Professional sales people cannot be blamed for underestimating the importance of body language in business. But we do so at our fatal peril. Behavioural studies have shown that when we communicate, 7% of our meaning is conveyed by words used, 38% by tone of voice, and 55% by our body language.
With so much of communication being non-verbal, it’s important to be able to read your customers, adapt to them and even read buying signals. Body language is not only something that you need to notice, but it is also important that you control our own body language. Not only does body language have an impact on how your customer perceives you, but it can also have a dramatic impact on yourself!
Amy Cuddy’s (PhD in Social Psychology) research revealed a very interesting phenomenon. She found that expressing powerful poses (e.g. Hands behind head) can makes us more successful in business; negative poses (e.g. folding arms and crouching forward) can have the opposite effect. It is also astonishing that as our body language changes, our hormonal balances also change. The main changes happen in:
- Testosterone: The “power” hormone which, among many other qualities, positively supports leadership abilities, focus and attention.
- Cortisol: The “stress” hormone which, among many other qualities, causes a severe reaction to stressful situations, makes us feel overwhelmed and powerless.
Cuddy’s findings show that changing our body language can dramatically change the outcome of that important meeting.
Here are a few tips to improve your body language and see yourself find success in that vital meeting:
- Practice your “Power” poses: before a meeting, stand upright with your hands on your hips, breathe deeply, push out your chest – be Superman!
- Smile: A friendly face will make you seem happier and more confident. It will also convince the customer that you enjoy being there.
- Mirror your customer’s body language: (Stand or sit the same way as the customer) By mirroring your customer it seems to the customer as if you are in sync with him and that the two of you agree on most aspects of the discussion.
- Mind the space: between you and your customer – do not stand or sit too close to your customer if you see that they keep on moving away from you. It might be that their personal space is much larger than yours.
- Keep eye contact: It shows confidence and that you are engaged in the meeting. Looking down or not making eye contact might show that you do not believe in your product or yourself.
Try these tips, become more confident and close more deals.