“Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery”
~Charles Caleb Colton
I have two little girls. One is seven the other is nine. The youngest likes to imitate the oldest and do what she does. The youngest is copying her because she looks up to her. It’s her way of trying to flatter the nine-year-old.
Imitation is a very psychological way to build trust
It can be used for good or for bad. Con men use this to con people out of their money all the time. Once you understand how this works so you can be aware when someone’s doing this to you. You can also use it to convince people to do things that are good for them. Never use this to take advantage of people!
In general, we’re attracted to people who are like to us
We can also get irritated with those who are not like us.
If you’re the analytical type, you may not understand highly emotional people. If you’re a quiet talking individual, you get irritated by loud spoken people. The opposite may also be true. If you’re a loud and authoritative talker, you lose patience with more timid talkers.
We’re more attracted to people who have personality traits that’s the same as ours.
If you can imitate these traits in others, they’re going to be more attracted to you. They’ll start to trust you faster
I talk with a lot of shops, many of the shop owners are gruff, rough and want to get to the point. When I get on the phone with them there’s no point in discussing the weather and how great the day is and isn’t it glorious? That would irritate them.
I have other shop owners that I talk to that want to spend five or ten minutes catching up. We discuss our families, life events and business goals.
Match your customers at that level makes it so that they’re more willing to buy from you
The volume of voice, your tone, lingo, and words you use are all huge. Different generations of people or people from different areas of town speak differently. Different generations use different slang. Using words like “that was sick” or “that was dope” might connect with someone who grew up in the 90s. If you imitate what they’re saying and how they’re saying it in a natural way, you’ll build a stronger bond.
I had a friend who was very good at imitating people’s tones and voices. He could make a killing if he ever became a voice actor. When he would talk with people from other countries he would slowly match their accents. The best part is they would never even notice. By the end of the conversation, he would have a full-on Irish/Scottish/east Indian accent just like their own. The relationship would keep building stronger as they talked. I don’t recommend doing this unless you’re really good at it. But it goes to show you the power imitation can have.
By matching people’s mannerisms, you can deepen a connection
Consider attitude. Having a positive attitude is great. Having a positive attitude is contagious.
Let’s say a customer is naturally a grumpy dude or their emotions never go up or down. They’d get irritated by people whose emotions go up and down a lot. So tone down your positivity to be a bit above the person you’re talking to. If you’re dealing with someone is very positive, get out of your comfort zone. Be a little bit more upbeat to match them.
Notice peoples posture. A customer comes in with perfect posture and you’re slouching over your counter. Subconsciously their thinking you’re a slacker. Body language communicates a lot. Try to mimic the posture of your customer.
Hand movement is so important to building trust
Our prehistoric mind is always thinking about survival. When you show your hands to people, you are showing that you have nothing to hide. There are no clubs in your hands. You’re are safe to be around. If you always have your hands in your pockets, it implies that you’re hiding something. It’s very subconscious but very effective. Professional speakers and presenters have a lot of hand motion. They want to keep you interested and keep you focused on what they’re saying by creating movement. Magicians use movement to distract you.
Always talk with eye contact
Don’t start a staring contest, but don’t let your eyes constantly wander. This shows that you’re not engaged in the conversation and what they’re saying. Eye contact lets them know you’re engaged in the conversation.