Are you closing enough home improvement leads for your business?
Sometimes, getting that all-important sale can be the best feeling in the world – but getting close to that sale, and then finding out you’ve lost it at the very last hurdle is definitely one of the most frustrating.
As an inbound marketer specialising in helping businesses in the home improvement sector generate more leads, I know you guys are usually pretty good at your game.
However, what if I told you there was a way you could close more home improvement leads, just by changing your body language?
According to various studies, the percentage of information we communicate verbally is somewhere between 65% – 95% – a statistic that shouldn’t be ignored when communicating with potential new customers.
Below, I’m going to explain more about why body language is so important, as well as some great examples you can try when you’re at your next sales appointment or pitch.
Why does body language matter?
Body language plays such an important role when you’re talking to a lead or prospect, as it can make or break your entire delivery – I know that sounds hard to swallow, but let me explain.
Using the correct body language can help allow what you’re saying to really resonate with your captive audience, or it can simply distract them so they don’t properly take in what you’re saying.
For example, if you’re nervous, you’ll probably find you start moving around a lot, swaying back and forth, looking down or away from your prospect, and just generally looking uncomfortable; that’s an example of bad body language.
The aim of effective body language is to strengthen your overall message, not take away from it – so, if you’re closing yourself off, using wild gestures or just looking anxious or nervous, that’s likely all people are going to remember later on.
Some call body language your secret power, or even your superpower – like Superman or Spiderman before you, you just have to learn to harness it effectively to enhance the way you communicate.
Below, we’re going to look at the three main keys to successful body language.
Posture is the key to building trust
When you rock up to your next appointment, and you talk to a homeowner about the services you can offer, just remember that your communication begins before you even open your mouth to speak.
The first thing you need to be thinking about is positioning and posture.
For instance, have you ever been at a quote where’s there’s been a lot of background noise, perhaps kids are playing in the same room, or you’re in front of a window with things going on outside, and you find you’ve only got half of your prospect’s attention? That’s what we want to avoid.
Try to stand somewhere central (preferably with very little going on behind you) ensuring you’re facing your prospect head-on, without turning away or looking towards any distractions yourself.
As for your posture, it can affect the entire way you come across to the person you’re speaking to. Bad posture can at best be distracting, at worst can lose you a sale.
What is bad posture?
Not sure if you’ve been doing it wrong all this time? Here are three examples of bad posture:
- Hands in pockets – This makes you look nonchalant, like you couldn’t care less about being there at all. It’s hard to convey a strong message this way.
- Arms tightly crossed or folded – This can often come across as defensive, which isn’t the impression you want to give when you have nothing to hide.
- Hands on hips – As a contrast, this posture can seem overbearing, and will usually make people want to back away from you
- ‘Figleaf’ position – This is where you stand with your hands clasped together in front of you, usually over your groin area. It can give an overall timid impression, but gesturing from this position can even look slightly rude!
So, now we know what NOT to do, let’s talk about good posture. What we really want to do is make the person we’re talking to feel relaxed and at ease, and the best way to do that is by displaying a natural, relaxed posture ourselves.
The posture where you look comfortable and your most natural is usually called your ‘base posture’, and there’s an easy way to find yours.
Finding your base posture
Simply stand with your feet hip-width apart, close your eyes, and stretch your arms up to the ceiling as high as they can go. Now, let your arms flop down to your sides, and then open your eyes.
The posture you now find yourself is in, is known as your base posture – or in other words, your natural stance. Standing like this may not always FEEL the most comfortable, but it will look the most natural to someone who is just meeting you for the first time.
Your gestures (which I’ll get to in a moment) should always start from your natural stance, and you should always return to this stance once you’re finished gesturing.
Remember, your posture is going to be someone’s very first impression of you, and looking at ease and relaxed will also help them to feel comfortable and open in your presence.
Gestures add weight to your pitch
Do you use your hands when you talk? If you don’t, you could be losing out on sales. However, if like most people, you do like to motion with your hands to demonstrate a point, you still might want to pay attention to this next part to help you better refine your technique.
Gestures help you to emphasise the points you’re making, and also help strengthen communication between yourself and the person you’re talking to. After all, it’s not natural to stand still like a statue during normal conversation, is it?
In fact, using gestures can help the other person take in more of what you’re saying, and make your words more memorable. Not only is it good for their memory later on, it can also help YOU remember what you’re saying and at what point you’re meant to be saying it.
