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One of the top salespeople who worked for me a number of years ago was on an amazing streak. She was highly likable and very good at listening to her clients. This resulted in her being over her quota by 150% for three years in a row, despite her target increasing each year. (She must have been using some sort of amazing sales automation CRM, like Spiro)

She was almost the ideal salesperson, except for one thing.

She would often get very nervous during sales presentations, and developed a bad habit of rubbing her hands together as a nervous tick. It reminded me a little bit of Mr. Burns in the Simpsons:

Mr Burns Rubbing his hands

Obviously this saleswoman wasn’t rubbing her hands in anticipation of the money she’d make from the sale – but it looked sort of like that.

With a little bit of coaching, she stopped this habit and went on to again crush her quota.

What About Your Body Language?

Do you have body language that is communicating the wrong message to your clients? Are you aware of your body language? If you aren’t, you may be seriously hindering the amount of deals you close. Here are some of the worst body language mistakes you can make:

  • Slouching; The posture you hold speaks to your confidence level. When you are slouching, you are signaling that you don’t have confidence in the sale you’re trying to make. If you don’t believe in it, why should your clients?
  • Overly aggressive handshake; A handshake can say a lot about a person, and a grip that is overly aggressive can be off-putting. You want to present yourself as a confident problem solver, not someone who is overly eager to win a deal. On the same token, you do not want to shake too weak and seem under confident.
  • Angling your body away from another; If you’re not facing someone directly, you might be showing them you’re disinterested in what they’re saying. This can be perceived as disrespectful and work against building rapport.
  • Being too close; Not only can standing too close be uncomfortable for your prospects, being in their personal space might indicate to your buyer that you have a lack of respect for them.
  • Looking at your watch too much; No doubt you need to keep an eye on the time, but it still might be signaling disrespect. You don’t want your prospects to think you do not value the time you have with them and are more concerned about the next place you have to be.

So What Should You Do?

To work on your body language, you can observe yourself when you are talking to others and even practice in front of a mirror. It can also be helpful to visualize yourself with the body language you want to have, before you go and interact with others. Remember, you want to be open, honest and comfortable. If you are not feeling like that, you should investigate why. Also be aware of key body language barriers, as mentioned above, and consciously avoid them.

When it comes time for your meetings with customers and prospects, you need to be doing two things always:

  • Monitor the situation (and yourself) – do this by watching everyone’s body language, including your own. You also need to focus your attention on your customer and really listen. Show you’re listening by repeating back and clarifying what they’re saying.
  • Run your agenda – Be aware of others and yourself, and guide them through your agenda accordingly.

For me, remembering to relax my shoulders softens my body quickly and helps me be aware of what my body is doing in the moment. Then I can move on to more positive body language from there.

Stop Looking Like A Salesperson

Most body language needs to be a balance of enough, but not too much. Once you’re aware, you can begin to experiment to find the right balance for you. Make eye contact, but don’t stare; Give a firm handshake, but not too firm. As a result, you can show your clients through your actions and words that they should do business with you. Then, instead of reminding prospective clients of a greedy Mr. Burns, you can be more like a confident and cool Leonardo DiCaprio.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Michael Panse.

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About the Author Adam Honig

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a natural sales leader with a mission to help salespeople make more money using artificial intelligence — or any sort of intelligence for that matter. Adam has been a founder of four companies which resulted in two triumphant IPOs and two legendary mergers. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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