BODY LANGUAGE First-Impression Basics
BODY LANGUAGE • Making a sale requires effective communication with the prospect; not just the use of words but total body presence. • Body language can offer clues to tell us how well a sale is going. • Our body gives off warning signals that things are—or aren’t—going well.
BODY LANGUAGE • All of these communication signals are conveyed to anyone you are talking to and your presentation or meeting can become a memorable event or a dismal failure depending on the empathy established. • A check of the following list will help you see that learning to “read” body language will help you to sell better…and more.
BODY LANGUAGE • Everyone experiences “first impressions” daily—good and bad. • It is generally agreed they are extremely important in the selling profession. • What some salespeople fail to realize is the need to create a good “first impression” every time!
BODY LANGUAGE • Prospects don’t have to be polite, like you and listen to what you have to say. • As a salesperson, however, you are required to do these things if you want to succeed. • Remember that the friendly person you met yesterday can be the ogre of today. However, the impression you give and the attitude you exude can rub off.
BODY LANGUAGE Taking stock of your selling personality before each sales call should be as automatic as reviewing your pre-call checklist. Here are some important basics to keep in mind:
BODY LANGUAGE • PHYSICAL APPEARANCE • Realize the importance of physical appearance—your customers and prospects do! • Your appearance and the materials you have with you are both sales tools. • Slumping in a chair or having a spot on your jacket can take the person’s attention away from what you are saying. So can playing with a pen or fixing your hair. • Look successful and relax.
BODY LANGUAGE • FACIAL EXPRESSIONS • The face is said to be capable of over 250,000 different expressions! People are more aware of these silent messages than you realize. • You might say “I’m glad you brought that up,” as a means of exploring an objection further. But if you say it with your jaw set and your mouth nothing but a thin line, you are obviously annoyed and the prospect may go on the defensive.
BODY LANGUAGE • TONE OF VOICE • Your tone of voice has a greater range than you might think. It can go from warm to cold in a matter of seconds. • You don’t have to speak with a “smile” all the time, but you can indicate interest and enthusiasm with the right inflections and create a positive climate throughout the meeting.
BODY LANGUAGE • PRACTICE YOUR HANDSHAKE • A firm handshake is said to make a positive impression. However, “firm” to some people seems to include bone-crushing, pumping tactics or not letting go. • The best rule is to wait until the person with whom you are meeting offers to shake hands, then do so in a normal manner.
BODY LANGUAGE • BE VOICE CONSCIOUS • Everyone has speech habits that hinder effective communication. For instance, some people will say “I see” whenever the prospect has finished speaking. And then there are the “ah-h-h” and “well’s” that pop up from time to time. • Many people just aren’t aware they say these things. If you’re not certain of your own voice behavior, practice with a tape recorder.
BODY LANGUAGE • BE VOICE CONSCIOUS • Speak at a speed that will enable people to hear every word. • Choose your words so you don’t become known for speaking a lot but saying a little. • Try to be conversational in your presentation.
BODY LANGUAGE • Now that you have reviewed your own body language, what can you learn from your prospect’s body signals? • Understanding the subtleties of the other person’s movements and body positions can allow you to adjust your presentation before you go too far astray.
BODY LANGUAGE • MOVING THE SHOULDERS • Slumped shoulders (while standing or sitting) say your prospect is indifferent. • Shoulders hunched is often viewed as an aggressive posture. • Likewise, shoulders high and forward, stand for domination. This person is hard to lead!
BODY LANGUAGE • COMING TO THE ARMS • Arms tightly folded against the chest signifies hostility. Your message is not getting through. • Are your prospect’s arms back and hands clasped on the chest? This may mean he is a humble person, but not necessarily the right person to clinch the sale. • Watch out for elbows on the knees or dangling hands. This often means you’re not with a decision maker.
BODY LANGUAGE • DROPPING TO THE FEET • Both feet pressed solidly on the floor are a protection stance meaning the client feels threatened. • Feet relaxed, tipped upward or off the floor is a sign of control and confidence. • Swinging the feet or legs crossed with feet wagging says “impatience”…this person wants to get the discussion resolved, quickly!
BODY LANGUAGE It is impossible for a person to smile and be mad at you at the same time. It is up to you to add that “smile” to the meeting by making sure your body language shows enthusiasm.