Vendor Ploy: Mirroring


    So, what comes after the "Getting to Know you" vendor ploy I discussed in my last blog entry?  Well, now that the vendor has gathered some personal information about you (such as your age, marital status, educational background, and hobbies), the next step is for the vendor to make sure you’re paired up with someone that is extremely compatible.  The vendor wants to make sure that their representative has the ability to maximize his or her quality time with you, like when the vendor rep invites you on a golf outing, to a sporting event, or what have you.  Vendors will use the information they gathered in the "Getting to Know You" ploy in an attempt to stereotype you and frame how they communicate and interact with you.  Vendor staff may even change their voice tone, pitch, or style of speaking to "mirror" yours in order to gain your confidence; hence, the "Mirroring" ploy.

    Have you ever experienced a situation where, early in a new vendor relationship, the vendor rep is quickly replaced by someone else?  The result of the vendor rep switch-a-roo is that you suddenly have a vendor rep who just so happens (as you discover later) to have many things supposedly in common with you.  You may also get the feeling that the vendor’s staff are clones of you in how they talk and dress.

    That’s where the saying "birds of a father" comes into play.  Homogeneity is the fancy word for it.  Generally speaking, people like to surround themselves with those who have similar appearances, characteristics, traits, and attributes.  For example, being a little stereotypical, people from the Southeast generally don’t like conflict and have a harder time getting along with someone from the Northeast (who tend to be more direct).

    Understand that vendors want to do everything possible to garner your faith and confidence in them—and to manipulate and influence you.  Don’t let the vendor’s Mirroring ploy lull you into a sense of friendship and confidence.  Hold your vendor accountable and be forward and direct—even if it’s not your nature to do so.  Vendors may not like you so much as they would otherwise, but they’ll certainly respect you more.


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