After however many emails and a seemingly endless game of phone tag, the day has finally arrived: you’re meeting your prospective customer in person. You’ve got your talking points down, your sales deck buttoned up, and your favorite outfit is ready to go. You’ve done everything you can to make this meeting go well — or have you?
Many studies suggest that while we may technically speak with our mouths, we speak far more with our bodies. Body language can completely contradict what’s coming out of our mouths, at best leaving your prospect scratching his or her head and at worst leading them to walk out the door. Aligning your body language with the words spoken will surely make the communication more forceful, convincing, and effective. Here are some tips on body language for salespeople during the initial meeting.
Be confident but not aggressive
No one wants an arrogant and aggressive salesperson, but definitely do away with the self-conscious slouching and stand up straight no matter how nervous you are. Relax your shoulders back and down, lean over slightly forward, and make appropriate eye contact.
Mimic your prospect
Don’t do this in an obvious way; rather, if they lean back, wait a few moments and then do so yourself. If they gesture with their hands, adopt a similar technique. Subtle mimicry is a great way to set others at ease and goes a long way in creating a rapport.
Read the room
Pay attention to the tone of voice, language, volume, and talking speed of those around you. Then, adopt similar patterns without thinking about it too much; you don’t want to be a robot!
Show serenity with your hands
Gesticulating wildly, grasping your hands together tightly, or clenching your fists are all non-verbal signs that you’re overly excited, frustrated or anxious. Instead, keep your hands relatively still and in front of you or relaxed easily at your sides to exude a calm demeanor.
Keep your hands away from your face
Touching your face, whether it’s to cover your mouth, rub between your eyes, or itch your nose, is a sign that you’re lying.
Orient your body towards the other person
In general, when we turn away from people or objects, it shows a lack of interest. That’s exactly the opposite thing you want to be showing a prospective customer. So face them squarely or with a slight slant, and keep your body language generally open; that means keeping arm crossing to a minimum.
Put away the phone
You want your prospect to feel as though all your attention is focused on them and their needs. That means putting away your phone and not glancing at it every two seconds!
By preparing yourself with well-conceived talking points, a wealth of knowledge about your customers’ needs, a killer outfit, and these body language tips, you’re sure to rock your next in-person sales meeting!