Reading Body Language

“When talking to your customers, don’t only pay attention to the words they are saying, but also consider their body language. Many times a customer will express what they really want with non-verbal cues. Decoding a customer’s unspoken signals will help you give them exactly what they want. You now have a secret sales weapon!”

Yes, I know – “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” – but body language in the sales arena must be taken seriously! Your body is speaking and people are noticing. More importantly, your customer’s body is speaking and you should be noticing! How people hold their body, focus their gaze, and what their feet and fingers are doing tells a tale of their inner state.

(No one gesture tells the entire story. In order to interpret what the body’s saying, you must reflect on the whole picture of the person.)

Fiddling fingers, bouncing feet and sideways glances reveal feelings of doubtfulness, rejection or suspicion. A combination of picking at fingernails, pinching the fleshy part of the hand, rubbing or caressing a personal object (ring, cufflinks, watch, for example) or chewing on an object, such as a pencil or pen translates into insecurity.

To spot enthusiasm, look for smiles in which both the lips and eyes are engaged. People who are enthusiastic move with a bounce in their step. Their posture is erect, their hands are open and they frequently extend their arms in the direction of their interest.

Negative emotions such as secrecy or nervousness tend to manifest themselves through minimal or no eye contact, throat clearing and covering the mouth while speaking. Boredom reveals itself through drumming fingers, swing feet, picking at clothes and jingling keys and coins.

People demonstrating superiority and authority come across as both relaxed and expansive in their gestures. They steeple their fingers, are comfortable putting their feet up or on their desk. You often see them leaning back with their fingers laced behind their head with their chin lifted upward.

When you notice someone with their hands on their hips or sitting forward at the edge of a chair, you’re right in thinking that they’re ready to go. As you may be by now.

Happy observing!


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