Let’s focus on the top nonverbal communication skills and the eight types of body language that you can use in sales to see what your clients or potential clients are saying to you.
Obviously this works best with this face-to-face meeting, but it also works with a virtual video meeting, like Zoom and FaceTime. As long as you can see them.
Non Verbal Communication Skill Number One — Eye Contact.
When you are reviewing a physical written proposal with someone, and you have two or three suggestions, place them side-by-side on a table in front of your prospect and watch your customer’s eyes. They will linger longer on what they like.
Their eyes may dilate when they look at the one that really excites them, if you can get that close to them. People’s eyes will go back to what they like the most. Remember to give them time. Present and be quiet.
Also, when a customer is lying to you, and yes, they lie, their eyes will become small and their pupils will get tiny.
Another way to tell if someone is lying is if they are a perpetual “yawner”. Someone that just can’t stop yawning. I don’t get them very much, but when I do I know they are lying. It’s a long story, but it’s true. So beware of The Chronic Yawner.
Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Two — Facial Expressions.
These are the most obvious and the easiest to read. Are they smiling, or scowling, or sleeping?
Some people are easy to read because they wear their heart on their sleeve and can’t help but give a facial expression reaction. Either good or bad.
Other people have more of a poker face, and no matter what you say, it’s hard to get a reaction.
Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Three — Head Movements.
When someone is in agreement with you, they will nod their head and smile when you do. This is also called Mirroring.
Try it. Nod your head “yes” when you want your client to agree with you and watch what happens. See if they mirror your behavior, including head movements, facial expressions and body posture. That’s a good thing!
Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Four — Hand and Arm Gestures.
Are their arms open or crossed? Welcoming or defensive? Are both hands under the table like they are hiding something from you or are both hands resting gently on the table and open to you and what you’re saying?
Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Five — Body or Torso Position.
Are they leaning into you and engaged, or are they turning one of their shoulders away from you? Hence the term the cold shoulder.
If you want to change the vibe in the room, get them to go with you to look at something. Just stand up and say “Come with me”. Don’t ask, just do. And most people will follow you!
It gives them a chance to stretch their legs, become more interactive with you, and change a boring sales presentation into something more interesting to get their attention back on you.
I also find that walking and talking breaks down barriers and gets people taking again.
Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Six — Leg and Foot Position.
Are their legs stretched out with your feet pointed towards you, or are they crossed and away from you?
When there legs are comfortable or relaxed and pointed towards you, they are open to what you are saying.
Crossed and away from you, they are closing you out.
And legs crossed, with them learning back can mean they are just listening because they are polite, but they obviously think they know more than you do and are not necessarily impressed with what you are saying.
Non Verbal Communication Skill Number Seven (my favorite) – The Bouncing Knee.
Have you ever had one of these people? Where you just want to grab their knee and say “Stop !”
This can have two meanings. They are engaged and excited and can’t wait to work with you, or they can’t wait to get away from you. The best and worst you can have in one body language.
Which leads me to our last Non Verbal Communication Type:
Non Verbal Communication Skill Number 8 — Mixed Signals.
Like the bouncing knee. What does it all mean?
Ultimately, even with being armed with this helpful Understanding Body Language skill, it’s still up to you to decipher what they mean — good, bad, or indifferent.
With your verbal communication skills combined with the nonverbal communication skills or body language, you are better equipped to really understand what your customer is saying.
● Do their words match their body language?
● What are they saying and what are they doing?
● Are they engaged and conversational, or are you doing all the talking?
Remember, actions speak louder than words. People can usually think and control their words better, whereas body language is usually more of an abscess of a subconscious level, and will actually show you what’s going on inside their head.
Now for Part Two — what Non Verbal cues are you sending?
Are you tired and frustrated, or energetic and engaging? No one wants to meet with a grumpy salesperson.
Here are some Non Verbal Communication Skill Tools You Can Use to Create the Sales Environment You Want:
✔︎ Use your mood to look serious, happy, somber, or overwhelmed.
✔︎ I use my reading glasses as a tool. When I want to show I’m relaxed and listening, I take them off and put them on the table. When I want to make a point, I put them on and look them right in the eye.
Sometimes I need to use the school teacher approach and look at them over the top of my glasses, as in “Do you really think that what you just told me is a good idea?”
Even if you don’t wear reading glasses, you may want to invest in an inexpensive pair of glasses. I find that wearing glasses help to create a feeling of authority.
Actions, like pictures, can be worth a thousand words.
✔︎ Plan your nonverbal communication sales skills just like you planned your presentation. They can double the effect of a great presentation and make it foolproof.
✔︎ Use simple authority and control techniques, like raising your seat up just an inch or two in above their level.
✔︎ Make eye contact with your potential clients, even if they look away from you. When they start to engage with and trust you, they will return your eye contact.
That’s body language 101. These examples of Non Verbal Communication Skills are the ones that I use in sales every day. My goal is to get you to start to think about this and how you can use it to help improve your sales this week.
Recent Blog Posts:
- Using Listening Intelligence To Increase Your Sales
- Your Sales Negotiation Style (with free self-assessment quiz)
- A Story of Sales Mindset and Perspective
- How to Use Non-Verbal Communication Skills to Increase Your Sales
- Your Sales Communication Style (with free self-assessment quiz)
I‘d love to hear your thoughts on this post! Please post your message in the comments below.