Mistake 9 — Your body language pushed them away

55 percent of what you say is in your body language

In the 1960’s, Professor Albert Mehrabian famously concluded, 93 percent of all communication is non-verbal with only 7 percent being attributed to what you say. 55 percent of this non-verbal communication was said to come from your body language.

While these figures are highly disputed, and not always relevant to all forms of communication, it’s thought there is a great deal of merit to the findings for face to face interactions.

Whether it’s actually 55 percent, 45 percent or even 35 percent, the message is, you need to pay attention to what your body language is saying. It will tell the customer how interested you are in helping them, how much you care, how genuine you are or how desperate you feel.

Talking to a customer is a privilege and you need to see it that way. This person is making the decision to spend their hard earned money with you. Poor body language will cost you sales, no matter how great your solution is.

Some examples of body language to avoid:

  • poor posture (you’re disinterested)
  • avoiding eye contact (you’re uncomfortable)
  • slumped shoulders (you’re defeated)
  • arms crossed or hands in pockets (you’re defensive)
  • chewing your lip (you’re nervous)
  • invading personal space (you’re disrespectful)
  • excessive movements such as tapping your feet or twirling a pen (you’re impatient)
  • back turned or not facing the person (you don’t want to be there)
  • not smiling (you’re tense or you don’t care)

Today’s challenge is to have someone else assess your body language from a distance the next time you are interacting with a customer. Ask them to look out for any of the negative body language examples above. You may discover things you are doing which are pushing customers away and you didn’t know you were doing it!

Want more while you wait for your next lesson?

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