You’ve heard it countless times before: It’s not just what you say, but how you say it. When you work in sales, how you’re perceived by others can make a big difference in your success. Matt Sunshine, a managing partner for The Center for Sales Strategy and LeadG2, says that if you can master eye contact, facial expressions, torso and arm behavior, and leg activity, you’re on your way to a successful sales appointment.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Sunshine’s tips for using body language to increase sales.

Make eye contact. If you are making minimal eye contact with your prospect or client during your meeting, then they are likely to think that you are distracted or simply uninterested in what they have to say, says Sunshine. Equally, if you don’t make eye contact with them while you are speaking, it can make them feel that you are being dishonest about what you are saying, and they are unlikely to trust you. Make eye contact with your prospects and clients throughout the sales interaction, and make sure your facial expression is calm and relaxed. This not only allows them to feel relaxed and trust you, but by maintaining eye contact, you can watch pupil dilation and tell what the prospect is thinking. Generally, pupils widen when happy or interested and narrow when concerned or upset.

Focus on your facial expressions. When you talk, Sunshine recommends making sure your lips are relaxed (not pursed), and you have a slight smile. That will show you are positive about the information you are giving, and you’re pleased to be able to share your experience and knowledge with the prospect.

Pay attention to your arms and torso. The way you hold your arms and torso can reveal a lot about what you are thinking, according to Sunshine. Crossing your arms is a sign of defensiveness. If you cross your arms naturally, avoid this temptation by placing your hands on your lap while you listen. Your posture reveals a lot, so don’t slouch. Lean forward slightly and focus on active listening. If you have the nervous habit of clicking your pen or tapping your toes, put away the pen and cross your legs at the ankle. Otherwise, your body language tells the prospect that you’re impatient, agitated or bored.

Control your legs. Sunshine says salespeople often don’t think about controlling their legs or feet during a meeting. Do not tap your toes and do not constantly cross and uncross your legs.

Try to match and mirror. The ideal way to portray yourself in a sales interaction is to match and mirror the body language of your prospects and clients, according to Sunshine. By reflecting the same gestures, movements and posture as your client, you encourage them to relax and make them feel as comfortable as possible during your meeting. The idea is to make the other person feel at ease in your presence and show that you are involved, interested and focused on them.

Before your next sales call, take a few minutes to consider your body language. When you give the right signals, you can make a positive impression.

Source: Matt Sunshine is a managing partner for The Center for Sales Strategy and LeadG2, a company that specializes in improving sales performance and lead generation. Previously, Sunshine also worked as the center’s executive vice president and a senior consultant. He has more than 20 years of experience in sales and media relations.