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More Than Words

Use nonverbal cues to help the sale along.

You're sitting across from a prospect who's leaning back, his arms folded across his chest. "Oh, no," you think. "His arms are folded. He's leaning back. I've lost the sale for sure!" Suddenly, your enthusiasm fades and you become insecure about your next move.

At this point, you really have lost the sale. What you don't know is that the prospect is simply getting comfortable in a brand-new chair and thinking that the air conditioning is too high.

Many people believe that body language reveals other people's inner thoughts. Problem is, it's too easy to misinterpret the signs. I believe people mirror the body language you present to them. If you're enthusiastic, the prospect will be enthusiastic. If you're uncomfortable in a meeting, the prospect will be, too.

When I work with someone, the trust and comfort level I sense from looking into his or her eyes is stronger than any contract (although my attorney would beg to differ).

This story appears in the January 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »