Is your body language killing your Sales?

One of the top salespeople who worked for us a number of years ago was on an amazing streak. She was highly likable and very good at listening to her clients. This resulted in her being over her quota by 150% for three years in a row, despite her target increasing each year.

She was almost the ideal salesperson, except for one thing.

She would often get very nervous during sales presentations, and developed a bad habit of rubbing her hands together as a nervous tick. It reminded me a little bit of Mr. Burns in the Simpsons.

Obviously this saleswoman wasn’t rubbing her hands in anticipation of the money she’d make from the sale – but it looked sort of like that.

With a little bit of coaching, she stopped this habit and went on to again crush her quota.


Your Current Body Language?

Do you have body language that is communicating the wrong message to your clients?


Are you aware of your body language?

If you aren’t, you may be seriously gambling with the amount of deals you close. Here are some of the common body language mistakes you can make:

  • Slouching: The posture you hold speaks to your confidence level. When you are slouching, you are signalling that you don’t have confidence in the sale you’re trying to make. If you don’t believe in it, why should your clients?
  • Very aggressive handshake: A handshake can say a lot about a person, and a grip that is overly aggressive can be off-putting. You want to present yourself as a confident problem solver, not someone who is overly eager to win a deal. On the same token, you do not want to shake too weak and seem under confident and not believing in yourself.
  • Angling your body away from another: If you’re not facing someone directly, you might be showing them you’re disinterested in what they’re saying. This can be perceived as disrespectful and work against building rapport.
  • Being too close: Not only can standing too close be uncomfortable for your prospects, being in their personal space might indicate to your buyer that you don’t have sufficient respect for them.
  • Looking at your watch too much: No doubt you need to keep an eye on the time, but it still might be signalling disrespect. You don’t want your prospects to think you do not value the time you have with them and are more concerned about the next place you have to be. Watch out for this 🙂


So What Should You Do?

To work on your body language, you can become aware of yourself when you are talking to others and even practice in front of a mirror. It can also be helpful to visualize yourself with the body language you want to have, before you go and interact with others.

Remember, you want to be open, honest and comfortable.

When it comes time for your meetings with customers and prospects, you need to be doing two things, form this habit:

  • Monitor the situation (and yourself) – do this by watching everyone’s body language, including your own. You also need to focus your attention on your customer and really listen. Show you’re listening by repeating back and clarifying what they’re saying, give regular feedback.
  • Run your agenda – Be aware of others and yourself, and guide them through your agenda accordingly. In short, always stay in control of the meeting.

For me, remembering to relax my shoulders softens my body quickly and helps me be aware of what my body is doing in the moment. Then I can move on to more positive body language from there.


Stop Looking Like A Salesperson

Most body language needs to be a balance of enough, but not too much. Once you’re aware, you can begin to experiment to find the right balance for you. Make eye contact, but don’t stare; Give a firm handshake, but not too firm. As a result, you can show your clients through your actions and words that they should do business with you. Then, instead of reminding prospective clients of a greedy Mr. Burns, you can be more like a confident and cool Leonardo DiCaprio.