Q: I have heard there are ways to know what someone is thinking by their body language. Is there any basis in fact to this concept?
A: There have been numerous articles written about the subject of body language. While not an exact science, it is helpful to be aware of certain signals that may indicate what your customer is thinking.
People react to different stimuli. Some may be visual, while others are auditory or kinesthetic. One's eye movements can sometimes indicate how best to communicate with them.
Looking upward may indicate someone is visual. They are processing what you say with mental images. This is a good sign as they are carefully considering what you are saying. Visual people may react well to a power point presentation.
Looking straight at you is a good sign they are interested. Conversely, looking downward can signal the person is not comfortable with your message. Failure to make eye contact with you may also indicate disinterest.
Body posture is another indicator of how you message is being received. John Boe, based in Monterey, Calif., helps companies recruit, train and motivate top-quality people. Boe concludes that "there are two basic categories of body posture; open/closed and forward/back."
Leaning forward with unfolded arms and legs uncrossed usually indicates interest and agreement. Leaning back with folded arms and crossed legs often indicates a lack of interest.
Boe states that "chin stroking" is a good sign the customer is strongly considering your proposal and you should be careful not to interrupt his train of thought.
A good salesperson is like a chameleon; they have the ability to adapt to their environment.
When talking to your customer, take the time to personalize the relationship. If you see a picture of his son in a football uniform, talk sports with him before launching into your sales pitch.
Always try to pace your delivery to that of your prospect. Listen more intently, and dress to fit the occasion. The goal is to make the customer feel comfortable and involved in the conversation. If you are doing all the talking, you have already lost the sale.
For those business owners who are close to retirement, SCORE Naples will offer a workshop on "Business Succession Planning" from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at IberiaBank, 2150 Goodlette Road. To register call 239-430-0081 or log on to http://naples.score.org/localworkshops
Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples. Their counselors can assist and offer advice concerning management issues facing your small business. Counseling is free to all U.S. citizens and legal aliens. To register call 239-430-0081 or visit http://tinyurl.com/43aqelw.
If you would like an answer to your question, fill out the form located at http://naples.score.org/mentors . A counselor will contact you within 48 hours. Include your name, email address and a contact phone number.