My great passion is the Argentine tango. Tango is like a conversation: It is all about respect, trust, empathy, sensibility, courtesy, sensuousness and passion, as well as the resulting energy in pursuit of a common goal. Complete concentration on the other person, the room and the music heightens awareness of changes, moods and the environment. I transfer this experience to my work. “In the rhythm of the tango” means to have a “finger on the pulse”.

This is the basis for my own unusual approach to management and sales training. I call it “Mindstep”. I describe the step that takes us from the mental to the bodily level as the “Mindstep”. It means making a conscious step from thinking to acting, and from the brain to the body – and vice versa! This can be reflected in my movements and posture, but also in my facial expressions and gestures. The tango helps prepare you for the transition from mindset to “Mindstep”. I’ll now explain why that is, by drawing upon my sales training concept.

Selling is like being in love or having a passion. It’s about cultivating an intensively personal and individual customer relationship and then fulfilling their desires – all built upon real encounters, human emotions and genuine experiences.

The dialogue you engage in with your customers every day is based on empathy, and on the ability to listen to and show an interest in them. The dynamic this produces has the same quality as the dynamic in tango. That’s why I see the tango as fantastic preparation for a successful customer relationship. Just like sales

  • it creates a bridge between different countries, cultures and continents, and between people of all ages, nationalities, religions and social backgrounds.
  • it is a universal language understood around the world
  • it offers the possibility to process and communicate feelings, wishes and intentions, and to transform inner impulses and attitudes into outer movements and encounters: joy, body-consciousness, dignity, self-confidence, positive energy and dynamism
  • it means actively wanting to communicate with your partner, colleagues and customers
  • it communicates feelings of connectedness, commitment and closeness that we experience in an empathic dynamic

Cultivating an empathic-dynamic sales discussion

Argentine tango, which has been on the UNESCO world heritage list since 2009, is a danced dialogue rather than a choreographed set of steps. The success of a dance is determined by the quality of the communication – just like in business life. Women are increasingly swapping their high heels for flatter dancing shoes, and they lead just like men. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to “leaders” and “followers” here, by which I mean both men and women.

The dance begins with a kind of “weigh in”, where the leader lets the follower know which foot they are standing on, and with this too the leg they will begin dancing with – all communicated with a barely noticeable shift of weight from one leg to the other. This determines the direction, length of step and speed of the dance. Many managers fail to share this information with their team, and many salespeople fail to share it with their customers – and so miss the chance to get off on the right foot. And yet this is exactly what is needed for the follower to be able to engage in the dialogue, develop trust and with this allow themselves to be led. With empathy, a dialogue develops over time, along with an ability to predict situations and react to the them – a skill many companies would benefit from. One particularly beneficial side effect is that the dance makes it clear that resistance is not helpful – as long as the direction taken is the right one.

How does “Mindstep” work during the coronavirus crisis?

How can I create an emotional connection to customers in the time of social distancing and face masks? How can I make a successful sales pitch from a meter and a half away, and with your facial expressions partly obscured by a mask? And how do I make contact with customers and build trust, respect and empathy in our relationship that will then lead to sales success? Here, too, my answer is the tango dynamic.

The tango dynamic uses mindfulness, attention, appreciation and respect along with certain set impetuses to create purposeful, shared movements – and it an be directly transferred to sales talks with customers. This empathic dynamic overcomes any distance and any mask. Because the most important aspect of customer contact is the emotional connection between a salesperson, their customer and the brand – the product itself is just a means to an end.

The tango dynamic places the person and all their senses at the centre of things. This means that the relationship to the customer takes priority, and on all levels: mental, emotional, and bodily, including facial expressions and gestures.

Stationary retail and the opportunities it offers

Stationary retailers should, therefore, not attempt to emulate the anonymous, impersonal experience of online shopping, even if this brings certain other benefits with it. Instead, they can create a shopping experience for their customers, which is full of emotion – through personal contact, conversation, personal encounter and the “touch and feel” of the products.

The empathic-dynamic approach to sales pitches described above is crucial to ensuring sales success. This skill can be visualised, learned and integrated on all levels through tango – physical, mental and emotional. Tango opens up a path to new communication skills. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you ready to engage with your customers, and enter into a challenging dialogue with them? Are you ready to build a dialogue through listening, attentiveness and empathy that over time helps you predict and react to situations, and which sharpens your instinct for changes, customer moods and market trends, thereby ensuring the long-term success of your company?
  • Are you ready to try out new behaviours, and to perceive your environment in a new way? Are you interested in taking a playful approach to tackling the pressures change brings with it, and in experiencing and implementing new forms of communication?

Then I highly recommend you try my training course “Strengthening customer loyalty with the tango dynamic”. I’ll teach you how to “Pas de Deux” with your customers.