Editorial: Body Language Mistakes

By: Brian Marriott, P1 Learning

P1-BodyLanguageYou walk into your sales appointment and find yourself waiting in the lobby. No worries! Perfect time to catch up on a few emails, check your pocket mirror for any remaining lunch remnants, perhaps you’re nervously tapping your foot without noticing. After all, you’re in the lobby, who cares, right? Well… maybe it wouldn’t hurt to freshen up on your proper body language skills. After all, your body language does more than just enhance our communication skills. It makes us seem more trusting. We emit confidence without saying a word. And, it’s just proper etiquette when you get down to it.

Nowhere is body language more important than in sales. Great body language helps salespeople work their way through dealings with a prospect, makes them seem more in control and cuts through tension like a warm knife to butter. But, a poor showing does nothing but leave salespeople with egg on their face, and might just put a potential sale out of reach.

So, what sort of faux pas can a salesperson make with their body language? With help from our partners at ej4, here’s a start.

Getting Face Touchy – Not only is touching your face considered to be a sign that you’re distrustful, but it’s one of the easiest slip ups on the etiquette bar. Remember, you have to shake this person’s hand after the meeting’s over.

Your Shoulders Aren’t Directly Aligned to Theirs – The farther away your shoulders seem from theirs, the more disinterested you come off in their eyes. Same goes with slightly skewed feet positions.

Scratching Your Head – A dead giveaway that you have serious doubts about what you’re saying. If you accidentally scratch the back of your head when talking about pricing, there’s a good chance the prospect thinks those numbers are phony.

Folded Arms Across Your Chest – By folding your arms, you sound the alarm on all sorts of things. A prospect might think you’re being cold. Or you’re reserved. Or worse, that you’re hiding something from the conversation, even though you may not be.

Breaking Personal Space Rules – The appropriate amount of space between you and the prospect starts immediately after the handshake. A really close handshake might just leave you standing closer than you’d like when the obligatory chit chat happens. And you can’t just back up awkwardly, either. So you just stand there until the prospect directs you otherwise.

Falling in Love With Your Phone – Cell phones, tablets – all handheld devices, really – cause you to lose focus. Next time, look around the room at the other people waiting. What are they doing? Odds are they’re buried in their phones. So be the odd one out and put away your phone until your leave your meeting.

Being a Stiff – Unless you’re auditioning to be one of the Beefeater guards outside the Tower of London, don’t tense up. When you appear frozen into place, it adds discomfort to the meeting.

Eye Contact – I saved this one for last simply because it’s the most profound error. Not making eye contact shows you’re disinterested and aren’t appreciative of the prospect and their time. There is no excuse to not give eye contact. And yes, it’s true that sometimes we tend to look away for a few quick seconds to readjust, but getting into that habit makes it easier to look away longer.

Your Facial Expressions Are Not Natural – Your smile doesn’t feel genuine. Or you don’t smile at all and just appear stone-faced and serious. We’ve talked about artificial smiles before, but it bears repeating: always be natural with your facial expressions.

Need more advice on nonverbal communication skills at the workplace? Login or sign up for a free 7-day demo here and see why our Body Language courses can help boost your chances to impress prospects.

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