Mirroring your customer's words and sense of urgency can foster a sense of connection and improve customer satisfaction. Get a walk-through on how this mirroring, or "pacing," works—plus three real-world examples of how to pace.
- Good negotiators have mastered the skill of pacing others. They mirror the verbal expression or body language of the person they're talking to. And this pacing helps them create rapport and it puts them in the best position to influence the outcome. So let's look at three ways you can pace your customers. Pace the customer's sense of urgency. I stopped at an airport restaurant for lunch. When the server came to my table one of the first things she said was, how much time do you have before your flight. When I told her I had less than an hour she said, we'll make this quick. She was swift with everything, taking my order, bringing it out, and getting the check. She paced my schedule. Her sense of urgency put me at ease because I knew I'd enjoy my meal and still make my flight. When you sense your customer has an urgent need try to pace. Do this by quickly following up, or conveying a sense of urgency with your words. For example, I don't want you to worry we'll resolve this today. Pace with agreement. It's easier to keep a conversation positive when you find ways to agree with your customer. Look for opportunities to pace your customer by positively commenting on something they've said. You can say things like, I can see your point on that, or I know that had to be frustrating. If you outpace, walk it back. I was leaving a deli with my mother and sister one evening. Engrossed in conversation my sister and I strolled at a brisk pace. I happened to look back and saw that my mother was a few yards behind us. We turned around and walked toward her and then picked up her pace. While my mother didn't say anything about us walking ahead of her I know that didn't feel good. When you outpace a customer by talking to fast, or giving explanations that they just don't get that doesn't feel good. Your intentions are good but your pace is off. Get back on track by checking for understanding, slowing down when you need to, and by even using some of the same words your customer uses even if they're not technically correct. For example, if your customer says thumb drive when your inventory calls the device a flash drive you don't need to correct the customer. Pace customers by using their language when it makes sense. Pacing puts you in a position of influence because you're in sync with your customer and they sense that you're on their side and that you truly want to help.