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Sales Training - Body Language

By Steven J. Schmidt

There are many specifics in terms of selling that will help you achieve a greater amount of sales. A lot of these specifics are probably attributes that you use on a daily basis in regular conversation in life with family and friends, or when you go to purchase something at any store. What we are talking about here is body language, something that can be persuasive in closing a deal and can help you look more trustworthy.

You will hopefully be selling a reputable product or service that you believe in. But remember, in sales you are also selling yourself; you essentially sell your personality to the customer.


Eye contact is extremely important. The first thing that a customer sees is your eyes, so you want them to give off the impression that you are honest and trustworthy.

Say that you're selling a residential customer phone service from a cable company. When the customer first opens the door, the obvious thing to say would be, "Hi, my name is Nat with Palm Springs Cable Company, and they sent us out here to give you a great deal on new Internet services." However, you want to completely look into their eyes the entire time you're speaking. You want the customer to believe that you're really there to give them a great deal on a new service.

If instead of making direct eye contact you're looking all over the place, you aren't going to gain anyone's trust and your potential customers might think that your company isn't reputable. As a matter of fact, that is more of a reason for a customer to tell you they aren't interested. They might even just slam the door in your face. So, you don't want to make the mistake of not looking a potential customer in the eyes when you first knock on their door, and introduce yourself and the products that you are selling.

There are times, however, when looking away from the customer will help increase your chances of making a sale. Let's say that you're selling restaurant equipment. After you've talked about how much the restaurant will save, and the benefits it will have with the new equipment you're selling, you're ready to close the deal. You say, "OK, well it looks like everything makes sense and we'll be saving you a lot of money. I'll pencil you in for delivery next Thursday at 10 a.m."

As soon as you say "I will pencil you in," you should look away from them, focusing your eyes to the calendar and begin writing it in as if you're already assuming they will buy your products and the only thing the customer will be thinking about is if 10 a.m. and Thursday is a good day to have the equipment delivered.


Looking away from a customer isn't the only option in this situation. You can look at your customer straight in the eyes, but you'll have to nod your head as well. When a person nods their head, it's almost a natural reaction to believe what they're saying, or to just flat out agree with them. Therefore, in this situation, the customer will think, "OK, yeah, next Thursday sounds good but noon is actually better for me."

You have to think of it as if you're doing them a favor of picking out a time and date for them. Let's say you're a pharmaceutical rep and you're restating the benefits of the drug you're pushing to the doctor. You tell the doctor, "OK, so this drug will help reduce nausea for females, it's cheaper than the other pills, and its side effects are less severe than any other drug." For every single point that you make, you want to nod your head so that you're reassuring everything you're saying.

Once someone starts nodding with you, there's a great chance that they're believing that what you're saying is the truth, and they've been convinced and persuaded to buy whatever it is you're selling. In this case, the doctor is thinking to himself, "All of these benefits would be great for my clients, and I'll make money selling a respectful drug."

Nodding your head at the right time is just giving the customer an extra nudge to put them over the top, so that they're convinced that whatever you're selling to them is the best, and that they're getting the product or service from the best salesperson.

Body expressions, such as pointing, are also key aspects of physical selling characteristics. A great example would be the following excerpt from a sale: "OK, Miss Arnold, it looks like next Thursday at 11 a.m. will be the best time to make a delivery for the restaurant equipment." Once you say "next Thursday," you want to point your finger directly past them as if you're pointing to the future. It's as if you're penciling them into a calendar, and the customer is more likely to commit to it because people tend to respond to animation.

The more animated you are as a salesperson, the more you'll seem like you know what you're talking about. Making the right physical gestures will make it seem as if you're very comfortable. When you can talk about the product or service, answer all of the customer's questions and handle objections, while still being animated and confident, a customer will think in their head, "Wow, he really knows what he's talking about, and this product must be the real deal. I threw everything at him, but he's still confident in himself and what he's selling."

And they're right - you are confident. With the right physical gestures, you're showing that you can keep your cool while closing a deal smoothly.

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