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Scientific Secrets to Landing Your Next Client

Meeting prospective clients can be nerve-racking. You want them to like you, but you don’t want to seem like you’re trying too hard. You want to be yourself, but you also want to leave a lasting impression. There’s a lot to think about because that first meeting determines the prospect’s gut feeling about your business. While these tricks won’t guarantee your next sales pitch will be a success, science says they will make your prospect more likely to like you. If you do want help with your sales pitch though….wedü that too. 1. Mimic Their Body Language Whatever they’re doing, match it with your own body language. For example, you might tilt your head, cup your chin, or fold your hands together on the table. According to a research phenomenon known as the Chameleon Effect, mimicking spurs smoother interactions and increases the likelihood of two people liking each other. If you’ve ever noticed how couples tend to act alike, it’s a similar idea. Over time, the body adjusts to the mechanisms of people you spend a lot of time with to increase the likeability in the relationship. Just make sure to be subtle about it, so the person doesn’t feel like they’re playing ‘Simon says.’ You shouldn’t have to try very hard; mimicking is actually a natural reaction to perceived behavior. Just like the chameleon changes his skin to adapt to his environment, people autonomically adopt the behaviors of those around them in order to fit in. Bonus points: Try to match the way prospects speak. Pay attention to their slang, tone, and facial expressions. Any form of mimicking has the same like-inducing effect. 2. Be in a Good Mood Because people naturally try to mimic those who they’re around, you can influence the way others feel through your mood. However you want clients to feel around you, try to give off that emotion and energy. Some good examples of feelings to give off are: happy, inspired, comfortable, engaged and enthusiastic. Research from Ohio University and the University of Hawaii suggests people can sense the emotions of those around them. That means you don’t even necessarily have to smile for prospects to pick up on your positive vibes. You should smile though. Researchers at Stanford University found that students who communicated through avatars felt more positively about the interaction when the avatar displayed a bigger smile. Even better, a study at Florence University found that people are more likely to remember you if you smile when you first meet them. 3. Listen First It’s tempting to do all the talking in a sales environment because words are an excellent method of persuasion. However, they’re not the only method.  Active listening actually makes you seem more trustworthy, which is essential to build with someone thinking about becoming a client. Not convinced yet? 95% of buyers say salespeople talk too much. People prefer to be listened to. Harvard research found that talking about ourselves is inherently rewarding like food, money and sex. Give prospects a chance to talk and they are more likely to have a positive memory of the interaction. 4. Show Your Flaws Don’t make the mistake of coming across perfect. Instead, make a real mistake; you’ll appear more human, relatable and likable, according to the Pratfall Effect. We’re not really suggesting you plan to make a mistake, but know that people who are flawless come across as threatening. So, loosen up and don’t take yourself too seriously. In fact, research from Illinois State University and California State University at Los Angeles found that a sense of humor is really important when people are thinking of their ideal friend. One caveat: Make sure prospective clients know your competent first and foremost. Harvard psychologists say people judge you based on two criteria when they first meet you: competency and warmth. 5. Like Them When we think someone likes us, we’re more likely to like them back. Psychologists call this the ‘reciprocity of liking.’ So, if you give signs you like the other person first – such as complimenting their ideas or laughing at one of their jokes – you’re more likely to have the feelings reciprocated. However, be careful about over-acting like you like the person. Research suggests that the phenomenon isn’t effective when the liking comes across ingenuine.
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