In business today, there
is only one boss - the customer. Sh/e can fire everybody from the CEO down simply
by spending his/her money elsewhere. One of the best techniques which will help
us overcome our tendency to fake attention with customers is a cutting-edge
technique that will improve our listening as well as help us gain rapport with
our customers. This technique is extremely powerful for in-person contacts and
it comes from the science of Neuro Linguistics Programming/NLP.
First, let's talk about
the background information that will help you see the technique's power. One
thing we know is that one of the barriers to customer service is the fact that
we sometimes FAKE ATTENTION. This is due in part to our THOUGHT/SPEECH RATIO.
We can think 4-5 times faster that the other person talking. The NLP technique
gives us something to do with that extra lag time in our thought/speech.
Mehrabium conducted a research
study to determine how important the nonverbal aspects of communication are
compared to the actual words we use when communicating one-on-one. If you divide
up interpersonal communication into the Words we use, the Tone of
Voice and Gestures or Body Language, what percentages would you give to
each? The following conclusions were made: Your words are with 7% of your communication,
your tone of voice comes out to 38% and your gestures are equivalent to 55%
of your total communication.
It is surprising to find
that most customer service training centers around the use of words. Since the
nonverbal component is so important, that is what we need to concentrate on.
Let's talk about what Neuro Linguistics Programming is and why it is so powerful.
In short, NLP, developed
by John Grinder and Richard Bandler, is a system that allows us to "read" people
more sensitively and respond to them more effectively. We are able to establish
a positive relationship quickly by incorporating NLP into the way we work with
Neuro stands for
your nervous system or non-verbal behavior. Everything in your nervous system
runs subconsciously. Most times, you are not consciously aware of what you are
doing nonverbally. The way you typically sit is probably not consciously chosen.
You sit the way you've always sat. It is subconscious and natural.
for your language. In this case, your non verbal language.
Programming is just
like a computer program. It is a program you put into place to achieve a specific
result. With this technique we are looking to BUILD RAPPORT with other people.
Let's look at the specifics
of how to apply NeuroLinguistics Programming to working with customers.
is one of several Neuro Linguistics Programming/NLP techniques, is the art of
copying another person's behavior to create a relaxed communication situation.
The reason being is that we like people who are like us. "Birds of a feather
flock together." If we LOOK nonverbally just like someone, and 93% of how that
person communicates is nonverbal, they will like us at a subconscious level.
And be saying to themselves, "I like this person. They are just like me." And,
if we like someone, we trust them AND want to do business with them (or have
them service our equipment).
Specifically, this is how
First, match the
other person's voice tone or tempo. If they talk fast,
you talk fast. If they talk slowly, you talk slowly. When I speak in New York,
I can't speak quickly enough. If I'm in southern Texas, I slow my pace down
to match their pace. One way to help you match the other person's tempo is to
match the other person's breathing rate. Pace yourself to it.
Match the other person's
body movements, posture and gestures. If the person you're mirroring
crosses his/her legs, you cross your legs. If the other person gestures, you
will gesture. Of course, subtlety is everything. You may want to wait several
seconds before moving. A very important point about gesturing is that we only
gesture when we speak. This won't make much sense to you until you go out and
observe other people speaking to each other.
The process of mirroring
is totally natural. You do it naturally with people you like and have built
rapport with. Have you ever coincidentally noticed that you and a friend simultaneously
scratched your noses at the same time. It's mirroring, it's just that you didn't
know that is what it is called.
Morton Kelsey said it well
when he said, "Listening is being silent in an active way." If you think of
it, if you rearrange the letters in the word listen, it is equivalent to silent.
How much more effective would we be in customer service if we would listen more
and talk less?