I came across an interesting sales statistic today that says people buy more from you when you act like them. In an experiment conducted by the Universite de Bretagne-Sud in France, when salespeople subtly mimicked customer behavior, 78.8 percent of those customers ended up making a purchase. In the same conditions without salesperson mimicry, buyers only made purchases 61.8 percent of the time. Along with increased likelihood of buying, mimicked customers were more complimentary of the salesperson and the business.
The study abstract states: “An experiment was carried out in a retail setting where four sales clerks were instructed to mimic, or not, some of the verbal expressions and nonverbal behavior of the customers. On their way out, these customers were asked to evaluate the sales clerks and the store. Results showed that mimicry was associated with a higher sales rate, greater compliance to the sales clerk’s suggestion during the selling process and more positive evaluations of both the sales clerks and the store.”
The article also refers to previous studies indicating that tactile contact—shaking hands or a pat on the back, for example—also have a similar effect. These “social psychology” techniques help create relationships, they say—and do so efficiently.
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