It’s important for sales professional to research a little bit more into the above and I read a few articles online to familiarize myself with body language. When meeting a client for the first time and conducting a presentation, observing their body language or non verbal communication is critical because you will know when they are bored and not paying attention or if their interested in your services or even like / trust you.
An uncomfortable client can turn the meeting into a disaster if not caught early and acknowledged. You will also be able to gauge if the client is giving you the full details, whether he / she likes you, whether or not your client thinks you know what you’re doing, etc.
There are several critical body language sign or non-verbal communication we have to look out for when meeting a client:
Gauge how close someone is to you:
- The closer they are, the warmer their opinions are of you. The farther away that someone is, the less they care. This depends on the country that you’re in and their culture. To be on the safe side, when meeting a client stand approximately 2 to 3 steps back when greeting them.
Watch their head position:
- Overly tilted heads are either a potential sign of sympathy, or if a man smiles while tilting his head, he is flirting. Alternatively, the person is trying to convince you of their honesty.
- Lowered heads indicate a reason to hide something. Take note if someone lowers their head. If it is when he is complimented, he may be shy, ashamed, timid, keeping distance from the other person, in disbelief, or thinking to himself. If it is after an explanation, then he may be unsure if what he said was correct.
- Cocked heads mean that they are confused or challenging you, depending on eye, eyebrow, and mouth gestures.
Look into their eye:
- Liars will consecutively look at you and look away a number of times; however, some liars will make more eye contact than usual in an attempt to make you believe they are telling you the truth.
- People who look away while supposedly listening to you are thinking about something else.
- Some cultures believe that looking at someone in the eyes is a sign of disrespect.
- Auditory learners may look from side-to-side and repeat phrases in an effort to retain information.
Check their arms:
- People with crossed arms are closing themselves to social influence. The worst thing that you can do to people with crossed arms is to challenge them in one way or another. Though some people just cross their arms as a habit, it may indicate that the person is (slightly) reserved, uncomfortable with their weight (therefore trying to hide it), or just trying to hide something on their shirt.
- If someone rests their arms behind their neck, they are open to what is being discussed and interested in listening more. They may be waiting to state their opinion on the matter.
- Look at the location of their hands. If their hands are in their pockets, then they are more relaxed.
Be aware of nervous gestures:
- If someone brushes their hair back with their fingers, this may be preening, or their thoughts about something conflict with yours. If you see raised eyebrows during this time, you can be pretty sure that they disagree with you.
- If the person wears glasses, and is constantly pushing them up onto their nose again, with a slight frown, that may also indicate they disagree with what you are saying. Look to make sure they push up their glasses with an intent, not casually adjusting them. Look for pushing on the rim with two fingers, or an extra motion of wiggling the side of their glasses. The frown or raised eyebrows should tip you off.
- If they are playing or fiddling with their hair (a girl may twirl a lock of her tresses around a finger), they are feeling self-conscious or possibly uncomfortable.
- If someone is biting their lip, they are anticipating something or holding back.
- Lowered eyebrows and squinted eyes illustrate an attempt at understanding what is being said or going on. It’s usually sceptical. (Or maybe they have a problem seeing things e.g. short-sightedness, astigmatism…)
Watch their feet:
- A fast tapping, shifting of weight or movement of the foot will most often mean that the person is impatient, excited, nervous, scared, or intimidated.
- Slowly shifting weight usually means that someone is distracted, uncomfortable, or bored. Just a note on the above, this also works both ways. It’s not only the sale person is observing the client body language; however some clients will lookout for all the above at a sales person during a meeting or presentation. Therefore we have to be aware of our body language and non verbal communications as well.
Just a note on the above, this also works both ways. It’s not only the sale person is observing the client body language; however some clients will lookout for all the above at a sales person during a meeting or presentation. Therefore we have to be aware of our body language and non verbal communications as well.