Body Language: Do You Have A Genuine Message?
Body Language: Do You Have A Genuine Message?
Have you ever opened your mouth to speak and found the words erupting from your vocal cords weren’t yours and weren’t even the ones you wanted to say? Of course you haven’t. That only happens in the movies. That said, your body language may not be saying what your mind has set out to.
Head and shoulders, knees and toes, eyes, ears, mouth and nose, there is a lot that your body says about your mindset that you may not even realize. Our social interactions often dictate our understanding of body language. In fact, while many elements of body language have a universal meaning, there are some that affected by our cultures. You have to be aware of cultural differences that your body language has before you go into business with someone because a small misstep can be costly.
The following elements of body language are things you should be mindful of when dealing with people from Western cultures, especially in North America. If your target audience comes from the Eastern culture then be prepared for a different attitude towards those elements of body language.
You have most of your sense receptors on the head. As such, people expect to see and have access to them when conversing. That’s why when you aren’t being open, people can become frustrated.
The eyes, the doorway to the soul, can say a lot about you, especially if you aren’t looking at someone when you speak. You may just not have enough confidence to do so, but unfortunately that’s not how your clients are taking it. It can be very disrespectful to not look at a person when you speak to them. Also, much like your trajectory when you’re riding a bike, the conversation will tend towards where your looking and that can derail the whole process.
The head can communicate your agreement (nodding) and disagreement (shaking). Remember that when you’re speaking to someone. Sending the wrong signal can mean the difference of a sale of what they need and what they want. Shaking your head may shut down the conversation entirely and you’ll lose any chance of a long term relationship.
Have you ever been so focused on something that you walk right passed someone you knew and didn’t say hello? Sometimes it happens, but when it’s a customer and you didn’t say hello, they’ll feel slighted. Wouldn’t you? Whether it’s your employees, or you, acknowledge your customers insomuch as to see that they are there and that someone more appropriate will be able to help them shortly. Better yet, ask them if you can help them. Even if it is to take notes for the person who will. At least this way part of the leg work is done.
There are other things that a glance or raised eyebrow can say about your focus or emotions. Keep them in line when you have clients, especially when you’re rushed because that small request of, “do you have a second?” may not seem like much, but it could be a goldmine.
Do you remember the free smile Macdonald’s used to offer? It may only take a few muscles to smile, but when it’s genuine and uses your whole face, you start a conversation off with honesty and truth. A comfortable client who sees you as honest is half the battle.
Arms and hands most often depict how open you are. If you don’t start off the conversation with a handshake, or cross yours arms mid-conversation, your body language can shut down a relationship as people feel neglected.
Many people control their emotions by closing their fists. You don’t have to wonder what kind of effect this can have on people when they feel attacked.
How about tapping your fingers or clicking a pen open and closed? Annoyed yet? I am, even if it is your nervous tick. And I know I have one. My legs can bounce a cup right off the table.
Your arms can also say a lot about your verbal conversation. Some people, like the French, are arm waivers, making their point with accentuation when they wish, pounding the table, slapping their legs or indicating size. Some people use hand touching to show concern, placing hands on the shoulder or hands to offer support for emotional turmoil.
Turning your back to someone, even turning your shoulders to them can be as disrespectful as taking a phone call in the middle of a meeting. Oh, unless it’s really important, don’t take a phone call in the middle of a conversation. The clients in front of you took the time to come in to see you. Return that respect. And besides, you can determine their body language too and know when to close the sale.
Once you notice positive body language signs that your clients are engaged in the social contract then it falls upon you to close the sale. The question is how. Many people are put off by the way some salespeople slide the contract across the table and expect a signature. There is an interim step however of guiding your clients down the open road. Mirror their gestures. If they are nodding, nod. If they are laughing, laugh. If they are putting their hands on their knees …
well, you get the picture.
When they show intentions to purchase, don’t keep selling. If after you’ve had a long conversation about features and they ask about price, don’t talk about what makes you different than the competition. Offer the price without apology. They have already given the signals of intent. Accept them and close the deal. More often these days, your clients know the features before they enter your door. What they are looking for is to test you on whether you know. I will walk away from a salesman if he doesn’t know as much as I do. More often I can find the thing elsewhere. I am making sure there is support after the sale.
Oh, and if you want some bonus points. When you close that sale, shake their hands again; everyone involved. And then introduce them to your team, at least the most important ones that may have a daily contact with them. Put their last minute fears at ease and show them you are there to support them.
Your body language doesn’t always say the same thing your voice does. You may be tired, stressed, distracted, or excited, but your clients don’t know. Being fully engaged in your conversation with your body language is paramount to showing you are committed to them in the moment, that you will make sure their needs are put first, even if for only a few minutes.
Be mindful of what you’re doing and ask yourself, what you would do if the situations were reversed.
Curious how to deal with your body language? Check back soon for a checklist of things to keep your marketing message consistent.