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Trying On Someone Else's Skin

Feb 12, 2008
We've all heard the old saying, 'You can't know someone until you've walked a mile in their shoes.' To add to the other 'energy' techniques I've written about in previous articles, I'd like to tell you about a great rapport builder of jumping into someone else's skin and walking a mile in their shoes. In "To Kill a Mockingbird" Harper Lee wrote, "You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...until you climb into his skin and walk around in it."

We are going to learn to climb into the skin of our prospects, experience them, their affluence, their decision making mechanisms, their emotional states-so that we can better give them what they need and get what we need.

Our other-than-conscious minds are goal seekers. They recognize patterns with incredible brilliance and can pick up characteristics in others so that when we intentionally step into someone else's skin, we've already formulated what we are going to experience.

How are we going to do this? The way I do it is I just look at you and jump in. I imagine in my mind that I am now you looking at me. It's that simple. When I look at you, my unconscious, knowing that I'm going to step inside you, can very quickly build a pattern of who and what you are, such that when I step inside you, it already has constructed what's going to happen. Once I'm inside you, I'm modeling you, or mirroring you so completely and so powerfully that the results can be startling both for you and for the person that this is being done with.

It sounds weird. I'll agree with that. But guess what? It doesn't matter. No one else knows that I'm doing it as I'm doing it, and it doesn't detract from my presentation, it simply creates a more cohesive rapport. It's absolutely possible that this is all in my head (in fact, it is obviously all in my head), but the results are undeniably powerful.

One of my students told me an alternative option that they've experienced with good results. They build a picture of the person they're becoming. And then they turn around and face the same way as that person and step in that way. It's a lot like mirroring.

This is one of the fastest ways of gaining rapport I have ever seen or used and specifically when we're working with the affluent, if say, we are not as wealthy as we expect we will be yet, this is a really powerful simulation.

What if you work with people on the phone and you have no idea what they look like? Could you do the same thing anyway? Sure. What is it that you know about that person when you're talking to them? They've got a phone to their ear, and they've got a voice, and their voice has characteristics, and those characteristics have conditions that your unconscious mind has seen before.

If we assume that there is a finite number of patterns that exist, and if we chunk up a little bit, go to a bigger level, we can say, for example, there are twelve astrological signs. There are seven major personality types, depending on the system that you're working with. There are all sorts of different classification systems that will seek to limit the number of possible combinations.

The combinations of traits in humans is obviously more infinite and complex than just their astrological sign, but we've all come across most major patterns and characteristics. Isn't it interesting to know that our unconscious minds have dealt with most of all of the major patterns.

We are constructing an imperfect image. But even imperfect is okay. If we're only hearing them as opposed to hearing and seeing, our construct is going to be different. However, for every minute we are with them, whether in their presence or on the phone, we are getting a more complete idea and image and we are locking on to what that person needs and wants from the interaction.

Here are a few things to ask yourself once you've stepped into their skin: What are their physical characteristics? How does it feel to have those characteristics? Notice when you step into the other person, where you feel the connection to them. Do you feel the connection in your stomach, in your feet, in your hands, in your chest, in your head? Where do you feel the connection? By asking yourself these questions you'll deepen the rapport.

One word of warning: don't try this if the person is sick or if they have something wrong with them. Sometimes being that empathetic can also make you sick.

Even if you're not someone who feels particularly in touch with 'energy', this technique can still be used with great results.
About the Author
Kenrick Cleveland teaches techniques to earn the business of affluent prospects using persuasion. He runs public and private seminars and offers home study courses and coaching programs in persuasion techniques.
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