As you read this article, take a second to review your posture.
Are you hunched over your keyboard, chin on your palm and neck craned toward the screen? Or are you sitting completely upright, as if you could flatten a long ruler along your neck and spine?
I know, those probably seem like weird questions to ask. But as a salesperson, your posture and body language may be more important to your ability to sell than you think.
In fact, in the recent Ted Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy went so far as to suggest that body language (or, as Cuddy calls it, non-verbal communication) can change other people’s perceptions of us, as well as our own body chemistry. So, even though you might not feel confident when you meet with a prospect, you can actually convey confidence through your body language, posture and movement.
That can have a big impact on how your customers and prospects view you, your company, and the products or services you sell—and ultimately improve your close ratio!
It’s Not Just What You Say—It’s How You Look When You Say It
Lately, as I’ve been asked to speak at more and more conferences, I’ve been studying the science and psychology of body language and posture, and exploring why those things are critical to truly capturing someone’s attention.
Because I'm an introvert, public speaking has never come easy to me and it’s certainly not a forum in which I feel most comfortable. But, as a big believer in constantly striving to perfect your craft, I couldn’t help but wonder if my speech-giving skills could be improved by some relatively small body language changes.
Not surprisingly, I’ve found that the answer is, undeniably, yes! And the same can be said about your ability to close sales.
Winning sales is really about the confidence you’re able to convey to your prospects (in addition to solid solutions). If they trust what you’re saying, they’ll be more likely to buy in to your recommendations. If they don’t, those recommendations will fall on deaf ears.
Think about it from your own perspective.
If you met with a financial adviser to discuss your investment strategy and noticed he was sweating, twisting his wedding ring and refusing to make eye contact, how confident would you be in that person’s ability to manage your financial future?
Small Changes Lead to Big Results
Like it or not, the reality is prospects will make sweeping judgments about you based purely on your posture, body language and non-verbal communication.
How you stand, smile, pose or speak can change the energy in a face-to-face meeting with a customer, while the tone, power and confidence of your voice can greatly influence the flow of a phone conversation.
Now, I’m not saying that you should all of a sudden start acting like an over-confident meathead in sales meetings. Shouting, cracking crude jokes or awkwardly attempting to dominate the conversation will get you nowhere. Rather, I’m suggesting that you consider making some relatively small tweaks. As The Wall Street Journal’s Sue Shellenberger points out in this article, embracing the simple concept of striking “power poses” before you enter meetings or pick up the phone can drastically improve performance.
So, change your posture. Smile as you talk. Stop slouching. Breathe from your diaphragm. Strike a power pose before you walk into a prospect’s office. All of those things will raise your—and your prospects’—energy level and confidence. And that undoubtedly will help you win more sales.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert, author of the newly released book, “The Sales Magnet,” and the award winning book, “Selling Against the Goal,” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.