You have a measly 7 seconds to form a first impression (Willis and Todorov, Psychological Science, 2006). Your mind quickly takes into account multiple traits when you meet someone new. These include educational achievement, economic level, trustworthiness, sophistication, success, credibility, competence, and sexual desirability. So when buyer meets seller, each is sizing up the other using all sorts of clues, most done subconsciously.

Vocal Qualities

While 93% of what you notice is non-verbal information – the individual’s body language and appearance – over the phone you depend almost exclusively on the vocal qualities. A small percentage is word choice. One of the biggest mismatches is the pace of talking. If you have ever tried to converse with someone who speaks considerably faster or slower than you do, you probably experienced a visceral response of “get me out of here!”

If you are the seller and seek to influence the other person, you have to be aware of how the buyer operates. Buyers come in 4 speeds: fast, moderately fast, moderate, and slow. Knowing which is which enables you to create AlikeAbility™ and build rapport quickly and authentically that leads to more sales.

Fast Talker, Fast Buyer

Fast speed buyers are driven by enthusiasm, excitement, and experience. They project high economic status, sophistication, and strong sexual desirability. Their rapid-fire speech and full volume command attention. They often interrupt to speed up the transaction and get to the bottom line. As the seller, know that these buyers prefer quality and name brands. They like one-of-a-kind items. Move immediately to accommodate their wants and needs. Avoid details. Prepare the paperwork for them, and then simply ask for signature and credit card. Let them bask in the thrill of victory as they experience their latest acquisition.

Slow Talker, Slow Buyer

Buyers who speak slowly have different values and needs. They are thinkers and their slow pace allows them to dissect, analyze, and reassemble ideas. Often their soft volume and frequent pauses can put off the seller who is eager to close the deal. These buyers want information and have done their research. They ask probing questions and have an insatiable desire for understanding thoroughly the product or service offered. When they say, “I have to think about it” take this message as a good sign that the sales process is proceeding well. Avoid interrupting their thought process. At the same time, set a deadline for making a decision because they can get stuck in analysis paralysis. Let them know what a smart buy they made.

Match the Pace

When you know what to listen for, you can use those first 7 seconds consciously to form your opinion about the other person. Slow down or speed up your rate of speech appropriately and you’ll create rapport. Then act decisively to close the sale.

About Dr. Nancy Zare

A retired professor and psychologist, Dr. Nancy Zare originated the AlikeAbility™ System to teach service-based sales professionals how to read buying styles and close more sales. She offers a complimentary report entitled: “4 Magical Questions that Build Rapport Instantly.” Message her on LinkedIn to receive your free copy.