Early in my sales career I went to a seminar that was to “empower me” with a new sales method. I was skeptical to say the least. It began as expected… “fold your arms in a group and before you know it everyone has their arms folded” routine. In other words you were in control by manipulation. The seminar went further however. If you swiped your hand to the left you were putting a negative influence out where to the right would be the opposite. I could mess with their brain, cool.
Armed with this new closing power I went to work. Lean forward, pressure was on. Palms up forward facing, body sitting back relaxed, pressure was off. Lean forward and stare at the potential client and not say a word. Serious pressure. People would actually start to sweat.
“Body language is a form of non-verbal communication, which consists of body posture, gestures, facial expressions, and eye movements. Humans send and interpret such signals almost entirely subconsciously.” -Wikipedia
I still see a lot of this type of manipulation today with some motivators and coaches. They run into the room full of non-motivated people with aggressive body and hand movements. In an effort to control they ask to repeat after them with a hand raised and so on… And you know what… it works! For awhile.
As time went on my sales, sales management, positions went from high pressure sales into a more consultative sales role. In this environment, a much longer sales cycle, inserting this kind of pressure absolutely did not work. Now what was I supposed to do? There was a silver lining. As my sales manipulation techniques increased my customer perception techniques increased as well. This I could use.
Slightly squinted eyes as if something hurt… I hit a nerve. Fidgety… losing interest. Rub their face… irritated. A quick shocked look… too high. And so on.
The power of perceiving and interpreting body Language is a significant aspect of modern communications and relationships. This can be very relevant to management and leadership success as well as to all aspects of the sales process where communications can be seen and physically observed.
Body language goes both ways
1.) Your own body language reveals your feelings and meanings to others.
2.) Other people’s body language reveals their feelings and meanings to you.
I have watched, time and again, sales people in the sales initial, presentation, and close blow it because they had no clue what the customer was “really” telling them. It’s always amazing how their “perception” would be so different from mine when we would debrief.
Next time you’re out on an appointment watch their body language more closely. Be cognizant of yours as well. The better you are at reading a customer’s body language the better the chance of success. At the very least it will help you stay focused and sharp.Photos courtesy of 123RF