Successful selling isn’t always about what you say. Often, what clinches the deal is the way you act. In fact, the research in Albert Mehrabian’s Silent Messages found that 55% of all communication is non-verbal, which means your body is doing most of the talking.
Non-verbal communication in sales has been studied extensively, and expert sales reps will agree that your body language has a lot to do with how you connect to the people you’re pitching. Facial expressions and movements can help to build trust, authenticity, and expertise — all of which can help you walk away with a “yes.”
Here’s how you can incorporate better body language into your sales process that will help you come across more capable and confident:
1. Pay Attention to Posture
Observe your prospect’s posture just as much as your own.
Slouching, crossing arms, and leaning back in the chair are obvious no-go’s. But in addition to monitoring your own positioning, you should also pay attention to the person you’re pitching. You can gauge their interest level by the way they sit. Someone who leans into the conversation is more interested than someone who tries to close themselves off from it.
2. Stop Watching the Clock
Looking at your watch or the clock on the wall gives the idea that you have other things to do. It may indicate you’re impatient and full of self-importance, neither of which is likely work in your favor.
Instead, you should focus on the time the other person has given you and use it wisely. Make them feel like your top priority, and they’ll be more likely to connect with you.
3. Smile — When Appropriate
You want to appear happy and upbeat, but not overly eager.
If you’ve ever heard that a smile can light up a room, believe it. Smiles are contagious, can put people at ease, and change the entire tone of the conversation. However, you don’t want to plaster a fake grin on your face for your entire pitch. People can usually spot a fake smile when they see one, and they’ll be more likely to distrust you.
The best practice is to smile as you’re shaking a person’s hand, and when something funny or interesting is said. Ill-timed smiles, such as when they sign the papers or start talking numbers, can make you appear to be uncooperative or indicate you’re getting more from the deal than what you initially hoped for.
4. Avoid Anxious Signals
People buy from sales reps that are confident and informed about what they’re doing. If you’re stumbling over your words, look nervous, or otherwise seem uncomfortable, that discomfort will carry over to your prospect.
Anxious signals to avoid are shaking your legs, fidgeting, playing with your hair, and making exaggerated gestures. Make sure you sit up straight and plant your feet firmly on the ground to establish your focus.
Even the simplest gestures can make you feel more confident and relaxed, and that will give your buyer enough confidence in you to sign on the dotted line.