Posted: 27 June 2017
In sales, the visual element is highly valued and a colourful and informative POS display can certainly assist in getting a customer’s attention. Where difficulty arises is in what comes next. A highly qualified salesperson can ask all the right questions and give all the right answers and still misread the situation thus losing a sale. The reason for this is a lot of communication between people is non-spoken. Communication involves more than verbal communication and learning how to read a person’s body language is essential to understanding how a conversation is going.
UCLA Professor Emeritus of Psychology Albert Mehrabian famously said that body language accounts for 55 percent of your response when communicating about topics such as like or dislike. While there has been a longstanding debate on the merits of these results the underlying theme of the importance of body language should not be ignored. For a salesperson, they should carry themselves with open, nonthreatening, and communicative gestures. This makes a customer more relaxed and increases the chances that they will be responsive to what the salesperson is saying.
However, nonverbal communication is a two-way street and while many sales people carry themselves with a well-practised poise they still may not know how to read a customer’s body language. Here is a brief list of common physical gestures and how to read them.
When dealing with customers paying attention to what they say and how they say it is important but body language cannot be ignored. Many customers may feign politeness and small talk while at the same item being completely disinterested in what a salesperson is saying. By being able to read body language effectively a conversation can be redirected to generate real interest and a sincere response.