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Influence with ease Featured

1:02pm EDT July 17, 2002

There's a fine art to understanding your customers.

And while your company's managers often tell front-line employees to be friendly and upbeat with customers, it's not the perfect approach. While it works most of the time, problems are prone to arise when customers are in a hurry or physically fatigued.

Rushed, tired customers don't want to deal with employees who are too chatty or perky, but what can you do to ensure your staff is not only positive but professional without turning off prospects?

Consider training your employees to mirror the nonverbal communication style of the customer. That can be as simple as crossing your arms if their arms are crossed or leaning forward to talk if they do the same.

Mirroring, when properly done, enables employees to create instant rapport -- no matter what the customer's mood. Jeff Mowatt (jmowatt@attglobal.net) is a 20-year veteran of the service industry who develops training programs and consults to business owners looking to improve their staff's service. He can be reached at (800) 566-9288.