Boost Your Business: Better body language, more clients

Just for a brief moment, imagine that you’re meeting with a financial advisor to discuss your investment strategy. As you look across the desk at him, you notice that he’s sweating, twisting his wedding ring, and refusing to make eye contact. As he delivers advice and proposes that you put large chunks of money into certain funds, he stammers and trembles. Now, ask yourself this question: How confident are you in giving that person the power to control your financial future? Not at all confident, right?

As a business person, and specifically in sales, your posture and body language can have a similar impact on how your customers and prospects view you, your company, and the products or services you sell. As hard as it may be to believe, the better it is, the better your chances are of gaining the confidence and trust of the people you sell to! The worse it is, the worse your chances are of getting them to listen to what you have to say.

In a recent Ted Talk, “Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are,” Harvard social psychologist Amy Cuddy went so far as to suggest that body language (or, as Cuddy calls it, non-verbal communication) can change other people’s perceptions of us, as well as our own body chemistry. So, even though you might not feel confident when you meet with a prospect, you can actually convey confidence through your body language, posture, and movement. And that can have an enormous impact on your ability to close more sales. As I have said many times in many presentations, “put a smile on no matter how bad your day is.”

I’m not saying that you should all of a sudden start acting like an over-confident meathead in sales meetings – shouting, cracking crude jokes, or awkwardly attempting to dominate the conversation will get you nowhere. Rather, I’m suggesting that you consider making some relatively small tweaks. As the Wall Street Journal’s Sue Shellenberger points out, embracing the concept of striking “power poses” to raise your confidence before you enter meetings or pick up the phone can drastically improve performance. Sounds silly, but it works.

What exactly does a power pose look like? According to Shellenberger, it can be as simple as standing in front of a mirror, leaning forward a little bit and placing your hands on a table in front of you. Or, it could be sitting back in your chair and kicking your feet up onto your desk. Both body positions instill power and confidence, and Shellenberger’s article suggests that they raise testosterone levels and lower the presence of cortisol – a hormone that has been tied to stress and anxiety. I even suggest that you stand in front of a mirror, feet slightly apart, hands on hips, in what I call a “Superman pose.” And with Wonder Woman being so strong a female character in today’s entertainment world, women can feel more confident just spinning around by virtue of Lynda Carter in the ‘70s TV show. (Laugh if you want, I have done it.)

Sales is really about the confidence you’re able to convey to your prospects (in addition to solid solutions, of course). If prospects trust what you’re saying, they’ll be more likely to buy-in to your recommendations. If they don’t trust you, even the best recommendations will fall on deaf ears. Obviously, besides passion and confidence, you must truly be trustworthy and offer factual information.

But remember, how you stand, smile, pose, shake hands, and speak can change the energy in a face-to-face meeting with a customer, while the tone, power, and confidence of your voice can greatly influence the flow of a phone conversation. So, smile as you talk. Stop slouching. Breathe from your diaphragm. Strike a power pose when you stand up from your desk. All of those things will raise your energy level and confidence. And that will undoubtedly translate to winning more sales! - - and I suggest you not pose or spin in front of the client.

* Maria L. Novak Dugan is president of Marketing Solutions & Business Development, a firm in West Chester, PA, offering creative marketing services and goal implementation for small businesses. For more information, contact Maria at 610-405-0633 or Maria@Maria-L-Novak.com or visit www.Maria-L-Novak.com

** The opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the ownership or management of Chadds Ford Live. We welcome opposing viewpoints. Readers may comment in the comments section or they may submit a Letter to the Editor to editor@chaddsfordlive.com

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About Maria Novak Dugan

Maria L. Novak Dugan is president of Marketing Solutions & Business Development, a firm in West Chester, PA, offering creative marketing services and goal implementation for small & medium sized businesses. For more information, contact Maria at 610-405-0633 or MariaNovak001@yahoo.com or visit www.Maria-L-Novak.com She has more than 20 years experience in the Marketing & Sales Industry...13 of those as the sole Sales Representative for a Pennsylvania payroll company growing their client base by over 500 percent. Maria Novak Dugan is a member of the Southern Chester County Chamber of Commerce, Latino Luncheon Group of West Chester, Neighbors in Business of the Glen Mills Area, News4Women, and The Associated Press. She is also the former Managing Director of the Delaware Chapter of eWomenNetwork. Creating, developing, and conducting this division of a national organization strengthened her knowledge of networking, event planning, fundraising, and small-business development.

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