3 Times You Should NOT Maintain Eye Contact With The Prospect

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Eye contactSales training 101 teaches that you must always maintain eye contact with the prospect during a sales interaction. While this is essentially true, it is not literal. In fact, there are three times during the sale when you do NOT want to look the prospect in the eyes.

Eye-to-eye contact is usually a good thing, helping you to gain trust and develop rapport and helping you to listen more effectively. However, there are a few times in the sale when you deliberately should not look directly at the prospect.

#1 – Showing or Demonstrating a Psychical Product
Whether you are selling and showing an automobile, a computer, a television, a piece of furniture, or a twin engine Learjet, when you are showing or demonstrating a tangible product, your eyes should be focused on the product and not the prospect. As you show the buyer the product, your eyes should relish at the sight of the greatest thing the world and you have ever seen. Glue your eyes to the product as your facial expressions show your delight.

If you focus your eyes on the prospect while showing your product, it forces the prospect to look back at you instead of the merchandise. You need to focus on the prize and that will direct the prospect to do the same. Of course, you will glance toward the prospect for confirmation and feedback often. However, concentrate your focus on the item and gaze upon it as if it is the greatest thing you have ever seen.

#2 – Using a Written or Multi Media Presentation
The purpose of a presentation book, pictures, or multi-media in a sales interaction is the powerful message that the combination of stimuli delivers. It is the combination of the prospect hearing your voice in addition to seeing the words in black and white and seeing the images that give the presentation power. Once again, you want the prospect’s attention to be on the material. Focus your eyes on the material and the prospect will do the same.

#3 – Having Multiple Sales People in the Sales Interaction
Whenever there is more than one sales person present during a sales interaction, it is crucial that ONLY the sales person handling the interaction or actually speaking and dealing with the customer be the one who looks the customer in the eyes. To do otherwise is a detrimental sales training mistake that will not only cost you lost sales, but lost sales talent as well.

As an example, you have two sales people in the presentation, one senior who is training the novice. During the sale, the trainee MUST focus his or her eyes on the senior sales person and NOT the customer.

When the trainee continually looks toward the prospect, it forces the prospect to look back at the trainee, consequently taking the focus away from the senior sales person and the presentation. In addition, the prospect is often looking for some reaction from the rookie who does not yet know exactly how to react. When the trainee, of course a little nervous, exhibits some trepidation, the buyer immediately concludes that there is something wrong.

The trainee or other sales person in the interaction should stare at the sales person that is in control and doing the speaking. This will direct the prospect’s attention back to the sales information and eliminate unwarranted problems.

It is not just about eye contact…it is about eye control!

Happy Selling


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 13 September, 2012

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