What You Didn’t Know About Your Customer’s Body Language

Your customers are telling you a lot without ever saying a word!  Our bodies communicate volumes, and being able to read what a customer’s eyes, gestures, posture and feet (yes, feet!) are telling you can help you turn a potentially disinterested customer into an interested and engaged one.  Here are some things you need to look for.

The eyes are the windows to the soul

Have you ever watched a customer look over a list of written options?  If you pay careful attention, you can absolutely tell what option they dig and what ones don’t interest them because their gaze will keep going back to the option they prefer.  The eyes might open wider and the pupils might dilate, too.

If your customer isn’t interested, the opposite happens.  Eyes will look away from things that aren’t attractive.  They may even squint or lose focus and the pupils will get smaller.

The same things happen with eye contact.  If your customer is on board with what you’re saying, they’ll tend to make more eye contact.  If not, they look away.  If your customer is looking away from you, defocusing their eyes or squinting, that’s your cue to turn the boat around before you lose them!

Embracing ideas

Gestures are another good way to tell if your customer is engaged.  If they’re making lots of open and welcoming gestures or leaning forward toward you, you’re golden.  If they’re folding their arms across their chest, looking defensive and leaning away, you’ve got trouble buddy. If your customer starts doodling or looking around the room, you’d better send out search and rescue team because you’ve really lost them.

Posturing for success

The way a customer holds their shoulders and torso is also very telling.  The more someone likes and agrees with you, the more they will turn their shoulders and torso toward you.  They may even mirror your body orientation.  If you’re not sure if someone is hip to your vibe, change the way you’re sitting a little bit.  If they follow, you know they’re with you.  If not, you need to find a way to subtly get them back on the same page. 

As soon as someone feels uncomfortable, the first thing they’ll do is turn away or protect themselves with a shield like a phone, notebook or briefcase.

The Fred Astaire phenomenon

Nobody ever notices the feet, but they say so much!  Most people make an attempt to control their body language through their facial expressions, gestures and posture, but they rarely pay attention to what their feet are doing.  This leaves folks wide open for you to read their minds!

If your customer is sitting with his or her ankles crossed and legs stretched out and forward, they are most likely feeling good about things.  When feet are pulled away or ankles are locked tightly, there’s a storm brewing.  The same thing with legs crossed and twisted around one another or the legs of the chair.

A customer with a bouncing foot might seem bored or antsy, but it actually may mean that they’re excited about what’s going on.  When that foot suddenly stops it may indicate that they’re anticipating something.

Every good salesperson knows that effective communication is the absolute key to having happy customers, but smart salespeople know that there’s a lot more to the conversation than what’s being spoken.  Knowing how to read people can help you become a better communicator and a much stronger salesperson!

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