Many courses will talk about mirroring – mimicking interpersonal, verbal and physical cues during an interaction with another person.
Some sales courses will even use mirroring as a technique to create develop or enhance rapport.
You can see this very easily in face to face encounters….the earliest is smiling at a baby, they (usually) always smile back at you. And most certainly nearly all adults smile when a baby smiles at them!
As sales people, we’re all attuned to interpersonal cues in face to face meetings and, often, on the phone. Body language, tone, actions etc all help complete the communication signal and help confirm (or contradict) what is being said, or tell us the real story.
How does this work for business development?
What happens if you don’t call your best friend for a while? They typically call you to see how you’re doing at some point.
As sales people, we are conditioned to hunt, to be tenacious. We diarise vigorously to follow up intermediaries/future clients on a regular call cycle. We touch base with regularity. We live in the fear (real or otherwise), if we don’t call, our competitors will steal the march on us and form a better relationship. We sometimes do it because we have imposed call cycle requirements. We don’t always do it because it is in the best interests of the relationship, it is done because we think we have to.
Yet, despite the scheduling of call cycles - we’ve all had the experience that, despite how much we ring someone, we make that call that uncovers that X weeks ago they just signed up with X. Why didn’t’ you ring us? You ask. Maybe because your view of the value of the relationship was lop sided.
They may have spoken to someone else less often, but the relationship was more meaningful to them.
Why is this important?
Sometimes patience is a great way to test the relationship. Were you not to call (lean back) would your client/intermediary call you (lean in). Would they fill the void left by you not calling? Would they miss contact with you? Do they care enough to make contact themselves?
It helps show you the value the other party sees in the relationship – where they prioritise it. Is there benefit to both sides of the relationship. Do they care enough about the relationship to call you if you don’t call them?
How often you talk to someone isn’t important (despite this being thrashed in sales courses) – the quality of the interactions is. How meaningful it is matters. How much value you give matters.
‘Sharing the driving’ in a business development relationship is important as, ultimately, it is the clients destination you want to arrive at, not yours.