Do you ever find yourself explaining something to someone and when you’ve finished speaking they look at you as if you’d just rattled off something in fluent Japanese? So, you start over, doing your best to explain it so that they understand you, yet you still get that baffled look? Then you resort to speaking slower, as if that will make it easier for them to understand, which it won’t, by the way, it will just annoy them. Sales people are often accused of selling “their way” rather than the “customer’s way” which of course often leads to a lost sale that was more than likely salvageable had the sales person know a few neat tips.
What is usually happening here is a clash of representation systems and it causes so much unnecessary tension in all walks of life, not just our working life. There are four main representation systems and we use all of them, however there is one that we use most often and that is our main representation system.
Visual – The people who are mainly visual talk in pictures, they retain information by seeing and they tend to talk very fast and to the point. Visual people tend to be very observant.
Auditory – The people who are mainly auditory talk in sounds, they retain information by listening and talk quite fast, however not as fast as visual people. Auditory people get distracted by sounds easily.
Kinaesthetic – The people who are mainly kinaesthetic talk in feelings, they retain information by absorbing, doing, getting a feel for it and they tend to talk very, veerrrryyy slowly.
Auditory digital – The people who are mainly auditory digital have to have thing make sense, be logical. They make lists of things, do things by rote and often have a hard time getting in touch with their emotions.
Now imagine you are visual, you learn by seeing, you speak fairly fast, with clipped tones, direct and straight to the point and you have a kinaesthetic prospective client you are hoping to do business with. How do you even know that without the above knowledge? You do your best to build up rapport, it seems to be going right, you’re painting a lovely scene for your client and s/he says: “It doesn’t make any sense to me at all, can you repeat that only a bit slower, this time?” So you duly do as requested, brightening the picture for your client, who decides s/he needs more time to get a feel for it! Can you see that client sliding out of your grasp?
Knowing your client’s representation system enables you to
1) Build rapport faster,
2) Talk to them in their language,
3) If you get really good at it bring them over to your representation system,
4) Get much better results.
This also applies to the people you work and live with, not just your customers. Take note of the words you use most often, are they visual, auditory, kinaesthetic, or logical? You will find you use all of them, just one type more than the others.