Sometimes we forget the important part determined by body language in business transactions, and we only focus on the import of our words to close our deals, which can result in them not being successful.
The way we move our body when we interact with a client, we pay attention to our gestures and posture can mean a great deal in influencing the final result of our sales efforts. Eyes, smile, arms, subtle moves etc are clues we should never undervalue.
Body language in business: Gain the client to follow you
First off, if you are dealing with a new client, start with an open and assertive posture, without it being domineering. Try mirroring their verbal style and body language, so as to establish a connection at a deeper subconscious level. Once you establish it, you are free to move and speak as you like, since they now like you and are ready to follow you (and not the opposite).
If you’re dealing with a super important client and are feeling tense, do pay attention to keep your shoulders relaxed, not to let any signs of nervousness come out. Remember that confidence is always winning, so if the client is noticing you’re tense or nervous, he might think you’re not completely honest or you might appear deceptive (without even meaning it).
Body language in business: the way you speak
Never speak too fast, you might annoy the client with looking as if you were running a marathon, and you would also risk confusing him, and not let him understand all the bits. Don’t speak too slow either, or your client may get bored and think you’re a ‘slow’ thinker or being patronizing them.
Besides, not only is it important to speak but also not to forget to listen. Your listening skills are the key to a successful transaction as much as your ability to convince the person through your speaking skills. You might want to nod every now and then at what your client says, and notice if your client is nodding too. This is a good expression of interest and agreement, so look out for the signs.
Body language in business: Eye contact
Remember that your eyes speak as loud as your mouth. Make eye contact with your client, keep it constant without staring into the person’s eyes for too long, or you might look weird. Rule of thumb, your eye contact should be about 3 seconds long at a time so as to be comfortable for the other person.
If the client is interested, you will see that their pupils will appear dilated and that they will make prolonged eye contact with you without you or them getting nervous. If the client is not interested, he will probably look away, may avoid eye contact with you or, even worse, he might be squinting their eyes (this is a sign that your client has picked something in your speaking that he disagrees with or has doubts upon).
Body language in business: Arms
The clues of an open and receptive stance or a closed one come from the arms. You should avoid crossing your arms, as it’s renown to be a sign of defensiveness and closeness. Vice versa, if you see that your client is reaching out toward you, with an expansive stance of their arms, you should interpret it as a sign of interest and receptiveness.
Hands and fingers do play a part too. I’d suggest, keep your hands relaxed and don’t start gesticulating until you’ve established a bond with your client. If you see the client drumming their fingers on the table, it will probably mean you lost him. By contrast, if your client is rubbing their hands, then be excited and ready to close the deal.
Further reading: A little list of body language and their meanings: arms and legs positions