The Anatomy of the Sale

In the first five seconds of any sales presentation or coaching session (for you managers) people will determine the following:

� I will or will not listen to what you have to say.

� I will or will not want a relationship (personal or professional) with you.

� I will or will not trust you.

� I will or will not do business with you.

And in five seconds, there is nothing you can say that will speak more loudly than what your body language is telling them. So here are just a few tips to make sure your body�s first �words� are ones that make them curious enough to listen up.

1. Eyes- While your customer (internal or external) is talking, look them in the eye and make sure yours are wide open. This shows compassion and interest. And if you are talking to more than one person at the same time, don�t �lock on� to just one or two. For instance, if you are delivering a sales presentation to a physician and two nurses, your head needs to be on a swivel so that every decision-maker or influencer in that room knows you value their opinion.

It is okay to occasionally look away from your customer especially if you are trying to internalize the feedback they just gave you while crafting your professional response. This shows patience, confidence and often wisdom.

2. Shoulders and back- Keep them straight. Slouching shows low self-esteem. Also be aware of the body angle your customers. Are they leaning forward in interest or back in apathy or disapproval? Also, be aware of your distance from the customer. Break the Jerry Seinfeld �close talker� bubble and your customer will be more concerned about getting you out of their face than how much value your new product can deliver.

3. Head- When you want to be authoritative, keep your head in a consistent position both vertically and horizontally. Erratic or loose head movements show uncertainty in your message. When listening, tilt your head slightly to either side to show curiosity and interest in your customers input.

4. Mouth- What does your mouth do while others are speaking? When you tighten your lips and perhaps twist them to the side, it shows the other party that you are skeptical in what they are saying. Once a customer feels that there input is diminished, so too will be your chances at closing the sale.

Perhaps your most powerful body language tool is your smile. Face it, people like and want to buy more from happy people than they do grumpy ones. Pouts are OUT and grins are IN so use that mouth of yours as a billboard of your positive attitude.

5. Hands- To create an open and friendly selling atmosphere, your palms should be slightly up and outward when delivering a presentation. Palms and down and downward hand motions can perceived as forceful. To illustrate this, put your hands out in front of you with palms facing up and move your hands up and down as if you had an audience in front of you. What emotion would it spark in them (raise the roof anybody!) Now put your hands out with palms down and do the same things. How would and audience feel if you did this? Sure, they would think you are telling them to shut up and settle down. Your subtle hand motions in every presentation send those same signals.

6. Legs- Yes, even your legs sneak themselves into the sale. Even if they are hiding under the table, they can say a lot about how well you are communicating.

Jiggling the feet is like the brain's attempt to run away from what is being experienced.

If you look down and it seems like you are pumping the gas pedal of a 1967 Dodge Dart, chances are you are fidgeting with other body parts as well. Settle down, calm the legs and soon other parts will follow. Because the sale often goes to the most poised communicator, and the poised communicator makes slow, smooth movements.

And what about crossing your legs? It�s fine. Some cross at the ankles, some at the knees and others reach right down, grab the ankle and drop it on top of the other knee. Just keep in this is known as the �Figure 4 Position� and it can signal that you are on the defensive.

7. Elbows-When things are going well in a sale and you feel a connection has been made, a short three second touch on the elbow of a prospect can create a brief and warm connection. Doing this more than once however, could turn that warm connection cold quickly.

So this week, let your body do the talking. By doing so, will find that your PRECISE posture, combined with great product and a tactical sales plan, will have your commission check speaking a language that is music to your ears.


Brian Sullivan, CSP, is a member of the National Speakers Association and an internationally known expert on sales and leadership. Brian is one of about 10 percent of speakers worldwide to have earned the Certified Speaking Professional Designation awarded by the National Speakers Association and the International Federation for Professional Speakers. He delivers high-energy, no-nonsense, interactive seminars on his PRECISE Selling Formula to a companies looking to become famous in their indust...

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