As mentioned in previous blogs, I am a believer in Daniel Pink’s sales theories. Pink is the author of several bestselling books, detailing the changing workplace around us. He has sold over 2 million copies worldwide and recently released the book, To Sell is Human. In it, he talks about the ABC’s of selling: attunement, buoyancy and clarity. Throughout the next few weeks, I will discuss these ideas and how they can be applied to increase your company’s sales. This blog will focus on the first concept, attunement. Pink describes attunement as the ability to bring one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people and with the context you’re in. Put in simple terms, it’s understanding another persons’ perspective. To do this requires three things.
Increasing Your Power By Reducing It
Studies have shown that people who perceive themselves with more power will be less likely to relate and take the perspective of the person they’re meeting with. To reduce this tendency, when meeting with a person, assume that you are of lower power than them. This will help you see the other person’s point of view more accurately.
Using Your Head As Much As Your Heart
In addition to perspective taking, it is important to also use empathy; the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Empathy helps you become a more caring and understanding person. Additionally, it aids in building relationships with your clients and easing conflict.
The Mimic Strategy
The last aspect of attunement is the mimic strategy. Now this might sound strange, but mimicking is human nature. First, watch what your client is doing; are they crossing their legs, using their hands to talk, leaning in? Next, wait around fifteen seconds before repeating their action. You do not want to simultaneously mimic your clients’ actions because quite honestly, that would be creepy. Finally, wane. After you’ve been mimicking for a while, try to be less conscious of it. Make it second nature. I teach an undergraduate Sales Process and Design class at Creighton University and tried this trick with my class. Half the students were the mimickers and the other half were unaware of what was going on. The results: it worked! The students being mimicked were much more engaged in the conversation and even agreed to do favors for the other half of the students. And all because of a little mimicking!
Attunement and Sales
By this point in the blog, you’re probably wondering how this relates to sales. How does reducing your power, using empathy and mimicking your clients increase your bottom line? Because sales is all about moving people. It’s convincing those around you to change their attitudes, beliefs or behavior. By using attunement, understanding another person’s perspective, you can begin to understand your client. You can better gauge their desires, wants and needs. When engaging with them, you can lower your power to see their point of view, use empathy to understand their feelings and build lasting relationships, and finally, utilize a mimicking strategy during negotiations. We can apply Daniel Pink’s theory on attunement to our everyday lives. So the next time you’re meeting with a client, review the concept of attunement and try it out!
Want other great sales tips? Check out my book Small Business Guide to Sales Strategies