For many of us, selling a product or service requires face-to-face interaction (even if this is made possible by technology.) Many of us have learned how to word sentences to get people to buy. We can also deliver information in a way that connects with the part of the brain that drives behavior (see our blog about product packaging.)
What also makes a difference in successful sales is our body language. There are two significant strategies that will help you or your sales team land a pitch: building rapport and changing your mind with your body.
The first is a strategy more people are familiar with. It is a Neuro Lingistic Programming (NLP) technique, and a most basic one at that. NLP is used by many people for many reasons, and it was popularized by Tony Robbins (you may remember him from Shallow Hal.) The building rapport technique is simple: you just mirror the client.
What happens in mirroring is you reflect the other person’s speech and body language styles. The other person’s subconscious picks up on your gestures, stance, tone, dialect, etc. When your communication style and body language matches that of the other person, he or she unknowingly likes you more. You establish trust and rapport.
It may seem like the other person will catch on, but if you do it subtly, it will only be noticed by his or her subconscious. If your client is standing arms folded, shifting his weight from side to side, pursing his lips while he listens to you, simply copy this as you talk and listen to him.
If he gestures while speaking, mirror those gestures back when you speak. If he varies tone or volume a certain way, copy it as best you can without coming across as mocking. It may take some practice, but when you do this, you will notice more loyalty, more trust, and more success in sales.
The second method is something each salesperson can do alone. It comes from Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk “Your body language shapes who you are.” The guts of this strategy is based on hormone changes that occur when a person is feeling powerful versus powerless. Testosterone levels are higher and cortisol (stress hormones) levels are less in people who feel powerful. Cortisol is higher and testosterone lower in the powerless.
It naturally follows that people who feel powerful automatically use big, open “power” poses in their body language. The powerless use smaller, more collapsed poses. Our minds, or how we think of ourselves, has a direct effect on both our endocrine system and our body language.
What’s interesting is that with body language, the reverse is also true. Holding a “power stance” for two minutes makes a person feel more powerful. It actually changes hormone levels. Even better, it makes other people perceive you as more competent, trustworthy, and likeable.
Cuddy created an experiment with two groups of people. Each was to participate in a job interview with a panel of people who were trained not to give nonverbal feedback. This is the most stressful interview scenario possible.
One group held power poses for two minutes before the interview, while the other held collapsed poses. The interviewers were blind to the poses their interviewees had done. In the end, everyone who held a power pose before the interview was chosen over those who did not.
Cuddy calls this strategy “fake it ‘till you make it.” If you’re feeling doubtful, nervous, or stressed about a meeting (or whatever), holding a power pose for two minutes before the appointment will positively affect your mindset and performance. You don’t need to hold the power poses during the meeting (which is good if you’re mirroring your consumer.)
These two simple strategies will help people in sales meetings, workshops, training, pitches, and interviews. Of course, they work outside of sales and marketing, too. Try it at home with your spouse, children, neighbor, or anyone you want to test your influence on. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the results!
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Cuddy’s Ted Talk can be accessed here: https://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are#t-13599