Did you know a thumbs up or ok sign are both considered offensive gestures in some countries? Both signal agreement, but in the wrong context can be perceived quite differently. Believe it or not, body language could be coming between you and sales. Take notice of your and your prospect’s hand gestures, eye contact, body position, and unintentional facial movement. Good ad salespeople project confidence and enthusiasm about their product while showing interest in their product. It may seem like a lot, but that can usually be accomplished with simple gestures like smiling and making eye contact. Don’t be creepy, just be natural and pay attention. Nodding while your contact is speaking is a good way to show you are listening. If you are standing while you are presenting and they are sitting, face your body in the direction of the audience. Presenters tend to face the board or screen where Powerpoints or props are located, this reads as discomfort to the audience. If it’s possible, get closer and lean in as you listen. This says you want to know more. One unusual, but effective, tactic in one-on-one conversation is acting as a mirror, reflecting back the other person’s tone, body language, and gesture patterns. Research shows this forms a bond with the other person, as they feel you are similar to them.
Body language is also a good way to guess how the prospect is feeling about the pitch, and it can be a key indicator as to how to proceed. Undistracted, direct eye contact shows interest and that they are and open to hearing what is being presented. So does a slightly tilted head. Less eye contact indicates a lack of interest. In this case, it’s often a good idea to make this portion of the presentation more succinct. Are they leaning forward or tilted back in their seats? Forward is good, back is not. Crossed arms or legs? This is a defensive posture that indicates discomfort or at worse case they’ve been offended. Notice any fidgeting? This indicates boredom and may be a good time to skip to another point in your presentation. Body language can be a salesperson’s secret weapon. Just be attentive and follow these tips.
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