March 1, 2021

Find Something in Common


Joe Girard, an American salesman, has been on the Guinness Book of Records for twelve consecutive years as the world’s greatest car salesman. One of his secrets of success was that he found what he has in common with his customers and developed a close bond with them, believing that they would buy a car from a salesperson they have a good feeling toward.

People are likely to have a good feeling toward the person who has something in common with them like native place, hobby, tendency, and appearance. This is called Principle of Similarity in psychology. It works in objective parts, but the effect is much greater when we show empathy to others with words like, “I felt the same in that situation,” or “You must be very glad.”

On the contrary, people tend to have an antipathy toward the person who has nothing in common with them. This is called Repulsion Hypothesis. Suppose someone says, “I like rain. The sound of it relaxes me,” and you reply, “I hate this kind of weather.” Or what if you say to a person suffering from rhinitis, “That’s better than having a disk problem in the neck like me”? If your conversation goes like this all the time, you can’t get close to him; rather, you’ll only rouse his antipathy.

Finding what you have in common with others while acknowledging the difference won’t be a secret of success necessary only for salespersons.