Marketing and sales are not just functions of your business.  They are studies of human behavior.  In order to figure out which sales techniques to use, we have to learn the subtleties of all the signals our prospects are giving us.  Understanding delivery and body language often tells you more about what your prospect is thinking than the words they use.  Today, let’s look at 4 body language signs that your sales prospected is interested.

A lot of people associate sales with the close.  In fact, sales is an entire process.  It starts with all the groundwork we lay with our marketing (read here for more on the difference between marketing and sales).  Then you shift the conversation to your prospect, learning more about what they need and want as an individual.  You begin to find out what objections they have, what goals they have.  The whole time, your sales prospect sends you signals through their body language. If you follow along with the process and truly pick up on the beats of what the prospect is giving you, you can be active in setting yourself up for the close.  Sometimes the prospect will even close for you.

Your #sales prospect sends you signals through their body language. #smallbiz #business Click To Tweet

But to get to a successful close, you have to know whether your prospect is ready for it.  You can make this easier for yourself by knowing the signals they give when they are engaged or disengaged.

Here are 4 things to look for:

  1. Are you or your materials holding their gaze? Eye contact tells you a lot.  In general, people don’t spend a very long time looking at things that they have no interest in.  So, if someone’s gaze keeps coming back to you or the content you just gave them, you likely have their interest.  If their eyes are not drawn to your presentation, brochure, or you, they may already be disengaged from the conversation. If their face is angled away, they are probably not with you anymore!
  2. Are they leaning in? Are they leaning in toward you or leaning away from you?  “Leaning in” is a term we hear a lot nowadays, and from a body language standpoint it is relevant for you in the sales process.  A prospect who leans in is showing you they are engaged.  Someone leaning in is more invested in their relationship to you.  Someone leaning away is distancing themselves from your pitch as much as they are physically distancing themselves from you.
  3. Do they have an open posture? Openness and the direction of their body tells you a great deal.  Open, free use of the arms is showing comfort with you, and crossed arms shows very much the opposite.  Hands-on-hips is a power pose, a pose you yourself can take on, but if your prospect is doing it they might be trying to feel in control of the conversation.  When someone is seated, look at where their feet or legs are pointing.  If their ankles are tightly crossed or they’re legs are point toward the exit, it’s a suggestion that they’re disengaged or holding back.  If their legs are crossed but they are facing you and point toward you, their body language is still showing you attention.
  4. Are they tapping in anticipation? If there is any tapping happening, interpret the vibe of it.  Bouncing feet or tapping a pen can be a really good sign if it is coming from a place of anticipation.  You might consider giving them the contract to use that pen on!  But if it looks like the tapping of their fingers is coupled with other signs of disinterest, this is a signal of boredom and they are NOT ready for the close – or perhaps even for continuing the conversation at all.
A prospect who leans in is showing you they are engaged. #sales #business #smallbusiness #biztips Click To Tweet

There are actually a lot of ways that psychology, human behavior, and layered messaging play into the sales process.  Whatever stage you are in, it is how you read your prospect that will help you determine when you are ready to take the next step.  And this doesn’t even begin to address all the ways you can layer messages into how YOU communicate with THEM!

So the next time you are having a conversation with a prospect or in any negotiation, look for these different body language signals to learn how to spot engagement vs. disengagement.  Knowing the difference will help you figure out when to use all your practiced sales techniques for the best impact!

For more tips on how to pace a sales conversation, read here!