How to Read Your Prospect Like a Book!

By: John Boe
Posted: 02/16/2008

Top salespeople and the most successful managers recognize
the importance of nonverbal communication in the selling
process and have learned to "listen with their eyes." They
understand that one of the easiest and most effective ways to
close sales is to be aware of their prospect's "buy signals."

Are you aware that your body language reveals your deepest
feelings and hidden thoughts to total strangers?

Body language is a mixture of movement, posture and tone
of voice. It might surprise you to know that research indicates
over 70 percent of our communication is done nonverbally. In
fact, studies show that nonverbal communication has a much
greater impact and reliability than the spoken word. Therefore,
if your prospect's words are incongruent with his or her body
language gestures, you would be wise to rely on their body
language as a more accurate reflection of their true feelings.

Gain the Competitive Edge
Get started on the right foot. Research shows that we decide
in the first few moments whether we like someone or not. Yes,
we also judge a book by its cover too. There is absolutely no
substitute for a positive first impression. Create a favorable
first impression and build rapport quickly by using open body

In addition to smiling and making good eye contact, you
should show the palms of your hands, keep your arms
unfolded and your legs uncrossed.

Create harmony by "matching and mirroring" your prospect's
body language gestures. Matching and mirroring is unconscious
mimicry. It's a way of subconsciously telling another that you
like them and agree with them.

The next time you are at a social event, notice how many
people are subconsciously matching one another. Likewise,
when people disagree, they subconsciously mismatch their
body language gestures.

You can build trust and rapport by deliberately, but subtly,
matching your prospect's body language in the first ten to
fifteen minutes of the appointment. For example, if you notice
that your prospect has crossed his or her arms, subtly cross
your arms to match them. After you believe you have developed
trust and rapport, verify it by uncrossing your arms and see if
your prospect will match and mirror you as you move into a
more open posture.

If you notice your prospect subconsciously matching your
body language gestures, congratulations, because this indicates
you have developed trust and rapport. Conversely, if you notice
your prospect mismatching your body language gestures, you
know trust and rapport has not been established and you need
to continue matching and mirroring them.

Body Language Basics
Be mindful to evaluate the flow of "gesture clusters" rather
than isolated gestures taken out of context. Listed below are
some important body language gestures that will help you close
more sales in less time.

Body Postures: There are two basic categories; Open/Closed
and Forward/Back.

In an open and receptive body posture, arms are unfolded, legs
uncrossed and palms are exposed. In a closed body posture,
arms are folded, legs are crossed and the entire body is usually
turned away.

· Leaning back and closed = Lack of interest

· Leaning back and open = Contemplation and cautious interest

· Leaning forward and closed = Potential aggressive behavior

· Leaning forward and open = Interest and agreement

Head Gestures

· Head neutral = Neutral and open attitude

· Tilted back = Superior attitude

· Tilted down = Negative and judgmental attitude

· Tilted to one side = Interest

Facial Gestures

· Eye rub = Deceit, "see no evil"

· Eye roll = Dismissive gesture that indicates superiority

· Looking over top of glasses = Scrutiny and a critical attitude

· Nose rub = Dislike of the subject

· Hand or fingers blocking mouth = Deceit, "speak no evil"

· Chin stroking = Making a decision

· Thumb under chin with index finger pointing vertically along
the cheek = Negative attitude and critical judgment

Are you missing your prospect's buy signals? As a professional
salesperson you must continuously monitor your prospect's
body language and adjust your presentation accordingly. By
knowing your prospect's body language gestures you will
minimize perceived sales pressure and know when it's
appropriate to close the sale!

1. Keep this article handy and read it again just before your
next client appointment.

2. Before you begin matching and mirroring the body language
gestures of your prospects, first practice by matching and
mirroring family members, friends or associates.

3. During your appointment, make a mental note of your client's
three most frequently used gestures.

4. Identify your three most frequently used gestures and work
on eliminating any negative or intimidating gestures.

John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and
sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales
meetings and conventions. 

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