Mirror Neurons: The Neuroscience of Successful Sales Relationships
Most of my recent 1-1 clients have been people I already know.
It’s a lot of fun getting to work with friends to help them find focus and growth. One common problem people have is sales prospecting.
The challenge? Sales prospecting feels like an endless grind.
But it doesn’t have to be. I want to share a simple process that’s transformed my approach to sales and my clients. My goal is to help make your sales more natural, enjoyable and effective.
Let’s dive in.
Ever feel like you’re on a hamster wheel?
We’ve all been there — chasing sales targets, hunting leads, always pitching.
It’s like running on a treadmill. Lots of movement but no forward motion. In the busyness of digits and dashboards, we lose touch with the essence of business: genuine human connection.
We’re conditioned to align busyness with success.
More calls, more pitches, more… everything. But here’s the problem: we’re fooling ourselves. We’re present, but not engaged.
It’s business on cruise control, but our souls crave more.
There is a hidden cost of disconnection. If selling feels icky or something you hate doing — why keeping doing it the same way?
When you push personal connection to the side, you miss opportunities right in front of you. You create your own roadblocks. Sales is not something you switch on and off. It’s something you do all day everyday.
Truth bomb from the past
W. Clement Stone had it right: “Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman…”
But let’s tweak it for our world: It’s not about the pitch; it’s about the person. If you view sales as a numbers game — then you turn everyone into a commodity. This means you seek yes or no answers. People don’t work in such clear black and white.
No can often mean “not right now”.
Also there are more possibilities than someone being a customer or disappearing forever.
Neuroscience meets sales: the empathy connection
Here’s the science: our brains are wired for authentic interactions.
Mirror neurons are fascinating. They activate when we engage with others, mirroring emotions and actions we observe.
Ever find yourself yawning when someone else does?
That’s them in action!
But here’s the secret sauce: they don’t respond to every interaction, only the genuine ones. They can literally tell if you’re “all in” or just going through the motions.
Now, let’s bring this into the sales world.
Traditional sales tactics have us viewing potential clients as “prospects” or “leads,” which can be dehumanising and, honestly, a bit robotic. But what if we approached sales with our mirror neurons in mind?
Imagine this: instead of “cold leads” or “prospects,” you have a list called “Curious.” These are real individuals who’ve shown a flicker of interest. They’re not just entries in a CRM; they’re people you’re genuinely intrigued by and want to learn more about.
This isn’t about you pitching; it’s about you establishing a human connection.
The Empathy-First Method
Here’s a system that’s been game-changing for many. Make a list (I recommend using the same list on your CRM, Twitter, email folders, etc.):
- 01 Chatting: Here, you’re not “building leads”; you’re having authentic conversations. You’re learning about individuals, their needs, their goals, their fears.
- 02 Curious: This isn’t about “qualifying leads.” These are individuals whose interest is piqued, and they sense your genuine empathy and engagement, thanks to those mirror neurons.
- 03 Customer: They’re not “conversions.” They’re people who have placed their trust in you, resonating with your sincerity.
- 04 Collaborators: More than “business partners,” these are people you’re creating something with, sharing mutual respect and excitement.
- 05 Champions: They’re not just “referrals.” They’re your cheerleaders, believing in you and your services enough to tell others.
See the difference?
This approach is empathy in action. It aligns with how our brains are wired. It’s recognising emotions, building genuine connections, and reflecting sincerity in your interactions.
And when you do this? Your mirror neurons aren’t the only things that’ll light up. Your relationships will deepen, trust will solidify, and sales will feel like a natural step rather than a forced pitch.