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Body language can boost, bust a biz

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Positive body language can help your sales team win over more customers to your tire dealership or service shop.

Negative body language? That may do just the opposite and leave salespeople clueless as to why prospects didn't buy.

In fact, negative body language may negate a service salesperson's good grooming, snazzy attire and product knowledge. Remember, the key to successful sales is to sell yourself first. Surely, positive body language is an integral part of selling yourself successfully.

Doing that is more important than ever today simply because the competition is broader and better than ever. Suffice it to say the competition is cutthroat.

Today's fast-paced world also increases the importance of that first impression. When prospects come in the door, you may have only very little time to convince them to stay and hear your sales pitch. So those initial visual impressions may be more important than some service salespeople realize.

Recently I noticed an item from Forbes magazine on the Internet about body language mistakes job seekers often make during the initial interview. Various experts in the field described negative or bad body language that may sink an interview within seconds of the applicant's arrival.

When you think about it, your sales team undergoes an “initial interview” every time a new prospect comes in the door. Motorists begin sizing up the details of your business—especially your personnel—within seconds. Therefore, the salesperson's body language begins boosting or busting the dealership's image right away.

To me, body language tips are timeless information. My field experience indicates there are salespeople who sorely need these tips. Take a look.

For openers, I wasn't a bit surprised that the Forbes article focused on making and maintaining eye contact with people. However, it stressed some details I found to be both subtle as well as practical. For example, you should always make eye contact during that initial greeting and maintain eye contact while shaking hands.

At the same time, though, you should break eye contact at some appropriate, comfortable point so that you don't find yourself staring at someone. If the sales prospect senses you're staring at him or her, it could make you appear very aggressive or downright creepy. Neither of these emotions are confidence builders.

Next, although you shouldn't stare at a prospect, you shouldn't appear distracted, either. Have you ever seen someone dart his or her eyes around the room for no obvious reason? Have you ever seen someone roll his or her eyes upward during a conversation?

These needless eye movements are more than just distracting to your prospect. According to the experts, they also telegraph emotions such as insecurity, discomfort and/-or untruthfulness. On the other hand, maintaining comfortable eye contact with someone conveys confidence, knowledge and honesty.

Likewise, fidgeting and the nervous-looking physical tics that accompany it also distract the sales prospect.

Try to be extra conscious of what you do with your hands. For instance, some people habitually jab a finger toward the person they're facing or they chop the air between them with their hands. These motions may be very distracting and may convey an aggressive manner.

Meanwhile, keeping your hands behind your back or in your pockets suggests that you're stiff—stiff in the sense of an inflexible personality. Stiffness is not a warm, endearing trait. What's more, crossing your arms across your chest also puts off people because it telegraphs defensiveness and resistance.

When you're unsure what to do with your hands, keeping them at your side conveys openness and approachability—welcoming signals to people you're trying to win over.

If nothing, try to be more aware of your body language and that of your sales team. At the very least, try to coach your colleagues toward more-positive body language.
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TB Reader Poll

Previous | Published February 22, 2019

What kind of investments do you plan to make this year?

Adding more employees.
21% (17 votes)
Upgrading software/hardware.
16% (13 votes)
Upgrading our equipment and/or facilities.
37% (30 votes)
Training for employees.
27% (22 votes)
Total votes: 82
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