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  • Kalani Thomas

What does it mean to "mirror" your prospect?

When I'm working with a salesperson or business owner that is having a hard time bonding and creating a relationship with a prospect, I suggest that person practice the technique of

"mirroring" the prospect. Mirroring is when you reflect the personality of the person you are speaking with back to them. Usually best done one-on-one, this can be utilized in a group setting by reflecting the "average" or culture of the group.

Sounds simple enough, right? If someone is happy and acting at a 7.5, you act happy and at a 7.5, right? In order to deliver this technique you have to be a little bit of an actress/actor. I don't like to just throw you into something with little explanation, so allow me to answer a few basic questions I get about mirroring.

1. What exactly makes this a bonding technique?

The brain is built with a mass of systems and protocols for understanding the world around it. Part of this system is known as the Mirror neurons. Mirroring your prospect triggers this system, and allows them to better understand you and bond with you in a shorter period of time.

2. What does a Mirror neuron do?

Imagine you pick up a 4-month old baby, and start making faces at it. You stick out your tongue, and the baby follows. You wiggle your eyebrows, and so does the baby...the mirror neuron is responsible for those actions. It connects the logic between observation and action. In that connection, you can be better understood and trusted.

3. This sounds like a load of Bologna. Why would this work?

I'm not saying this by itself works to get a salesperson who isn't performing back on track. My only point is, you need to have every tool in your tool belt in order to build a home, this is just a tool.

Everything you do in sales is based off a science. It may not be a science written down and presented as a thesis paper at MIT, however, consider the customer training everyone over 27 years old went through as a kid.

The Scenario

It's early evening, everyones home. Mom, Dad, all the kids and the family dog. Suddenly, the phone rings, all the kids stop immediately and look at each other as if in an old western gun draw. Then the second ring, and all the kids dart to the phone, leaping the dog, toys and each other to be the first one. And who is on the phone when you got there?

"Well hello little girl/boy, can I speak to your mom or dad? Tell them this is Bobby from the phone company about their long distance."

Now, like the valiant consumer in training, you shout down the hallway, "Mom, it's the phone company!"

Mom's response? Everyone say it with me....."Tell them we aren't interested."

There it is, your customer training began. Salespeople are terrible and you shouldn't talk to them, right? Moms response was not, "Evaluate the product, ensure it fits in our needs and budget, and then we will consider it as a family and make a decision together."

You have been taught since you were a kid to just say no to 2 things; drugs and sales people. So if you can take a minute to connect with someone, no matter how minimal, you can give yourself that fighting chance to make it past mom's kitchen phone consumer training program from your childhood.

4. How exactly do you perform this technique?

When the prospect, gatekeeper, or customer answers the phone or enters the room, assess the level of "personality tone" this person is exerting. Personality tone is the way a person exerts their personality and mood through communications.

To make it easy on yourself, lets put this on a scale from 1 - 10. (just talking personality tone, not voice tone)

1 being the lowest level of energy, think, Droopy the Dog.

5 being the mid level of energy, maybe, Bugs Bunny (Eh, what's up doc?)

and a 10 being highest as an over the top always happy Mickey Mouse.

When you hear the person you are meeting with, assess a number, quickly, to that personality tone. If it is a 4, you can go in from a 3 to a 5. If you want to be on their level, with less intensity, go just below them at a 3. Right at their level is 4, and just above them would be a 5. When you hit a range that is several numbers off that measurement you set, such as a level 2 pitching a level 7, you miss the chance to bond as a personality. Think of the times you were called by someone you felt didn't want to be doing that job, or was just in a overly happy mood. You respond differently to each, and so will your connections.

People tend to bond most with people that are most like them. Using this to bond with a prospect will get you closer to being a better salesperson. I promise.