Effective Body Language for In-Person Sales

It’s not always what you say that closes the sale—but how you say it. Body language plays an important role in communications, and people are adept at reading between the lines. Your body language can make a prospect more comfortable—or undermine your sales efforts. Here are a few tips for good body language in insurance sales.

Match your prospect’s body language. This is an old trick—“mirroring” someone’s body language to make them more comfortable and form a sense of emotional connection. Stand when your prospect stands and sit when they sit—and make sure your chair and posture is neither higher nor lower than theirs. Judge whether you’ve built a rapport by starting to change your body language—and see if they subconsciously mirror you. If they don’t, keep mimicking until they do—and then ask for the sale.

Eliminate unnecessary movement. Excess movement is often seen as nervousness. Avoid fidgeting, scratching, shifting in your seat, obvious hand gestures, or other unconscious movements that may feel minimal to you, but are very noticeable to the person you’re speaking to. Getting rid of these movements will increase your perceived confidence and make the prospect more comfortable.

Pay attention to the prospect’s body language. Monitoring the body language of your prospect can tell you how you’re doing in the sales process—and whether you’re effectively persuading. Is the prospect facing you, leaning into you, with uncrossed arms and legs? If so, this may mean the prospect is open to your message. If you see a lot of leaning back and crossed arms, this indicates a certain amount of defensiveness—and may mean the prospect isn’t on board yet.

Keep eye contact consistent. It can get awkward to stare deeply into the customer’s eyes. But it also sends a message that you’re not trustworthy if you’re looking everywhere but at the prospect’s face. While it’s OK to break contact from time to time, it’s important to keep your eye contact more or less consistent. This sends a message of trustworthiness and directness.

Your body language can work with you or against you in landing a sale. Be sure it works with you. Check out the MTD Sales Blog or Changing Minds.org for more details on how to make sure your body language lines up with your sales message—and isn’t throwing your prospects off without your knowledge.

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