You may or may not have “sales” in your job title, but in any situation where you are pitching a product, describing a service, motivating your team, or explaining your idea, you are selling. To know how your audience is reacting, here are the nonverbal signs you need to monitor in potential “buyers.”
Engagement and disengagement are the most important signals to monitor in your buyer’s body language. Engagement behaviors indicate interest, receptivity, or agreement while disengagement behaviors signal boredom, anger, or defensiveness.
Focus on a person’s gaze. In general, people tend to look longer and with more frequency at people or objects they like. A person may be trying to look uninterested, but their eyes will keep returning to the object that attracts him.
The same is true with eye contact. Most people are constantly breaking eye contact. But when they like or agree with someone they automatically increase the amount of time they look into their eyes.
It is known that eye pupil size is a major clue in determining a person’s emotional responses. The pupils are a part of the body people have practically no control over. Therefore, pupil dilation can be a very effective way to gauge someone’s interest. A person’s pupils will dilate when they have positive feelings about the person they’re talking to or object they’re looking at. And when someone is less than receptive, his or her pupils will automatically constrict.
Gestures are also telling. In general, the more open the position of a person’s arms, the more receptive they are. Watch for expansive, welcoming gestures that seem to flow naturally from a person’s behavior. When someone reaches toward you or uses a lot of open-hand gestures, it is usually a positive signal of interest and receptivity. By contrast, people who are defensive or angry may protectively fold their arms across their chest, clench their hands into a fist or tightly grip their arm or wrist.
A person’s use of space also plays an important role in a potential buyers’ reactions. The more people like and agree with you, the more they will lean toward you and the more closely they will stand near you. On the other hand, when you say or do things your customers disagree with or are uncertain about, the more they will tend to lean back and create more space between the two of you.
Because a person’s feet are the furthest from the brain, they are the most honest part of the body. People will focus on controlling their facial expressions and hand movements, however they rarely think about their feet. The direction their feet are pointing indicates their interest level. If their feet are facing you they are focused on what you are saying and are happy to be there. But if one of their feet are pointing away from you, unconsciously they are trying to leave the situation.
All salespeople understand the value of good communication skills – but the most successful realize that there are two conversations going on, and they stay equally alert to what isn’t being said.