B2B organizations still earn 80% of their sales targets with sales meetings. People talk more about the importance of using sales enablement tools to support your sales pitch and assess its quality.
In this post, we focus on on a part of the sales pitch that can’t be captured in numbers or systems: human interaction. Although stacks of books have been written on the subject of body language, we are still limited in just how much we can influence human behavior. This is fortunate, as otherwise, sales would be a boring trade 😉
There are still quite a few practical tips you can use to understand body language. Here are the 5 ‘must know’ body language tips for a successful pitch:
Pay attention to the feet of your prospect. Which way are they pointing? Feet pointing towards the door mean you lost their attention. Feet facing you mean that your listener is completely focused.
The secret: feet point towards where you want to go.
Tip to counter: You cannot physically move someone’s feet, but you can involve them in the conversation by asking a question.
Fiddling and Tapping
Is your prospect fiddling around, or tapping his fingers?
If it happens when they are speaking, it’s positive. It’s a sign of concentration.
If they’re tapping their fingers or their pen while you talk, it’s a bad sign. Your prospect is mentally “checked out” and can not wait until the meeting is over.
Remember: the faster the tap, the greater their impatience.
If they’re doing this, it’s best to let them tell their story as quickly as possible, helping them move the story along with questions.
Do your prospects eyes wander off constantly during the interview?
That’s a sign that your story isn’t coming across well, or makes little impression on the prospect.
Like in the previous tip, it’s important to remember who is talking. If the prospect is talking and looking around, it usually means he is getting his thoughts in order. If you are talking, and his eyes wander off briefly, he is just thinking about your words. If it lasts for longer than a few seconds, and he hasn’t said anything, chances are that he is mentally in the Bahamas, and is letting you rattle on.
Tip to counter: Call him by his name. Scientific research shows that people prefer to hear the sound of their own name. You can think of a word that’s very similar to his name(or has the same initials). Or, to get him mentally back into the room, ask him what he thinks. How would he tackle a certain problem?
Is your prospect constantly leaning backwards with his hands behind his head?
That is the universal sign for “Let’s see what you’ve got” or “Prove why we need your product.”
Be careful: You’re now in a difficult position. It’s much more difficult to persuade someone who sits away from you and is looking contemplative. You want to interact with him, but now you have to deal with someone who is keeping you at a distance.
Tip to counter: Slide your iPad or paper presentation to him. He will have to lean forward to look. His body reacts, and his brain registers that he is interested. This happens because not only does the brain affect the body, it also happens the other way around (!). Try it, and see the conversation flow easier.
Face and Hands
When your prospect has his hand near his face, you should pay more attention.
Is his hand next to his face, or does his face lean on his hand? This is a very small difference, but the change in meaning is great. Index finger and thumb next to the face is a sign of listening and recording. However, if the hand is used to hold the weight of the head and rest, then your prospect is bored. Quickly, create interaction!
Body language shows clearly if people are interested or if they lost interest. Ultimately, the best tip is to listen and show interest in the problems of the customer. Every human being is primarily interested in themselves. With the right questions and a well-structured presentation, you can get the most out of every meeting. If you are not sure whether your story is resonating with your prospect, these tips will definitely help you figure it out.
These tips are from Joella van der Boom.
Sources: Allan Pease and Joe Navarro