Body Language In Sales. What’s It Saying?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

Businessman at desk in businesEven if you’re not aware of your body language, other people you are with are.

The signals you give unconsciously may affect the other person unconsciously too, and if they are negative signals, it could affect the process of communications without either of you understanding why.

This is why it’s so important to be totally aware of what your body is saying, especially when carrying out a sale.

You don’t want to come away from an interaction having failed to secure commitment, with the true cause being the inability to establish rapport or the poor messages coming from body signals.

According to Wikipedia, “Body language helps to establish the relationship between two people and regulates interaction, but can be ambiguous. Hence, it is crucial to accurately read body language to avoid misunderstanding in interactions.”

You will have read or heard about what some signals may mean, but you must be accurate in your assessment, as it should be considered as a ‘language’ and not just a few words in a sentence chosen at random.

This is why it’s important to be totally congruent in the messages you give when exhibiting body language.

Here are some ideas that will help you remain positive in your communications face-to-face with customers:

  1. Display Confidence In The Way You Portray Yourself

Slouching gives an impression of tiredness and world-weariness.

Standing up straight, leaning slightly forward and having your shoulders back will make you look more confident and attractive.

Relax your shoulders so you don’t seem tense.

  1. Establish Rapport With Others

Match the speed you are speaking to others in the room.

If you speak too fast, the other person will feel pressured.

Too slow, and they will think you are lazy or talking down to them.

You should also make sure to nod once in a while as you listen to someone else.

  1. Be In Control Of Your Emotions

If your hands are up and you’re rubbing them together, you are obviously excited.

If they are clenched and together, you are frustrated or nervous.

Keep your hands in front of you or on the side and relaxed, with fingers together.

This will demonstrate that you are in charge of your emotions and maintaining control.

  1. Put Yourself On Equal Footing

Handshakes can make or break rapport.

If you apply too much pressure, you are perceived as domineering or ignorant, but if you are too weak, people will think you have no self-confidence.

You want to aim to mirror the other person’s handshake, which will put you both on the same level.

  1. Be Aware Of Face-Touching

Many people get a sub-conscious feeling when another’s hand comes to their face, scratching a non-existent itch or rubbing the eye.

It normally is considered as a cover-up to a lie, so be aware of what you’re doing with your hands

  1. Have A Considered Amount Of Eye Contact

The most contact we have as humans is through our eyes.

But make sure that you have the right amount.

I had a salesperson once who would stare so intently, it put people off, as they felt pressured.

But too little eye contact can make you look unconfident and shifty.

Try to maintain eye contact for around 70-80% of the time, so it gives your buyer a feeling of confidence and relaxing in the knowledge that you are (at least in the eye-contact area) being open and honest

  1. Ensure Your Arms Are Congruent With Your Message

This means being aware of the openness you are displaying with your arms.

They can act as a barrier on occasions, making the other person feel you are concealing something.

Being too open, waving them about, can be too distracting and make the other person concentrate too much on that and the meaning behind it, rather than listening to your message.

The Key To Displaying Good Body Language Is Two-Fold:

  • It matches and enhances the message you are portraying to the other person
  • The other person isn’t distracted by it. If they are asked about your body language after the conversation, it’s hardly remembered at all, as it didn’t stand out as incongruent to the message you were sending

Remember, then, that your body language, the non-verbal messages you send subconsciously, can have a profound effect on the way the other person believes in your sales message.

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Big Stock Photo

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 26 July, 2017

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