Should I mirror my customer’s style or just be myself?
Last week’s guest blog touched on building great working relationships with customers. You begin building trust from the moment you meet someone or talk to a new customer on the phone. The question is, should we stick to our personal styles or use mirroring to build rapport?
As humans, we begin to like someone when we feel we have a connection. In business, people give business to people they like.
So how could you get people to like you enough to do business and continue doing business with you?
There are loads of articles that say we should change some of our behaviours and adapt our style to mirror or reflect the customer.
That’s fair enough but don’t go over the top because humans are intuitive beings and our sub-conscious tells us how to spot a fake.
And if you’re a new business owner, networking is a great way to meet new people and polish up your conversational skills.
We all have a unique personal style so rather than change the way you are, just be yourself but follow basic rules.
Get them talking!
Have you noticed how people like to talk about themselves? Ask questions about them, their business, how they got started. A compliment works wonders too; Wow, your website looks amazing. I love your new branding, how did you come up with that? When they tell you the story, listen, really listen.
What did you say your name is?
Building rapport can be as simple as saying or spelling a customer’s name correctly. For instance, if her name is Julie, never say Julia. If it’s spelt Rachael, then don’t write Rachel. Getting someone’s name right has to be basic rule number one.
Focus on the person you’re talking to. Darting eyes, looking at your watch, your phone or trying to find someone else in the room, gives the impression you’d rather be doing something else.
If you’re speaking to a customer on the phone, treat that call as if you are meeting face to face.
Have you ever heard the “email voice”? That’s the one you hear when the person you’re talking to on the phone is reading emails. It’s so obvious and easy to detect. You know the person is distracted and not not listening to you
A smile puts a warmth in your voice. When you call your client, your conversation will leave a much better impression if you are confident and your voice has energy, clarity and a bit of authority.
These days we probably write more than we speak; email, texts, social media. What’s your writing style? Do you begin emails with “Hi”, or “Hey there”, or Dear Mr Smith? There’s no hard and fast rule but think about your customer expectations.
We are all busy and time is money. If you don’t respect peoples’ time, how can they respect yours? In an ideal world, if you promise to do something by a certain time, you should do it and if you have a meeting with your customer, don’t be late. Of course, things can go wrong so it’s a good idea to let people know early if anything changes.
Think about how you respond to customer questions. We don’t always know the answer to everything but how would it make your customer feel if he asked something about your service and you said, “I dunno”.
Then, repeat back what you’ve learned. When you say it back it reassures the customer you’ve been paying attention, shows that you understand the problem enough to come up with a solution.
What’s your style?
Do you adapt your style to match your customers? Do you think we should, or do you feel that doing business is simply down to good manners?