Body language may be categorized into two types: positive signals and negative signals. Positive body language includes smiling, nodding and making good eye contact. Negative body language includes yawning, frowning, making no eye contact and displaying a lack of attention. Facial expressions (apart from gestures and body movements) are the keys to finding out what customers may be thinking. Knowledge of nonverbal cues can help you better treat your customers. Keep your own body language in check and help your customers trust you.
Look at a customer’s body language. A customer touching her hair or yawning while interacting with you, for instance, can indicate boredom. By understanding the customer's feelings through her body language, you can increase the intrigue of your product: mention unique details about the product or its usage so that the customer is eager to learn more. Also, include testimonies from other customers. Or, change the manner in which you interact with the customer: use mirroring techniques, for instance.
Approach customers according to what you notice about their body language. Customers who display positive gestures, including making eye contact, smiling, approaching the counter confidently and leaving an open space between themselves and you, likely will show more receptiveness to your offers to be of service.
Study the customer's eyes. If a customer looks away or is unable to hold eye contact, she may have a reason why. The customer could be momentarily distracted; on a deeper level, she may not be able to reveal her honest feelings. If you step too closely into a person’s personal space, her level of eye contact will sharply decrease. However, the more you know a person, the closer you can get without causing discomfort.
Take note: is the mouth in a frown or curved upwards at the edges? A frown indicates negativity, while a slight smile indicates positive inclinations. Are the lips pressed together tightly? Or are they comfortable and relaxed? You can better approach customers if you read facial gestures accurately.
Notice open or closed postures. Closed-off postures are indicated with crossed arms or hunched, rolled-in shoulders. Open postures include leaning forward to show interest and mirroring your body movements, which means the customer is friendly and likes you. If you notice a closed posture, think about how you can make the customer feel comfortable. You can use mirroring on your part to help the customer into his comfort zone. If the customer’s arms are crossed, for example, you too should cross your arms to mimic his stance. You can come across as friendly and helpful by using mirroring techniques.
- eye image by Stanisa Martinovic from Fotolia.com