As all of us in the sales profession know selling is a communication skill. Communicating is not an easy process even in the most trusting of settings much less the precarious setting of a sales presentation. Often we think of communicating as the sounds that are being sent back and forth between people. However, communication scientists tell us that in speaking to one another, we actually communicate more non-verbally than we do with the words we say.
When we are making a sales presentation we should be aware of what our body is saying while we are speaking and listening. Just as importantly, we should try to be aware of what our prospect’s body is saying to us while they are speaking and listening. Following are some very well documented body language signals and their apparent meanings. These are easy to learn as presented in the book entitled “Body Language” by Dr. Joseph Braysich. There are many more signs in Dr. Braysich’ book than we can present in this brief article, but this will give us a start.
When we use body language as a means to detect what another is thinking or feeling, we should remember that any one or two body language signs may not mean anything at all. They may simply be a mannerism of a person. However, when we see body language signs in “bunches,” we should give strong consideration to their meaning.
Following are some signs to watch for in our prospect as we are making our sales presentation. Some of these may be familiar, so this will act as a reminder. Some of these body language signs may be new to some of us. I am going to list these signs in two lists. First will be ten signs that would usually be considered as showing positive interest. Second will be ten signs that would usually be considered as showing negative reception.
Leaning toward us: coming “into our space” is an act of trusting us
Head tilted slightly to the side: this is positive contemplation
Putting hand to face with one finger on cheek pointing up and another finger running under bottom lip on chin: serious positive concentration
Smiling: is always a good sign
Rubbing palms of hands together: is saying “I am ready, let’s do this.”
A “men only” sign of rubbing hands on top of thighs: same as rubbing palms together
Having feet flat on the floor with legs bent at 90 degrees: comfortable receptivity
Facing us directly when standing and talking: is accepting of ideas
Raising of eyebrows: is receiving an idea positively
Dilating of pupils of eyes (black part gets bigger): is a strong buy in
Crossing arms across chest: in men this is very often a strong negative sign … in women it could be a negative sign or it may occur out of either self consciousness or need of warmth
Crossing of ankles: not in tune with our ideas
Legs stretched out: not in tune with our ideas
Head slightly bowed down: negatively critical of our idea
Brow furrowed: negatively critical of our idea
Standing sideways when listening: is not accepting of our thinking
Polishing lens of glasses: means “I need to till you how I see it.”
Rubbing at eye: means “I do not see it your way.”
Steepling fingers (making a tent with two hands): negative contemplation
Rubbing back of neck: means your idea is giving me a pain in the neck
We need to remember to watch for these and other signs “in bunches” to give us a clue as to the thinking and feelings of our prospects. However, we should also practice using these body language signs as we are speaking and listening so we can better communicate our thinking and feeling to our prospects. Do you see what I mean?