Looking at our natural body movements, hand and arm movement should be the most noticeable movement your prospect can see. Bad use of gesturing can be off-putting, distracting, or just make you look silly.
What are ineffective gestures?
Much like the examples of posturing I gave you above, let’s now take a look at some examples of ineffective gestures:
- Finger wagging – Pointing your finger and wagging (or shaking) it at someone can be a bad habit to break, but it’s worth doing, as pointing in general doesn’t get much of a response.
- Palms or hands pointed downwards > >Only 52% of people react positively to someone gesturing with their palms down, compared to 84% with a visible palms-up, open gesture. Original source
- Elbows tight into your body – Another strange pose people do is hold their elbows tight to their body whilst their arms are gesturing freely. This can look silly, a bit like a T-Rex.
Now that we’ve looked at some ineffective gestures, let’s see what gestures the experts recommend to help you close more sales:
- Visible palms or ‘giving’ gesture – Open palms pointing upwards is a great gesture to use when you’re delivering points or facts to a prospect, as you’re literally ‘giving’ them information.
- The expressive or ‘show’ gesture – This one is a little more open to imagination, and helps you demonstrate your point. For example, if figures are rising, use a sweeping upwards gesture.
- The strength or ‘chop’ gesture – Often used when someone wants to deliver a strong opinion, you can use ‘the chop’ with either one or both hands.
- The ‘lean-in’ gesture – If you’re truly interested in someone, or want to confidentially share a great story, automatically lean in (just keep it subtle, no invading personal space).
- The ‘mirror’ gesture – Mirroring someone’s gestures or stance can also be a subtle way of building a deeper connection, especially if you’re having more of a back-and-forth conversation.
- The ‘foot point’ – Pointing your feet towards someone signifies you’re interested in what they have to say; you’re interested in a person’s problems or challenges
If you’re planning what you’ll say to a prospect while you’re still at the office, or even on the way over in your van, think carefully about how you can use some of the above gestures to build a deeper connection on your next visit.
But there’s also another vital part to play that should never be ignored…
Pay attention to their body language
You guessed it – when you’re talking to a prospect, not only do you have to mind your own body language, you also have to measure how they’re reacting to you.
After all, if you ignore the subtle signals someone is sending out, it can come across like all you care about is the sound of your own voice, causing you to badly misjudge a situation – one of the ways a sale can easily go pear-shaped.
So, when you’re talking, pay attention to the other person.
Look for natural eye contact, and notice how they’re standing or sitting; for example, are they fidgeting and looking antsy, or are they leaning forward whilst looking alert and engaged? Perhaps they’re even so engrossed in what you have to say that they’re taking notes!
Usually, you can adjust your body language accordingly if a person is looking out of their comfort zone, and even ask their permission to continue if you feel the conversation isn’t going in a positive way. The last thing you want to do is make someone uncomfortable in their own home.
One of the worst things you can do if someone is simply looking bored, zoning out or glimpsing in another direction, is to just continue rambling on in the same vein. Instead, try to surprise them by taking them off-guard with a question, or use some humour to get them back into the picture.
You can change your tack, tone of voice or pace completely if you get the impression they’re just not feeling it. But to be honest, as long as your passion shines through, and you’re backing it up with effective gestures, you should be able to keep their attention during a one-on-one conversation.
To sum it all up…
Remember, the next time you’re talking to a prospect – whether you’re trying to sell them a conservatory, hot tub, roofing services or just about anything – remember that it goes a lot deeper than simply knowing your stuff inside and out.
Always apply the following:
- Stand naturally in your base posture
- Make an effective use of gestures
- Carefully judge your audience and react accordingly
It’s so easy to slip back into old habits, and doing all of the above may take a bit of getting used to (for instance, you may want to subconsciously resort back to your old folded arms standby) but trust me, getting your body language spot-on is something that can really pay off with just a little bit of time, work and patience.
I hope you’ve found this post interesting, and perhaps you’ve even been inspired to take a look at your own body language and the way you’d naturally talk to prospects – what could you improve?
Homework: Try practicing different gestures and positions in front of the mirror, and see how much more powerful your delivery could become the next time you’re out at an appointment or giving a quote.
Good luck, and let me know how you get on in the comments!
Got any questions about this topic, or just need some home improvement marketing ideas. Feel free to get in touch with me directly, or alternatively leave a comment below – I promise to reply!