Interpreting & Responding to Signals from Buyers

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  • 0:00 Body Language
  • 2:59 What Should You Be Doing?
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Instructor: David Whitsett

David has taught computer applications, computer fundamentals, computer networking, and marketing at the college level. He has a MBA in marketing.

Your customers are giving signals about their buying intentions with their body language and actions - are you picking up on them? In this lesson, we'll give you an understanding of body language from the customer's side and your side.

Body Language

Let's pretend you're a salesperson in a mall clothing store. Your store has signage to help customers find things: pants, shirts, shoes, etc. Did you realize that your customers also have a type of signage? Your customers are giving you signs through their body language, which is non-verbal communication, such as expressions, gestures, and posture. If you can interpret not just what your customers say, but what their body language tells you, you can go from being a good salesperson to a being great one.

There are many subtleties in body language, and it can be complex to actively listen and evaluate non-verbal communication at the same time, but being observant and making adjustments will give you an advantage. Research has shown that 55% of communication is through body language, 38% is tone of voice, and 7% is the actual words.

So, what do we look for? Here are some things to consider:

The windows to the soul

Yes, we're talking about the eyes and the surrounding area. When people agree with you, or are drawn to an object, they tend to maintain eye contact. If they're disinterested, they'll look away, and if they're bored they may glance around aimlessly. Eyes opening wide indicate interest, eyes narrowing indicate that the person may be troubled by what he or she sees. A genuine smile will create crinkles around the eyes. Raised or lowered eyebrows indicate disagreement or discomfort. Steady, prolonged eye contact without breaks is not natural, may indicate lying, and can make people uncomfortable.

Facial expressions

Some signals of stress or disagreement can be a clenched jaw, a furrowed brow, or the head turned slightly away so the person is looking at you sideways. Watch the mouth. The corners turned up is a good thing, the beginnings of a smile; the corners turned down, not so good. Tightly pressed lips are like closed arms: a warning sign.

Posture and gestures

Arms crossed indicates a person is probably closed off to what you're saying. Conversely, open hands and arms are signs that you're doing well. A person leaning forward is probably interested, a person moving away or creating space has a concern. If the shoulders and torso are facing you, you're likely on the same page. Nodding is good unless it is exaggerated nodding, which can indicate anxiety.

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