Body language expert has advice for closing a sale.

Body language expert Susan Constantine talks about how to close a sale to members of the Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association. (Photo by Nick Flamand).

ORLANDO – When it comes to making sales, Susan Constantine said, the message or sales pitch that you give to the client may not actually be all that important. In fact, it may be the least important part of your entire presentation.
“I do jury selection,” Constantine said. “And likability is a really big factor. Look at our presidential election. It was always about who was going to like one of them the best.”
Likeability applies to sales as well, Constantine said – far more so than the actual sales pitch being made verbally, even if it’s made to sound like the greatest, most cost-effective deal imaginable.
Because words, she added, actually mean a lot less in sales than two other key factors.
“Fifty-five percent comes from our body language,” she said. “And 38 percent comes from our voice. Only 7 percent comes from our words. Can we really trust the words that are spoken? Sometimes our body language communicates a whole different story.”
Constantine, who lives in Orlando, is a leading body language expert, jury consultant, mediator for the Florida Supreme Court, and president of Silent Messages. She was a consultant on the high profile Casey Anthony murder trail in downtown Orlando in 2011.
Constantine also has taught sales executives, managers, sales professionals and CEO’s how to overcome adversity by developing communication skills in the workplace.
On Thursday, she was also a guest speaker at the annual Trade Show sponsored by the Central Florida Vacation Rental Managers Association, which represents property managers who operate fully furnished vacation homes rented to tourists on a short-term basis. The day-long trade show was held at SeaWorld’s Ports of Call convention center.
The lessons of how body language helps close a sales deal can apply to the hospitality industry as well, she said.
“Do you agree that communications is important, especially when it comes to sales?” Constantine asked. People can in some ways communicate more effectively through their body language than their words, she added. And the reason why, she said, is that initial impressions go a very long way toward sealing the deal.
“We tend to be liked by others instantaneously – or disliked,” she said. “People make snap judgments about you. There’s four keys to building a rapport. The first is mirroring.”
That’s when a sales rep tends to mirror the body language of the client, in subtle but comforting ways.
“Rapport building is you as the sales person, and your customer sets the pace,” she said.
Another key factor, Constantine added, is “Open body language, when you’re talking with your arms up. When you’re speaking with your customers, you want to keep your palms open. Always have your hands out front – don’t keep them under the table.
Another key factor in likability, she said, is facial expressions.
“What we want to do is always extend a warm smile,” she said. “The better eye contact you make, sales go up. The less eye contact you make, sales go down. What is body language? Body language is no more than our thoughts.”
Finally, keep in mind that this can extend both ways, Constantine added. A good and effective sales representatives, she added, will be able to know how to read the client’s body language, too.
“Imagine if you meet a client for the very first time, and if you could be able to read your clients before it’s verbal,” she asked. “Would that help you?”
For example, something as simple – and subtle – as briefly touching their wedding ring says a lot about their thought process, she added.
“You ever see them twirling their ring fingers?” she asked. “That’s when they’re saying ‘I have to check with my wife first before making this big decision.’ ”

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