5 Sales Body Language Mistakes that May Cost You the Sale

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We’ll share the secrets to avoiding these 5 sales body language mistakes.

Imagine being a pro baseball player and you are getting ready to go up to the plate to take your turn at bat. Your primary job is to get on base and you have 4 balls and 3 strikes to make this happen.

It has been said that being a professional hitter is one of the toughest things in all of professional sports. The job is already hard enough and very few can excel at the highest level given the constraints of 4 balls and 3 strikes.

Now, imagine how much harder the job of getting on base would be if the batter had 2 strikes against them before they even started their at bat. The odds of getting on base in that scenario are wayyyyyy less.


Sales jobs, and in particular, face to face type sales are similar in that, it is not an easy job to do well. All sorts of skills are needed to be at the professional level. And just like a baseball player you have a limited amount of time and attempts to engage the prospect, get their attention and close the deal.

Don’t have the deck stacked against you any more than it already is when you walk up to the door. Don’t have 2 strikes on your count right from the beginning. Give yourself every advantage you can by mastering the art of sales body language during first impressions.

How important is sales body language during first impressions?

Unbelievably important.

So much so that you have only 7 seconds to make a good first impression that will establish credibility, trust, status and empathy.

During face to face meetings, 93% of people’s judgment of others are based on non-verbal inputs like sales body language. And these stats are based on personal meetings altogether. Throw in the sales aspect of it and you can easily see how important it is.

55% of the effectiveness of your communication comes from sales body language, 38% from the Tone of Your Voice and only 7% from what you actually say.

effectiveness_communicationsThis is pretty powerful information here. And if I am reading it correctly you can have the best sales pitch in the world but if your sales body language is off, and you don’t make a good first impression, you might as well have one foot out the door.

5 Sales Body Language Mistakes that Might Cost You the Sale

Now that you have a more comprehensive understanding of what sales body language can do or not do for you during first impressions let’s review the top 5 sales body language mistakes that might cost you the sale.

1. Avoiding Eye Contact.

If you don’t look somebody in the eyes when you first introduce yourself you are telling the prospect that you are not trustworthy. You are hiding something and they should BEWARE. Now, the point is not to have a staring contest to see who blinks first. But during your introduction, assure that you are looking at them in the eyes 100%. And a good overall rule is you need to maintain eye contact.

2. Folding or Crossing Your Arms.

Remember at your junior high dance when you were sitting in the corner with your arms crossed and nobody asked you to dance the ENTIRE NIGHT?! Yeah, you were giving off the impression that you were disengaged, disinterested and did not want to be anywhere close to where you were. But, when you’re making sales, instead of crossing folding your arms, hold it at your side and use them to talk. Moving your hands while you talk shows enthusiasm.

3. Not Smiling.

Your parents didn’t pay big bucks for your braces for you to keep those pearly whites all to yourself. Show ‘em off! After all, you are having fun right?! By smiling during your introduction and conversation, you are showing warmth, excitement, and the prospect will receive your message more willingly.

4. Slouching.

Do you need a nap? Did your dog just die? Did you not have your veggies for dinner? A sure sign of somebody that is tired and has a poor self-esteem is somebody that slouches all the time. Hold your head up, chest out and keep your legs strong. You are giving off the sign that you are confident, sure of yourself and deserves respect.

5. A Weak Handshake.

Or as my dad used to call it, a Dead Fish. I remember if one of my friends gave him a weak handshake he would squeeze the crap out of their hand and ask them what their problem was.

If you have done everything right up to this point with your sales body language and you throw out a dead fish handshake you are going to get a couple of points shaved off the score sheet. But don’t be that guy or gal that grabs the hand, squeezes it super tight and shakes it like you have a piece of tape stuck to your hand you need to get off.

Keep it medium firm, give it a good couple of shakes while looking them in the eye and call it a day.

But wait there’s more! A BONUS 6th!

Ever been at a party or a business gathering and you are introduced to somebody and they stand a little too close for comfort? Yeah, it may be loud in the room and you can’t hear as well but you still feel uncomfortable because they are standing just too dang close.

We have all been there and been a victim of the “Close Talker.” It is just plain uncomfortable. Don’t put your prospect in an awkward position by crowding them out.

Here’s what research shows are our comfort zones:

  • Intimate space: 1.5 feet and under
  • Personal space: 1.5 – 4 feet
  • Social space: between 4 – 8 feet
  • Public space: over 8 feet

If you are doing face to face sales and you knock on somebody’s door, you will want to be in their social space probably more towards the outer barrier of that which is 8 feet.

What Does All this Mean for Your Sales Body Language?

If you pay close attention you have been taught to avoid these bad sales body language mistakes since you were a child. I am sure you aren’t one of THOSE types that even make these mistakes to begin with.

But now you know and knowing is half the battle! (If you know what that saying comes from then I am giving you a virtual high five right now.)

Follow these simple guidelines to instill CONFIDENCE, TRUST and EMPATHY right from the start with your face to face sales customers and you are sure to reap the rewards.

Do you have an experience when buying something from a sales person and they committed the worst of sales body language errors?  I’d like to hear about it so please share in the comment section below.


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