tone is a bit more subtle. Pay attention to how hard or soft the prospect’s pronunciations of words are. If your prospect speaks with a strong tone, you do the same. Matching your prospect vocally is delicate work but makes a huge difference in connecting.
3. Vibe. Vibe is all about presence. Are you coming off as tense? Relaxed? Energized? If your prospect is a type-A go-getter, you want to mirror that vibe. If your prospect is a gentle soul and not very aggressive, you want to mirror that behavior profile. Connecting with prospects by matching their vibes requires thinking like a chameleon.
By implementing the Three Vs of Matching and Mirroring, you’ll connect to your prospects and make them much less guarded around you. Ultimately, this will lead to a higher rate of closed sales. Which of these strategies do you use? Please share below in the comments.