The ability to work out what is really happening with a person and your interaction with them is actually quite simple.
In the third of these studies, we’re touching on a few signs and indicators that will help you to make client and prospect interaction work to your advantage. Read people and you will be able to gauge how they are understanding your proposition and your likely chances of success. Then, when to stop in your normal routine, to recognise and tackle objections from non-verbal signs, and when to close.
Nonverbal communication, just like words, is a means of transmitting information. It’s achieved through facial expressions, gestures, touching (haptics), physical movements (kinesics) and posture. Combine that with speech, tone, acoustics-phonetics and voice volume to gain the full picture.
Lies, damned lies! Is your client being truthful with you? Psychologists tell us that the less dependable lies are words because they can be rehearsed. The most reliable clues to lying are those made by gestures people make automatically because they have little or no control over them. For example, when we see, speak and hear lies or deceit, we often react by covering our mouth, eyes or ears with our hands.
If you’re still not convinced, it’s a fact that the Police and higher authorities use these techniques all the time. Being able to decipher lies from the truth is how their training and experience gets best results. When they ‘trap’ a suspect under questioning, attitudes, body language and comfort levels change and generally, reveal the flaw in the suspect’s story.
When people hear bad news or witness an accident, they will often cover their entire face with their hands to symbolically stop themselves from seeing or hearing awful news. But hand to mouth gestures can mean holding back information. When someone puts their fingers across their eyes, it need not indicate they are tired, more that they are not convinced of your argument and that they’re frustrated; they need to look away from you.
Understanding how the limbic system’s freeze, fight or flight responses influence nonverbal behaviour is only part of the equation. How we feel challenged, perhaps threatened and how we should react will make the difference between success and failure in a sales (or any) situation.
In general, when the limbic brain is in a state of comfort this is reflected in non-verbal displays of contentment and high confidence. While your prospect is clearly in this state, things are going well. But how many times have our proposals fizzled out, our prospects haven’t bought from us and we ‘didn’t see it coming?’ So, learning to detect false or misleading cues is critical.
Clustering. It would be misguided to believe that just one gesture from someone is an indicator. You need to read body language in clusters. For example, scratching the head can mean uncertainty but it can also mean annoyance, exasperation or…dandruff.
The perceptive person can read body language in ‘sentences’ and accurately match them against the person’s verbal responses. That’s where subtlety comes in. If your prospect sees that you’re reading him, he may react very strangely, feeling threatened and resorting to near animal freeze, fight or flight instincts. (After all, no one likes to feel a mug).
The clever money is on being able to watch, interpret and turn body language and words and into a winning proposition.
Ignore the signs and you be leaving the deal on the table – none the wiser.