Nick knew he was not connecting with Michael. For the past four minutes, which seemed like four hours to Nick, Michael had done little more than occasionally say one or two words. What was most annoying to Nick was Michael’s almost complete inability to maintain eye contact. He looks everywhere but at me, thought Nick. I wonder if he really has any interest at all.
“Michael,” said Nick, remembering something about taking a visual approach to selling, “do you see the picture I’m drawing?”
Michael looked at Nick for about a second and then for the next 29 looked everywhere else. Finally, he responded, “Not really. But I kind of get a feeling where you are heading.”
Nick ignored the last part of what Michael said and decided to try an auditory approach.
“To put it another way, are you hearing how this will fit right in with the rest of what I’ve been saying?”
Again, the single glance and then the eyes wandering. I wonder, thought Nick, is this guy on some type of medication or something?
“Not sure… but I think you touched on something that is important to me.”
Yeah, thought Nick, you’ve got nothing to do today, and you just want me to hang around and waste my time. My next appointment isn’t for another two hours, might as well hang around here; it’s warm, maybe this character will actually come alive.
“And what was it that I touched on that was important to you?” responded Nick, having decided that this meeting was going nowhere, but it was better to be inside than out in his car where it was cold and rainy. Then Nick added, “Do you mind if I take off my jacket? It’s kinda of warm, and I’d like to get comfortable.”
“Please,” said Michael, “I haven’t worn one in five years. Whenever I see one coming through the door, I know it’s a salesperson.”
“So you had me figured out before I even sat down.”
“Pretty much. Do you feel more comfortable?”
“Good. So do I. Let’s talk further.”
This meeting went from being a waste of time to “Let’s talk further.” What happened?
A small percentage of the general population understands the world from a feeling basis; these people are generally referred to as “kinesthetics.” How something feels inside to them and how something physically feels are of utmost importance.
The prospect in the story is one example of how a kinesthetic person approaches a buying situation. Michael kept his emotions to himself and waited to see what the salesperson would do.
Nick tried the visual approach and then the auditory approach, only to feel as if he were talking to a stone wall. That should have been his clue as to what was going on, he felt, like he wasn’t getting through to Michael. He wasn’t.
Michael doesn’t “see” the big picture, and he doesn’t “hear” the music playing. In fact, trying to have him see the visuals or hear the auditories will only make setting up communication more difficult.
You may think that since kinesthetics only make up a small percentage of the population, they are not worth the trouble of learning how to “talk” to them. Don’t make this mistake. Kinesthetics are incredibly powerful referral sources, for both positive and negative referrals.
Turn one off and he’ll turn around and turn off a hundred others to your company. Turn one on and you’ll have a seemingly endless supply of high quality referrals and business because he feels good about you.
There are many common words and phrases for identifying kinesthetics; strong; silent; doesn’t say much but when he does, everyone listens; controls the meeting without ever saying a word. Many actors and actresses have this “presence.”
Kinesthetics won’t quickly answer any question you ask. They will take their time, sometimes up to 30 seconds before giving an answer. During this time they are checking to see if the answer they are about to give, feels right. Let them. Never interrupt their checking. Trying to rush them by breaking into their silence is extremely annoying. Neither auditories nor visuals will ever take this long to answer any question you ask them. In fact, auditories may not even pause long enough for you to ask a question.
Some people may need to feel that buying from you feels right. Make sure that you let them.