When you're selling face to face, your non-verbal messages are usually at least as important as your verbals. If your body language, expressions, eye-contact, even voice tone don't synch with your words, then your prospects will tend to discount the words.
That is, if you talk-talk about what a great project you're selling, but your eye contact is minimal, if you look away, if you draw back --- all those factors (markers of low enthusiasm and low trustworthiness) are sending the opposite message.
I had lunch the other day with William Shatner (well, not really Star Trek's Captain Kirk, just an incredible look-alike, Mike Broderick, the image of a younger, sleeker Shatner, but with that same infectious exuberance).
Mike, a former IBM financial type, took a buy-out and executed a career-change into the field of money-management, an aspect of which of course involves sales.
He wasn't there selling me anything, he was just running one of his presentations past me for my "expert" input, but, watching his moves, I was impressed.
- Eye-contact: steady, relatively unblinking. Not so intense as to be off-putting, but steady, reassuring, confident.
- Posture: leaning forward toward me,not slouching back in the chair (as I and most of the others in the restaurant were).
- Expression: alert, focus on me, not the rest of the folks in the place)
- Energy-level: enthusiastic, moving in the chair with excitement as we went over the benefits of his program.
- Overall impression: confident, enthusiastic about what he is selling, glad to be doing that, conveying trustworthiness.
P.S. A long time ago, when I was first in the business of tapping the selling skills expertise of top sales people, I interviewed Bob Tuomey at Xerox, Rochester. He took me through the whole body-language scenario: don't slouch, sit upright, but as call progresses, move forward more in your chair until you are (as the saying puts it) "on the edge of your seat with enthusiasm."
P.P.S. Forgot where I first learned this: when the Prospect begins leaning forward, holding eye contact, energy in the eyes, that tells you you've captured that Prospect's interest. Maybe now is the time to experiment with a trial close.
The content in this post has been adapted from my books, How to Sell Face to Face: Survival Guide, and Selling 101. They are available in various e-book and paper editions; see below:
Survival Guide: Order paperback edition via Amazon
Survival Guide: Order e-book as Amazon Kindle (Amazon offers free apps that enable you to read it on your PC, Apple I-pad, I-pod, Blackberry, and others)
Survival Guide: Order e-book via Kobo, usable on various kinds of e-readers
Selling 101 (third edition): Order e-book as Amazon Kindle (Amazon offers free apps that enable you to read it on your PC, Apple I-pad, I-pod, Blackberry, and others)