The Absolute Worst Thing You Could Do During a Sales Meeting Blog Feature
Molly D Protosow

By: Molly D Protosow on July 13th, 2016

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The Absolute Worst Thing You Could Do During a Sales Meeting

Sales Tips | Sales Training | Sales Meetings

Selling is all about communication -- whether it’s talking on the phone with a prospect or client, writing an email to your coworker, creating a sales presentation, or conducting an important meeting with your boss.

Plain and simple, if you’re a salesperson then you’re doing a lot of communicating in a variety of ways using different platforms and devices.

We’ve all come to know and love these forms of technology for the convenience and efficiency when connecting with others, however, what isn’t so apparent is how this device dependency could be sabotaging your sales results. Remember, salespeople do not merely present a message - they are the message.

Bored mistake

The absolute worst thing you could do during a sales meeting is to appear distracted, uninterested, or disengaged.

Why? Well, that should be obvious. If you’re not paying attention, then why should your prospect or client be interested in the conversation? Going through the motions of a meeting without concentrating or being in the moment results in missing a huge opportunity to pick up on subtle cues or buying signals. When it comes to selling, often what’s more important during a meeting is hearing what isn’t said.

The ability to read the emotions and nonverbal cues of another person increases understanding and elevates relationships. As a sales professional, this is especially important because your job is all about communicating, listening, and leveraging information.

Here are four nonverbal cues to pay attention to during your next meeting:

  1. Facial Expressions
  2. Tone of Voice
  3. Hand Gestures
  4. Body Movements

Facial Expressions

Often, people are unaware of how their facial expressions provide a window to their thoughts. For instance, if the reaction from a comment you’ve just made is a smile and a nod, then there is a good chance the other person is in agreement.

On the other hand, if you’re greeted with a solemn or disdainful look then there is a high chance that something you said isn’t consistent with their goals or ideas.

In addition, facial expressions help gauge interest and curiosity. If someone makes eye contact and raises their eyebrows, this may be a cue for you to continuing telling them more about that particular topic.

Tone of Voice

Considering what you say is important, but how you say it is equally important. Similar to reading facial expressions, listening to tone of voice will provide essential insights into how the person really feels about the topic at hand.

If you or the person you’re speaking to is monotone and speaking with a flat voice, then this communicates possible boredom. Also, speaking softly or slowly can come off as being uncertain, but speaking in a loud, fast-paced manner could negatively influence communication because you might be coming off as impatient or unwilling to listen to the input of others. When you’re in a meeting, you want to present a balanced tone of voice that comes across as professional and confident in what you're saying, as well as, the solution you’re presenting.

Hand Gestures

Hand gestures are a funny thing. You can either do too much or too little. Finding the right balance is the tricky part.

When you’re in a sales meeting, hand gestures should be used purposefully and with confidence. They are meant to emphasize verbal points and highlight key words or ideas. If your gestures and movements contradict your words or are inconsistent with your message, listeners will doubt the sincerity of your words and your pitch.

For instance, checking your phone, tapping your nails on the desk, or cracking your knuckles can be annoying and distracting to listeners. These fidgeting movements are signals to your audience that you are nervous, lacking polish, or outright unprofessional.

Being aware of these seemingly small signals from both a presenter and listener point-of-view aids in your ability to read body language and respond accordingly.

Body Movements

Imagine this: you just walked into a sales meeting and the potential client you’re meeting with greets you by saying hello, standing up from their chair, smiling, and then reaching out to shake your hand. What impression do you get?

Now picture the same scenario only like this: the potential client you’re meeting with greets you with a glance and a nod, crosses their arms, leans back and away, and just stays in their chair. Did you get a different impression from the first scenario?  

Most salespeople would prefer to meet with the person in the first scenario. They don’t call it the “cold shoulder” for nothing.

Take notice of your own body movements as well as those around you. Movements like standing or sitting up straight, hunching your shoulders, moving your legs, positioning your torso, and observing how leaning in or leaning out is reinforcing an interest or lack thereof.

All salespeople understand the value of good communication skills, but the most successful realize there are two conversations going on, and they stay equally alert to what isn’t being said.  The more you understand these types of interactions, the better you will be able to demonstrate confidence, enthusiasm, and professionalism.

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About Molly D Protosow

Molly Protosow is the COO and Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.

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