Sales professionals know that non-verbal cues are as important as verbal communication in closing deals. Being able to understand what a client’s body language is telling you can help you change tack and approach a sale from a different angle whenever appropriate. It is important to see whether the person you’re talking with is engaged or disengaged. In general, if they are leaning toward you, they are engaged. On the other hand, if they are leaning away or are looking somewhere else, then they are bored and disengaged.
Another aspect to remember about reading body language is that it is more difficult to mask feelings through the eyes and face compared to the rest of the body. Strengthen your bargaining position based on their reaction. By being able to read body language, you’ll know early on whether the sales strategy you have in mind will work. While understanding the non-verbal communication from customers is important, it is equally essential for you to use your own body language to inspire confidence in the product and service that you’re selling.
Good Eye Contact
Most people are comfortable with eye contact that only last for about three seconds. If a prospect maintains eye contact with you, it usually means that they like what you’re saying and that they agree with it. People increase the amount of time they look into the eyes of others whenever they feel engaged.
Pupil size is also a major indicator of emotional reactions. It is something that no one can control. If pupils are dilated, it means that a person that you’re talking to has positive feelings about your proposal. If the pupils are constricted, it means that someone is not receptive.
People also tend to be drawn into looking at objects or individuals they like. If they are not looking at you, they are most likely distracted, and it is time to change your tactic. You should also note whether their eyes are opening wide or are slightly narrowed. Eyes that are wider tend to mean that a person is engaged. Eyes that are narrowed signal disinterest – or worse, distrust. In addition, if they squint while reading your proposal, it may mean that they have seen something problematic.
Good vs. Not So Good Smile
It is essential to never assume that someone who is smiling at you is in agreement. In many cases, people smile as a polite way of saying “no”. Determine if the smile is genuine by considering overall facial expression. Polite smiles involve only the mouth. A genuine smile usually means the corners of the eyes crinkle.
Gestures are always telling. The position of the person’s arms is a major clue about what the person is thinking. Generally, expansive gestures mean that a person is welcoming your ideas. Also, when someone uses open-hand signals, it is a positive sign that he or she is receptive. These gestures flow naturally from a person.
In contrast, people who are disinterested may hold their head in their hands or drum their fingers on a table. If a person is defensive about something, they may also cross their arms or grip their wrist. Watch out for tight grips and protective gestures because it is a sure sign that it’s time to change your sales approach.
The position of the torso and shoulders can also be used to gauge a person’s feelings. If they agree with you, they will want to stand close to you. On the other hand, if they disagree, they will lean back to get some space away from you. Someone who has already turned their torso or shoulders away means that they are no longer interested. It may also indicate that they are uncomfortable; thus the term “cold shoulder.” When you get the “cold shoulder,” it is time to change the topic to re-engage the prospect. You’ll be able to see whether they are still interested based on their reaction after this.
Reading Body Language Basics
The information outlined above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding body language. However, it should be enough to get you started the next time you talk to a prospective customer. Sales is a tough job, and it is essential to be as ready as you can when it comes to dealing with disinterest and objections. Body language is a sure way to increase your chances of closing the deal.
There are many indications to watch for to understand a person’s body language. Taking the time and effort to read body signals can mean the difference between closing the sale and watching a prospect turn away. Use your knowledge of body language to change your sales proposal and better respond to what the prospect actually wants from you.