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What Are You Really Telling Your Customers?

Your Body Language May Be Communicating More Than You Think

The way you speak, hold your arms, look at your customer and even tilt your head can all be sending out messages (both good and bad) that you don’t even realize.

Whether you are standing face to face with a customer at the counter or meeting with the CEO of your largest client in a board room setting, your body language may be telling all your secrets – and that could be hurting your business!

You communicate with more than just your voice.  Even if you are saying all the right things, if your body is telling another story you are going to be in trouble. People take note of the tone of your voice, your stance, your expressions and your overall attitude.  If your body language is unfriendly, they will perceive your encounter as an antagonistic one even if you speak in a friendly and helpful manner.

You know exactly what I’m talking about –we all face scenarios like this all the time.  You walk into a fast food joint to pick up a quick lunch. The person at the counter says hello in a friendly enough tone, but the rest of her body language tells you that you are nothing more than a bother. There is a wisp of a sigh when you ask a question, the drum of a finger when you take too long to order, the shove of a bag your way when your order is up and a quick “thank you” thrown out as an afterthought.  Not very pleasing is it?

Then there is the other establishment where the people are warm, friendly and helpful.  They smile, make good eye contact and take your order with confidence. You never feel you are wasting their time and if you take too long to order, they try and help by recommending a specialty.  Now this is the type of body language that screams great customer service. It is the kind of place you want to return to and you do.

Of course, not every business has front clerk people, but that doesn’t matter. Every business has someone who sees clients and customers (even if that’s you) and their body language may be telling the wrong story.

The fundamentals of body language are important to remember and implement in any business contact:  eye contact, relaxed arms, “open” shoulders, a firm handshake and a friendly smile.  When discussing body language basics with your employees, be sure to cover these important essentials:

  • Make eye contact.  When you look someone in the eye (no staring now), it tells them you are interested and you care.  It also conveys a sense of trust.
  • Stand up straight. Yes, your mother was right; good posture is important.  Relax your shoulders and face the person you are speaking with.  This shows confidence.
  • Shake hands firmly. No wishy-washy hand grasp here.  A firm handshake is a sign of confidence and control.  Also, be sure to maintain eye contact throughout the handshake.
  • Keep your arms relaxed and at your side.  If you normally gesture while speaking, try to keep your gestures small and your arms close to your body.  Be sure not to cross your arms as this signals “stay back” to whomever you are speaking with.

Controlling your body language can give you a big boost in business.  At the very least it will keep you and your employees from making huge mistakes by conveying an unintentional message to your customers and clients.

Use your body to support what you are saying and build trust with your clients – now that’s the sign of success!

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