Friday, March 25, 2011

Synch with Your Shopper’s Brain Before Influencing

With ecommerce predicted to grow at a double-digit rate each year, what’s the brick-and-mortar retailer to do? Incorporating ecommerce into your marketing mix is one answer. In addition, consider how you can sharpen your selling skills in ways that outpace ecommerce capabilities.
     Research findings from Princeton University indicate that one distinctive tool you have in face-to-face selling is the ability to reflect each shopper’s brain activity. The researchers found that when communication between two people is at its best, the brain waves of the two people actually come to have similarities. Along with this, the listener—such as the retail salesperson—begins to anticipate where the speaker—the prospective customer—is going next in their thoughts, and can therefore better influence those thoughts.
     The enhanced understanding of the shopper boosts your powers in guiding the shopper’s purchase decisions. It works best with customers you already know, and there are significant differences among salespeople in the ability to do this sort of mindreading. But the research findings do suggest ways to get better at it.
  • First, build a common vocabulary with the shopper. Words are the fundamental tools for you to communicate well. Consumer researchers talk about helping customers develop a consumption vocabulary so they can better describe to the salesperson what they're looking for.
  • Listen carefully not only to the words, but also to the tone of voice. Watch the shopper’s gestures and their facial expressions. Figure out how they all go together so you can get good at reading the brain.
  • Be aware of when you’re in sync. The researchers say you’ll feel visceral signals letting you know you’re now tuned in.
  • You can redirect, but don’t suddenly interrupt, the shopper’s thinking, such as by finishing off their sentences. When you’re reading somebody’s mind, tipping your hand makes it seem creepy, and the shopper gets guarded.
     Much of this advice isn’t new. Salespeople have always been advised to tune into the customer. Terms like “neurolinguistic programming” and “mirror neurons” have been bandied about by retailing gurus. What the Princeton research adds is a better understanding of how this all works and a few additional tips about how the B&M retailer can achieve an advantage over the ecommerce retailer.
     Well, at least until ecommerce includes the shopper putting on the special helmet which reads and transmits all the details of the person’s brain activity.

Click below for more:
Give a Vocabulary for Richer Shopping

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