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Body Language & the Art of the Sale

Body language, really? - you must be kidding? How can this help me be a better salesperson?

Yes, it's true.

You may be laughing this off, but even Forbes has taken seriously the interpretation of body language in business settings, "The best salespeople are experts at reading body language... and have turned a survival skill into a savvy technique for success." American Express concurs, "In the sales world if you use body language to build trust with your customers - or at least not deteriorate it - you'll come out ahead." Vanessa Van Edwards, a lead behavioral investigator at her human behavior research lab, the Science of People states, "After only one training, Salespeople who used power body language increased their sales numbers by 56% ." (Her work has also been featured on NPR, The Wall Street Journal, The Today Show, and USA Today.) With all this "street cred", can this tool be dismissed out of hand? Read on, it might just prove to be the edge you need.

You may be thinking, "Oh, boy! Yet, another thing I have to know and remember! "Don't give up!" Forbes says, "Reading body language has helped the human race survive for millions of years... " That tells us we do this all the time without even knowing it.

So, we've listed some really simple things to get you started. Soon you'll be using these tips all the time and wondering how you did without them.

  • Mirror the strength of the other person's handshake.

  • Match the speed of your speech to the others with you.

  • Make eye contact at least 70% of the time.

  • Nod when someone is speaking to show you are interested and paying attention.

  • Lean in toward the person you are with (About 45 degrees) to show you're actively listening.

  • Respect personal space and don't crowd. (No closer than a foot and a half.)

  • Avoid excessive use of your hands and wild gestures in sales meetings. (During a sales presentation, it's the opposite - gesturing and animation are encouraged.)

  • Check your posture: shoulders back, head up, arms uncrossed, hands at your side or on the table (Never out of sight ) and SMILE - simple, right? However, smiling puts almost anyone at ease.

Richard Petty, professor of psychology at Ohio State University was quoted in Fast Magazine on posture and its effect on your mood, “It can be difficult to distinguish real confidence from the confidence that comes from just standing up straight… these things go both ways just like happiness leads to smiling, but smiling also leads to happiness.”

If you practice a sales presentation before a big meeting, you can, as you prepare, record yourself. Watch for some of your own unspoken body language cues and make corrections. Soon you'll be well on your way and you'll have another useful tool to help you close more sales!


Salty Red Dog Marketing, LLC is a marketing agency in Westport, Connecticut, and Red Bank, New Jersey. We service businesses with marketing strategies, digital marketing, social media, and consultations.

Contact: Phone: (203) 429-9671 | (732) 802-6295

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