I am not a poker player but occasionally, I find myself drawn to ESPN’s World Series of Poker. I’m fascinated by the player’s body language, even when they wear a hat and sunglasses. Body language never stops.
I was surprised to find that Amazon offers 5,682 books about poker, 15,450 books about sales techniques and a mere 383 titles on leasing.
What can we learn from the game of poker that might improve sales techniques?
When presenting a proposal, watch your buyer’s body language as closely as professional poker players do. What can you find out about your prospect and their likelihood of buying your product or service?
EIGHT MUST WATCH CLUES
- Posture: Do they lean towards you or away from you? Leaning closer is usually a good sign. That is unless your customer is hearing challenged. They may be leaning forwards to read your lips. Leaning away can indicate they are distracted or don’t like what you’re saying.
- Hands: If hands are in their lap, it may be defensive. Are they trying to hide feelings of nervousness or dislike?
- Arm Blocking: Are their arms folded across their body? This can signal that your client is closed to your message. Unless they’re a woman and then more than likely, they are cold.
- Eyes: You’ve probably heard that eyes are the mirror to the soul? That may be true unless your customer is taking a medication that dilates their eyes or they are a trained liar. There are those individuals who can look you straight in the face while lying.
- Head: Nodding is a good sign. Unless the prospect is just a nice person who wants to encourage you to keep improving your sales skills. They may have little interest in your message but don’t want to hurt your feelings.
- Head Tilt. Usually means they are comfortable with you, unless you observe a downturned mouth. Then they are more likely confused or disappointed.
- Voice: If your prospect is a woman and her voice raises an octave or gets lower and her pace slows. She may be excited with your presentation. Or it could mean she is angry and losing her patience. Read the whole body not just the voice to be sure.
- Feet: Feet speak volumes. Check feet closely to determine if they’re ready to buy or walk out the door. Drop your pen on the floor and bend over to pick it up. See if their feet are facing you or the exit. If they are facing you, you have their attention. Feet facing the exit means you better finish up or retrace your steps. The prospect wants you to leave.
Body language is not easy to interpret. It takes study and practice. Once mastered, you will be adept at modifying your own body language as well as accurately interpreting your customer’s hidden signals in order to close more sales.
The curse for many business professionals is a dependence upon email instead of talking to customers by phone or face-to-face. I recently experienced a volley of frustrating emails with a dealer’s service manager. He prefers email to talking.
Email use is encouraged as a time saver.
People believe Two Email Myths.
- Email Saves Time.
- Email allows communication with many people quickly and efficiently.
Here’s a sample of an email exchange that probably sounds familiar. Change the subject matter and it fits for every business owner and sales person.
The Email Eternity Circle:
Dealer: “You must sign by Friday for the discount.”
Customer: “Cash flow is tight.”
Dealer: “How about leasing?”
Customer: “You offer leasing?”
Dealer: “Are you interested in a lease?”
Dealer: “What kind of lease do you want?”
Customer: “What kind of lease do you have?”
Dealer: “That depends.”
Customer: “On what?”
Did either party think about picking up the phone and breaking the mindless exchange?
Myth #1 Email Saves Time——You can break The Email Eternity Circle.
- Don’t use email if the subject matter is complex. Call the customer.
- Never try to close a sale with email.
- Emails are to be short and succinct, not 3-page Epistles.
- If the customer is upset, do not choose email to convey negative information.
- If the message is long, include a well-crafted attachment.
- Some spam filters block emails with attachments. Make sure your email is received and opened.
- Email can’t convey passion, concern, caring or warmth. Email is flat and one-dimensional.
Myth #2 Communicate with many quickly.
- Who do you really need to copy in your email?
- If you copy “everyone” more people know if you screw up.
- Does everyone want more email? Employ the “need to know basis” guideline.
- People seldom read email message completely.No examples needed. You know I’m right.
- Some emails seem to be an attempt to share blame or pass the buck? Consider motivation and potential outcomes.
- Emails, once sent, cannot be deleted. They could end up in court as evidence. Before hitting send, think–Is this what you want to appear in a court transcript?
- Watch out for selecting “Reply All.” There are times when some people should be excluded from an email chain for a variety of reasons. One of those mistakes ended a friend’s career at a great company. In making a snide comment via email regarding a recent promotion, the individual chose reply all and copied the entire company email distribution list.
Restraint of pen and tongue is a virtue that should be employed daily in business. It saves money, pain and relationships.
A printing company owner I’ll refer to as Samuel, called me for help solve his problems with 2 digital presses. In his words “the stuff is always broken.”
This saga is still unfolding. Our lesson today, is what is about the definition of Equipment Uptime? I thought it meant how many hours a day equipment is running great. The Equipment Service Performance History Report touted a 95.5% uptime. WOW you think. What’s the problem?
Until I learned that this report measures the time between when a service call is placed and the arrival of the service technician. The digital press could have been out-of-service for hours or days. But Bill, the tech arrived on the scene in 45-minutes.
Samuel only cares about how quickly his equipment will be running, not jamming and producing high quality work. He is not excited that Bill set a land speed record to reach his plant.
Today Samuel and I had a conference call with the Regional Service Director (Greg), the Print Production Specialist and the sales rep for Samuel’s account. They all work for a large national distributor of printing equipment. Bill, the service tech couldn’t be on the call. He was busy fixing one of Samuel’s copier.
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
- Samuel will receive a weekly in-depth service reports on the service problems of the prior week and what corrective action was taken.
- The Regional Service Manager will meet with Samuel every week for the next month to review the service problems of the prior week.
- Samuel’s key equipment operator will maintain a log of every service call, the problem experienced and the resolution of the problem.
- Samuel and Greg will compare the Distributors service records with his own for discrepancies.
DOES THIS SITUATION SOUND FAMILIAR? If yes, stay tuned. I will keep following up on this. I am quite impressed with the commitment the equipment distributor has shown to date help their customer fix all the problems. Let’s see how this evolves.