Learning to practice good body language can help increase your sales and grow your client base.
You’ve probably heard that you have only seven seconds to make a first impression. Within that first moment, the person you’re meeting will make a solid decision about you—one that can be hard to change. Typically, this individual’s judgment will weigh heavily on the nonverbal cues you give off. Because of this, it is crucial that you make a good first impression with your potential clients.
Studies show that positive body language plays a large part in constructive interactions, and learning to practice good body language (as well as learning to read the nonverbal cues of others) can help increase your sales and grow your client base.
- Turn in toward your potential client.
Your body language can give away whether or not you are fully attentive. Angling your body away from the client can make you appear closed off and distant. Face toward your client to clearly convey that you are 100% focused on him or her.
- Sit up straight.
Practice good posture. Slouching portrays self-doubt, while sitting up straight portrays self-assurance. Your clients want to work with someone who is confident in his own abilities, and practicing good posture will not only make you appear more confident, but it will also make you feel more confident.
- Avoid watching the clock.
Your potential client wants to feel important and know that you’re going to go the extra mile to help accomplish the home improvement dreams he or she has in mind. But if you are checking the time during your consultation, he or she won’t feel like a priority, but instead will assume you have somewhere better to be, which will probably result in a lost sale.
- Don’t cross your arms.
Crossing your arms in the presence of someone you don’t know very well can make you seem guarded, unapproachable and closed-off. It’s also a common sign of defensiveness. Take a less intimidating approach and keep your arms open and relaxed. Lacing your fingers in front of you is a good tactic as well.
- Make eye contact.
Eye contact is important for a myriad of reasons. It can make you seem more confident, more personable and more trustworthy. Maintaining good eye contact can help you better connect with your potential clients, and that’s key to making a sale. Avoid eye contact that is too intense as it can have the opposite effect by making your clients feel uncomfortable. It can also come off as aggressive or dominating.
- Give a firm handshake.
Your handshake can tell someone a lot about your personality. Make sure it’s firm enough to show confidence, but not so firm that it’s intimidating. Finding the perfect balance between the two is important in creating a good first impression.
- Avoid fidgeting.
Fidgeting can be a sign of anxiety, stress, anger, nervousness, impatience or boredom. It exists in many forms: touching your face or hair, tapping or clicking a pen, shaking your leg or drumming your fingers and can distract those with whom you are speaking. Potential clients won’t want to work with someone that seems to be impatient with them or can’t seem to sit still. Fidgeting might be seen as a red flag by those looking to hire you, and it could potentially ruin a sale.
- Don’t stand too close.
Be aware of your proximity to your potential clients. Standing too close or too far away can make them feel uncomfortable. Standing at social distance, or 4 to 12 feet away, is probably the best bet to maintain professionalism. The more comfortable they feel around you, the more likely you are to close a sale.
- Use hand gestures.
Studies show that people tend to connect better with speakers who use hand gestures. Hand gestures can make you seem more charismatic and help your audience become more engaged in what you’re saying. But be careful— extravagant hand movements can be perceived to mean that you’re exaggerating the truth.
Above all else, don’t forget to genuinely smile. Smiles can help you sell better, and smiling helps you connect more with your clients. A smile can make you look open, friendly and approachable and will help your clients feel more comfortable. It will also help set the tone for your consultation and will better enable you to close the deal.
Don’t forget that body language goes both ways. You should always be aware of your own body language and what message you are conveying to your audience, but being able to read your potential clients can help increase your sales as well.
- Look for crow’s feet.
A fake smile can be a dead giveaway that your sales pitch isn’t going too well. Watch your potential clients for signs of crow’s feet to determine if their smile is genuine or not. If you see wrinkles around their eyes, their smile is real and your consultation is probably headed in the right direction.
- Listen to voice pitch.
A person whose voice goes up and down while talking is more likely to be interested in what you’re saying or selling than a person whose voice is monotone with no inflections. Often, a woman’s voice will go higher if she is interested, while a man’s voice will drop an octave. Listening carefully to the tone of voice used can tell you a lot about how your potential client really feels.
- Pay attention to eyebrows.
Eyebrows, though often overlooked in body language, can be highly telling of whatever emotion your client may be feeling. Eyebrows scrunched together and sloping down can indicate anger or frustration, while scrunched together and sloping up can indicate anxiety. Raising one eyebrow often conveys skepticism, and raised eyebrows can show surprise. Don’t overlook this key signal, as it can help you tap into your clients true feelings.
- Watch for crossed legs.
Pay special attention to what your client’s legs may be saying. Like crossed arms, crossed legs can show that your client is closed-off. Shaky legs can signal anxiety, irritation and impatience. The direction that his or her legs are facing is important as well. If they’re pointed toward the door, he or she is ready to leave and you may not be closing a sale. If they’re facing toward you, things are going pretty well and your potential client is focused on you and interested in what you have to offer.
Learning to practice and read body language is crucial in building a strong client base and increasing your sales. Following these 14 steps will help you connect better with your audience, and you will find more success in your business.