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Mirroring and Matching

A couple of weeks ago I was at a doctor appointment with my wife, Amy. She is about to give birth to our second child, but not until the end of August. As he always does at the end of the appointment, the doctor asked Amy if she had any questions. She hasn’t been feeling quite right lately and her questions were paired with some obvious stress and anxiety.

Rather than downplaying my wife’s concerns and treating her like a paranoid patient the doctor shut his mouth, listened and nodded as to acknowledge that he understood what she was expressing. He then sat down across from her with his hand on his knees just like she was sitting. He even went as far to level his tone to hers. The doctor answered all of her questions, completely putting her at ease. When we got out to the elevator, Amy looked at me and said, "I love that doctor."

What the doctor did (knowingly or unknowingly) is called mirroring and it’s an effective sales technique that works to put clients and prospects at ease if it’s done with a genuine and sincere intent, the way our doctor did with Amy.
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Kurt Mortensen, author of Maximum Influence and one of America's leading authorities on persuasion, motivation and influence, discusses “mirroring and matching” saying:

When you reflect your prospect's mood, you give validation to what he is saying and feeling. We often verbally mirror another persons mood by restating what he or she just said: "So, what I hear you saying is…" or "I think I would feel that way too, if I also experienced…." Be sure when you mirror your prospect's mood that your tone is very sincere. Your persuasive power increases when you sincerely acknowledge your prospect's comments, concerns, and feelings.

Sincerity is the key. Mirroring another person’s mood and matching their energy level should not be forced. It should be as natural as a smile or a handshake. It’s the same as looking someone in the eye when their speaking or acknowledging their concerns they way our doctor did.

If done in a genuine and sincere way mirroring and matching is a can give strength and trust to any relationship.

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