Spokesperson & Media Personality 

Five Part Body Scan to Selling

An accomplished sales person would have to be half acrobat half psychologist to pull off a deal, or he can use body language to advantage. Using every part of your body from head to toe in sales is an art that defies ballet. Let's start with the head. Of course it helps if have a head full of luxuriant locks, but even skin heads have to sell. And it is what’s inside that counts. Right

The head is a powerful weapon, ask the famous soccer player Zinedine Zidane. No, you are not to head butt your clients into submission. In the field of salesmanship head nodding, tilting, bowing, and even shaking can convey a wealth of meaning. Nodding of course means acceptance, although I've heard of cultures where it means the opposite. So it might be worth your while to check who you are dealing with. They might be asking if you want a million dollars and you might nod yourself to the asylum when you later find out what happened. By itself, this particular gesture is too mundane to merit mention, but it is extremely useful in conjunction with others. For instance, the importance of making eye contact cannot be overemphasized. But there are occasions when clients find direct eye contact unnerving or even embarrassing. When you realize you're causing a flutter with your baby blues, move out and look at the eye-nose triangle, just tilt your head a little and nod. This breaks the jinx and helps your client rally.

Nodding your noggin when the client has launched on a long description conveys your interest in what is being said, and also that you most likely agree. Keep in mind, men and women think of the nod differently. Women nod more often than men as a means of encouragement and to let the speaker know they are listening but NOT always because they agree. Men, however, tend to nod when they agree with something. Abruptly stopping your bowing conveys that you would like to say something. A single exaggerated bow conveys that you agree completely without reservations. Bowing is also an oriental gesture that signifies greeting and respect. While shaking of the head is often meant to mean negation, if it is done looking down it shows commiseration and can be used to show you're on the same boat, whether it's a nagging wife or a bad boss. Gaining common ground is invaluable in securing sales.

Moving on to the windows to the soul. If you really want to convey openness, take that Versace off your eyes and lay it on the table. You have just made a statement that you are prepared to come clean and are opting for open communication. If your client does this, it tells you he means business and wants no fluff, just the straight talk. Making the right degree of eye contact is an art. If the eyes are darting all over it conveys inconsistency, dishonesty and worse, spinelessness. Stare too long at the opposite gender and soon sales would be the last thing on your mind. If holding eye contact makes you nervous, again, look at the eye-nose triangle …of the client, not yours. While you're not actually eyeballing you give the same impression. To show appreciation or camaraderie, bring your smile to your eyes, or fake it by crinkling the corners of your eyes. If you're worried about crow's feet, don’t be, better to have laugh lines than worry warts as I once heard.

Your arms are never still when you are communicating. They keep furiously up with whatever you're saying and can sometimes express strong emotions such as hostility and arrogance way better than any words can. Crossing them across your chest may not be the answer since you might be perceived as closed to whatever is being said and is not amenable to convincing. If you place them on your hips arms akimbo, it signals dominance or at least condescension. To send positive signals use upward and open gestures that spell expansiveness. A show of palms signifies honesty and willingness to meet half way without being pushy. Of course, the importance of a firm, friendly, unsweaty handshake cannot be overemphasized. Remember, deodorant can be used on the palms.

Women can speak volumes with their torso and do not even have to be taught the science of body language to do that. It's a skill. That doesn't mean males have to feel deprived of something so important. To show attentiveness or to take the meeting to a higher level of communication you can lean your upper body gently towards the other party. Now if they reciprocate, stay where you are. If they lean away from you or stay where they are, it signifies that they are not ready for that level of intimacy yet. Then give them the space and move gently back to where you were. Now that you know this, don't feel insulted if they fail to reciprocate and jump back like a scalded cat. You can also align your torso with that of your client to show you're on the same plain. Torso can divulge how relaxed you are, or not. Your breathing can also do the same.

Moving further down to the legs, we come to a body part that is often ignored as far as body language is concerned. But they are quick to mirror your thoughts. This is evident in teenagers who are seated but have dancing motions in their legs probably in rhythm with some song going on in their heads or the ipod. Minus the ipod, fidgety legs display nervousness and a lack of concentration. If your legs are crossed it means the same as for your arms—you might be perceived to be closed to proceedings. However, if the legs are crossed with the upper one fidgeting by itself, it expresses anxiety or a troubling thought. If you're seated across a desk this is probably not going to come to your attention, and there's a limit to the number of times you can drop things to get a quick peek under, without you coming across as a bumbling idiot who can’t hold a pencil. So the feet assume more importance when you are standing. If you have a habit of bouncing on your feet, stand with them placed slightly apart, toes pointing straight, so your clients can relax and stop worrying about you toppling over.





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Tonya Reiman

Body Language Expert


Speaker, Author, Consultant, 

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