Have you ever heard the phrase “you never get a second chance to make a good impression”? As any successful salesperson will tell you, the ability to accurately interpret your prospect’s body language is an essential aspect to making that sale.
Real estate champions understand the importance of non-verbal communication during the sales process and adapt their sales techniques depending on their interpretation of the situation.
Body language is the oldest and one of the best communication tools we have, yet so few of us ever fully develop the necessary skills to actually make sense of it! Do you present yourself in the best possible light when prospecting? With research indicating that over 80 per cent of every conversation is conveyed through non-verbal communication, it may be a good idea to take a check on how you present yourself to your client during your first meeting.
Here are a few pointers to get you started…
First impressions count!
Whether we like it or not, research shows that we decide whether or not we like somebody within the first few seconds of meeting them. This works both ways - a positive first impression is vital to winning the prospect over to you as well, so take the time to make eye contact and smile at your client. Handshakes should be firm, not overpowering or too limp.
Creating an instant rapport with your client can be achieved by ‘matching and mirroring’ your prospect’s body language. The process of mimicking their gestures is an unconscious way of informing them that you agree with what they are saying. It is important to ensure that your actions are in congruence with the words you are saying as there is often a discrepancy between the two. When in doubt, experts advise you to trust the non-verbal communication!
Many sales trainers believe that an agent can deliberately build trust and rapport by subtly matching a person’s body language during the first 10-15 minutes of an appointment. If you notice that your prospect is subconsciously matching your body language, then the chances are that you have developed a positive relationship and they are interested in what you have to say. Congratulations!
Reading the signs
There are two fundamental categories of body gestures; open/closed and forward/backward. When a prospect is receptive to your ideas, they will generally have their arms unfolded, legs uncrossed and their palms exposed. However, should they turn their body away from you or show closed gestures then you may need to rethink your communication strategy.
As a general rule, the following gestures can indicate these scenarios…
Rubbing eyes – deceit
Rolling eyes – dismissive gesture
Rubbing nose – dislike of the topic
Hand or fingers blocking mouth – deceit
Stroking the chin – making a decision
Leaning back and closed – lack of interest
Leaning back and open – contemplation and cautious interest
Leaning forward and closed – potentially aggressive
Leaning forward and open – interest and agreement
It is important to remember that isolated body gestures should not be taken out of context, so try to look at the overall pattern of your prospect’s behaviour as opposed to individual actions.
Non-verbal communication has a much greater impact and reliability than the spoken word; the ability to ‘listen with your eyes’ is a critical aspect of prospecting. If you can recognise when a prospect is interested, you can begin to make headway in closing the deal at the appropriate moment without applying too much “pressure”.