Photo: Getty Images
The difference between a successful salesperson and a lousy salesperson is his or her ability to not only read what the customer wants, but to convince that person to buy what the salesperson wants him or her to buy. The most effective salesperson is one who has learned to read the body language and facial expression of his or her clients, and use that to get the client to trust him or her.
Studies show that the average door-to-door salesperson has only four seconds to convince the person who answered the door to purchase his or her product. To put that in another perspective, within four seconds of answering the door, the potential buyer has already made up his or her mind whether or not he or she is going to purchase anything. In those four seconds, the potential buyer makes eye contact, studies the seller’s posture, and facial expression. Even before the seller says anything, his or her body language will determine whether the sale is successful or not.
Only about 7 percent of face-to-face communication is through our actual words. That means 93 percent of our communication is non-verbal, including tone and level of voice, eye movement, posture, hand gestures, facial expression, etc. The eyes have always been known as the gateway of the soul because they communicate far more than any other part of the body. A person’s mouth may smile, but it is the eyes that dictate to the observer whether the smile is genuine or not.
Successful salespeople know how to set their posture and reflect the expression and the body language of the person they are selling to. They know that they can set the tone of the sale and the mood of the buyer with their own body language.
On a more personal level, “[y]our own body language signals can also influence what other people may think or feel about you” (www.kevinhogan.com) and men and women and people of different cultures respond to body movements in different ways, so learning to read body language is crucial to not only effective communication, but also to understanding and enhancing relationships.