We allow ourselves to be influenced by the people we like. The reason good salespeople are known to be friendly (some even hyper-friendly) is because they understand this core principle: being likable is one of the quickest ways to being influential.
The reason we are turned off by “pushy” salespeople is their attempts to be likable are almost laughably transparent. And absolutely inauthentic.
The key to creating a bond through your writing (and any other form of communication that involves language) is surprisingly simple.
For sure, be the best self you can authentically be. But don’t try to be something you’re not; people can smell that incongruence a mile away, and it’s definitely a turnoff.
So how does this apply to writing in order to achieve bonding?
In my experience, most people who write for the purpose of strategic influence (to get other people to do something) develop a rather formal way of writing. Part of what happens when they adopt that formal style of writing is their natural voice disappears. It’s as if this particular style of writing sends the unspoken message, “I’m not going to let you know anything about me, because if you did you wouldn’t like me.”
This is where we get rules of thumb like, “never talk about religion or politics”. That’s good advice if you don’t want to offend anyone. But how will you bond with people if you never let them know who you really are?
I’m not suggesting you try being purposely offensive. I’m simply saying let people see the “real you”.
You don’t have to write long diatribes about politics or religion. But you can certainly mention who you voted for, where you go to church… as well as the fact that you like to bowl, you’re vegan, you raise greyhounds, and even more unusual things (like your fear of wigs, or how you still watch Saturday morning cartoons).
All of this does start from a premise, which you need to be aware of: it is that you are, in ways that count, very similar to your prospective audience. I’m assuming that you’re in business because you have a love of certain things, and that you share those things in common with your customers and potential customers.
Thus, as you strategically reveal true qualities of your personality, your customers will be struck by a sense of recognition. And what they recognize is themselves. This, my friends, creates bonding. And it’s not the result of manipulation; it’s the result of being real.
Fair warning: this technique will not work if you’re the exact opposite of your customers.
I once worked with a client with a rather substantial business. During our first meeting we were discussing his customers and his prospects. I asked him, “What can you tell me about your customers?”
His answer startled me: “I don’t like them very much.”
It wasn’t difficult to figure out why his company was experiencing a downturn in business.
Do you like your customers very much?
And, more telling: are you very much like your customers?
While you don’t have to be like the people you sell to, it certainly doesn’t hurt.
And I propose to you that if you don’t like the people you sell to, it might be time to consider another line of work.