Nonverbal communication, otherwise
known as body language, is just as important as the words that
are being spoken in a conversation, particularly during a sales
meeting or presentation. Being able to fluently read the body
language of others can tremendously help anyone in the art
Professional buyers and sellers
know this. They can tell when something is amiss or not right
by studying the approach of the vendor or the client as he walks
into a room and takes a seat. You don't think it's possible?
In majority of sales meetings,
one party often assumes an "I am going to crush you"
attitude; this eventually leads to misunderstanding and premature
judgments. Often, nothing good comes out of meetings like this
one. If one person starts out with a haughty attitude, the other
will likely take a defensive stance and a subliminal battle
of wits ensues.
For example: The buyer enters
the room briskly, sits back on his chair with some distance
from the table, folds his arms over his chest, crosses his legs
and then blurts out, "So, what is it you want to discuss?"
The seller could respond to this by moving to the edge with
his feet in a sprinter's stance and body leaning toward the
buyer in a take-charge manner. He might also use his index finger
with his hand gesticulations to drive his point across. This
response could arouse suspicion on the side of the buyer, who
likely hates a hard sell. As a result, the buyer puts up a defensive
wall. Now both parties are edgy.
Instead of discussing the product
or idea congenially, the seller starts to feel insecure because
the buyer does not seem to be listening to him, and is instead
trying to find faults in what the seller is saying. This frustration
could be the seller's undoing. He might be compelled to ask
no-no sales questions, such as "Don't you understand? What's
wrong with you?"
It doesn't take a genius to conclude
that nothing good will come out of this situation. In fact,
hostile feelings could even be produced and both parties are
likely to walk away shaking their heads in annoyance.
But this is just scratching the
surface. While the above example might tell you a thing or two
about how you and other human beings behave, it does not help
you develop the skill of reading gestures and body language
at the onset, so that situations like this one can be prevented.
A lot of purchasing agents like
to assume an ogre-like attitude with novice salespersons, because
it gives them an air of authority and they enjoy watching the
novices squirm. These persons are hard to sell to, yes. However,
if the salesperson can ask effective questions that address
the agent's particular interests and needs, this cool veneer
will eventually fade. Conversely, if the agent takes off his
glasses and puts it on the table, it means the meeting's over
and you need to get out.
If, during the sales pitch, the
buyer leans closer and assumes a defensive gesture (like crossing
his hands), this means he is not pleased with what you are saying.
You can counter this by going back to your original position
on the other side of the table and laying off your aggression
slightly. There are those types of people who want to always
maintain authority and will not appreciate having you over to
their side of the fence.
Selling is no easy task. In fact,
it can be one of the most unglamorous professions in the world
(that depends on your skills and attitude of course) - and not
many people regard sales people very highly. You can prevent
this impression from taking over you by knowing how to read
body language before defensive body language is thrown at you.
It's a hard job, but since you're already there, you have to
do it - and do it well.