Proper body language does more than just enhance our communication skills. It makes us seem more trusting. We emit confidence without saying a word. And it’s just proper etiquette when you get down to it.
Nowhere is body language more important than in sales. Great body language helps salespeople work their way through dealings with a prospect, makes them seem more in control and cuts through tension like a warm knife to butter.
But a poor showing does nothing but leave salespeople with egg on their face, and might just put a potential sale out of reach.
So, what sort of faux pas can a salesperson make with their body language? Well, here’s a start.
Getting Face Touchy - Not only is touching your face considered to be a sign that you’re distrustful, but it’s one of the easiest slip ups on the etiquette bar. Remember, you have to shake this person’s hand after the meeting’s over.
Your Shoulders Aren’t Directly Aligned to Theirs - The farther away your shoulders seem from theirs, the more disinterested you come off in their eyes. Same goes with slightly skewed feet positions.
Scratching Your Head - A dead giveaway that you have serious doubts about what you’re saying. If you accidentally scratch the back of your head when talking about pricing, there’s a good chance the prospect thinks those numbers are phony
Folded Arms Across Your Chest - By folding your arms, you sound the alarm on all sorts of things. A prospect might think you’re being cold. Or you’re reserved. Or worse, that you’re hiding something from the conversation, even though you may not be.
Breaking Personal Space Rules - The appropriate amount of space between you and the prospect starts immediately after the handshake. A really close handshake might just leave you standing closer than you’d like when the obligatory chit chat happens. And you can’t just back up awkwardly, either. So you just stand there until the prospect directs you otherwise.
Falling in Love With Your Phone - Forbes made a great point about replacing your cell with a newspaper, a magazine or notes while you wait outside before a meeting. Cell phones, tablets - all handheld devices, really - cause you to lose focus. Next time, look around the room at the other people waiting. What are they doing? Odds are they’re buried in their phones.
Being a Stiff - Unless you’re auditioning to be one of the Beefeater guards outside the Tower of London, don’t tense up. When you appear frozen into place, it adds discomfort to the meeting.
Your Facial Expressions Are Not Natural - Your smile doesn't feel genuine. Or you don't smile at all and just appear stone-faced and serious. We’ve talked about artificial smiles before, but it bears repeating: always be natural with your facial expressions.
Your Eye Contact is a Mixed Bag - I saved this one for last simply because it’s the most profound error. Not making eye contact shows you’re disinterested and aren’t appreciative of the prospect and their time. There is no excuse to not give eye contact. And yes, it’s true that sometimes we tend to look away for a few quick seconds to readjust, but getting into that habit makes it easier to look away longer.
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