When you arrive at a kids party you immediately have to sell your credibility to the parent who booked you, the birthday child and sometimes the venue manager or caretaker. You have to give them confidence in you within seconds of your arrival.
Very often you also have to sell yourself to the older siblings. Do a couple of mind-blowing close-up magic tricks for them at the outset and they will watch your whole show with rapt attention. If you don’t, they will sit at the back, look bored and cause trouble.
Daniel Pink, in the excellent “To Sell is Human”, says that sales people need the ABC:
I will deal with attunement in this post and buoyancy and clarity in subsequent posts.
Know, like and trust
It’s a well-known phrase. If someone is to buy from you then they need to know, like and trust you.
How do you make that happen?
It’s all about attunement.
Attune in Your Head
Essentially, attuning to your prospect or client, be you a sales person or an entertainer, has three elements:
- Assume the right attitude
- Work out their perspective
- Strategically mimic them
When you arrive you need to be humble. Don’t assume that you know what or who your client is. Obviously you will have pre-suppositions, but you may well be wrong. Be ready to change you mind. Have an open mind and be ready to listen, observe and learn.
When I arrive at a party I am immediately thinking: “What are the relationships and dynamics here? Is there any underlying tension? Have they run kids’ parties before or is this their first time?”
Pink cites scientific studies that perspective taking is more effective than empathy when it comes to selling. Knowing how someone is feeling will get you some of the way, but it is much more effective to work out how they are thinking and what is driving them. What are their incentives? Their concerns? Try and put yourself in their shoes and see things from their point of view. What are their presenting problems?
Whatever you do, you want to make yourself a welcome addition to their experience at that moment. Obviously you are a new and different element to their life, but you don’t want to be so different that you make them nervous. Somehow you need to fit in with their “normal”, whatever that may be. To do that, you need to try to understand how they are thinking.
You may well have read or heard about “Postural Echo”, the way that we mirror the gestures of others when we are agreeing with them.
Pink suggests that we can enhance our rapport with clients or prospects if we use “strategic mimicry”. It has to be subtle and not noticeable, otherwise it is creepy!
Instinctively, I find myself at parties slightly changing the way I speak to match my client. Maybe a bit posher or a bit more down-to-earth. I find common points of reference, places we have lived, visited or worked, common interests wherever possible. I am searching for ways for me to link in with their “normal” so that I feel like a natural and welcome addition to their lives rather than a strange abnormality that makes them nervous.
Adapt to your surroundings like a chameleon. Pink quotes Galinsky and Maddux, who say, “Chameleons bake bigger pies and take bigger pieces.”
Pink introduces the wonderful phrase “ambivert”. We have all heard of extroverts and introverts. The data shows that the most effective sales people are those that are at neither extreme. Those in the middle (most people) are ambivert – they listen and observe carefully to get a true picture of the situation and then they can be confident and assertive when needed.
Remember, if you want your sales to be greater, be an attuner sooner than later.