Lots of things can kill a sale, but the way you interact with a customer should never be one of them. Experts believe that as much as 90 percent of overall communication is nonverbal. The way we sit, smile and shake hands all make an impression on those we’re meeting with. Below are five tips on how to use body language in your favor.
1. Don’t close off from your audience
Confident speakers all tend to have one thing in common: They don’t close their body off from the people they’re speaking to. According to Dananjaya Hettiarachchi, 2014 Toastmasters International World Champion of Public Speaking, a common reaction to being nervous is to close your body off (evolution did this so we’d protect our vital organs). Leaving your body open and eliminating any barriers between you and your audience will make you appear confident and in control, even if you don’t feel that way
2. Offer a hand
In an interview with Business Insider, Hettiarachchi offered this experiment: Look at the backs of your hands. Now turn them over and look at your palms. Which side made you feel more relaxed? Hettiarachchi suggests most people are more comforted by the palm, as the back of your hand can seem aggressive and cold. Similar to keeping your body open (and unprotected), opening your palms portrays vulnerability and openness.
3. Make good use of your space
This tip is especially relevant if you’re speaking to a group of people. The more fluid your movements, the more relaxed – and therefore confident – you appear. Utilizing the space you are in (in a natural way, no need to walk all around the room just to make a point) makes you appear in charge of your surroundings, leading people to treat you as the natural leader of the conversation.
4. Read the room
An important key to utilizing body language to your benefit is reading your audience. Gauging the room allows you to understand the temperament and pace of your audience. Mirroring your handshake and speaking speed to that of the person you’re meeting with will allow them to feel as though they’re talking with an equal, which in turn makes them more likely to agree with you.
5. Face the truth
Whatever you do during a sales meeting, don’t touch your face. Obscuring your mouth, scratching your nose and touching basically any part of your face is often an indicator you’re lying. It can be difficult to know what to do with your hands if you’re nervous, but keeping them away from your face is key.
For more information about how to improve your sales effectiveness, check out our ‘10 things you should know to succeed in inside sales‘ blog post.