JCK Las Vegas: Keep Body Language Open, Expert Says

The most important way you communicate with customers is
nonverbal, body language expert Linda Talley said in a June 2 seminar on “Did
You Hear Everything Your Customer Didn’t Say?” at the JCK Las Vegas Show.

 “Communication
is only 7 percent verbal,” Talley argued.

Talley advised owners to monitor their salespeople’s body
language to make sure they are getting the right message across.

“Pay attention to what your staff is doing, because that can
make or break a sale,” she said. “They could be sending mixed messages, they
could be throwing up all these barriers.”

Among Talley’s tips:

– Smile—but do it genuinely. “A smile is one of the few
universal gestures of acceptance,” she said.

– Lean forward. “It shows you are interested, responsive,
and eager,” Talley said.

– Stay away from defensive “closed” positions, like crossing
arms or legs, fidgeting, and toe-tapping.

“When I see people in a defensive position, I say: ‘Uh, oh.
Something is wrong here,’” she said. “It puts the client in a defensive
position, and then things don’t get sold.”

– Don’t touch your hair or face in front of clients. It
shows you are unsure of yourself, hiding something or nervous.  In addition, wrinkling your noise and
raising your upper lip shows anger or uncertainty.

– Standing with your hands clasped together sends a good
message when clients walk in the store. “It’s the humility position,” she said.
It is also useful when a customer has a problem, because it shows you are
willing to listen to what they have to say.

– When talking with customers, stand with your hands by your
side, but not in your pockets.

“That makes customer’s eyes go to the pockets,” she said.
“We have gotten used to putting our hands in our pockets, because it makes us
feel comfortable. It’s a defensive position that keeps people away. That is not
how you want to be with your clients.”

Similarly, the hands behind back or “fig leaf” position is a
“position of arrogance” that communicates that you are hiding something.

– When in a sitting position, sit with your hands on the
table or palms up. “That shows you are in an open and vulnerable position, then
people will engage you,” she said.

– Pay attention to your customer’s body language. “If you
have got a customer that is picking lint, stop talking because they are not
listening,” she said. “Stop trying to sell them and build a relationship.”

– If a client is not ready to buy, their shoulders tend to rise,
their fists get clenched, they glance downward, and raise their eyebrows.

“Ready to buy” signals include dilated pupils, relaxed
shoulders, eyebrows aligning with ears, unclasped hands, and up-facing palms.

– Lying is demonstrated by lack of eye contact, sweating,
ears turning red, and a person shifting in his or her seat.

–  A final handshake is a good way to say “thank you.”