How to lose a prospect with bad body language

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Can a salesperson lose a good prospect without saying a single negative word? Absolutely.

So here are seven ways you will likely see them head for the door every time, based on observations by business columnist Mike Michalowicz, author of “The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.”

It’s all in the body language, which includes everything from your posture to the way you move your eyes. Check out these non-verbal deal killers:

Killer No. 1: When the prospect is talking, look at your smart phone or PDA. That should send a clear signal to him that you’re not interested in what he’s saying or you have a priority and it’s not him. Further, Michalowicz notes that even if you’re using your PDA to take notes, the prospect will probably assume you’re really texting and he’ll be gone.

Killer No. 2: Arms can be a real turnoff. Crossed arms make it appear you’re closed off and/or disregarding the importance of what the prospect is saying. Open arms at your side or on your lap appear inviting so keep ’em crossed and the prospect will likely leave.

Killer No. 3: Make a point to look at the clock on the wall or check your watch. That will surely indicate to the prospect that you have something more important than anything they’re saying. This couples extremely well with the next deal killer.

Killer No. 4: Roll your eyes. Yes, regardless of how sincere what you are saying might be, if you just roll your eyes while you’re talking it’s sure to diminish your authority and convince the prospect it’s time to exit.

Killer No. 5: Rubbing your hands together reveals nervousness and/or discomfort. Or, even better, it could indicate to a prospect you think the deal is sealed and that would signal arrogance. No one likes to do business with an arrogant salesperson, so watch the prospect walk away.

Killer No. 6: Michalowicz correctly observes there is cool and stylish, or just plain sloppy. Going for the latter will come across as unprofessional and careless, and likely lead the prospect to conclude that’s the way you also do business. He won’t hang around.

Killer No. 7: Making good eye contact with the prospect makes them think they can trust you and you’re not holding anything back, so avoid averting your eyes at all costs. Looking everywhere but in the prospects eyes is an easy, painless (for you) way to end any dialogue fast.

As Michalowicz actually points out, in selling there is a very limited time to establish a rapport with a prospect. These days, no salesperson can afford to lose a deal or customer because he or she is not on their body-language game. Take time to check yours.


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