January 24, 2018

The Importance of Body Language in Sales

Sales woman shaking hands
The Importance of Body Language in Sales: 8 Ways to Lose a Sale without Saying a Word

While it’s important to know what you should do in meetings and negotiations, knowing what you shouldn’t do is often just as important – and it begins with bad body language.

The best sales managers know that while you may have a polished sales presentation, tasteful attire, and a product that practically sells itself, you can still miss out on closing a sale if your body language is out of sync with your words. While it’s true that first impressions make a lasting impact, cumulative body language is important. If you are in the habit of demonstrating any of the following body language in sales meetings, it could be enough to hurt your sales performance, turning a potential yes into definite no.

Even with a polished presentation, you can lose sales if your body language is out of sync with your words. Share on X
  1. Crossing your arms. This communicates disinterest and a lack of confidence. Unless it’s done to make an obvious point, crossing your arms only serves to interrupt the flow of a productive dialogue.
  2. A weak handshake. A limp handshake exudes zero enthusiasm and suggests a lack of confidence as well. Whether it’s cold and boney, or warm and fleshy, a weak handshake is just plain creepy and should be avoided.
  3. An overly firm handshake. On the other hand, clamping onto a prospective client’s hand as if yours was granite and theirs was a water balloon is not a wise strategy. Winning the battle of the overly firm handshake will not generate a sale. Rather, it may actually hurt the other person’s hand and leave them with a negative impression of you.
  4. Standing too close or touching too much. Many people are sensitive to others invading their personal space. Be aware that standing too close to someone or touching someone overly much can be seen as invasive. Pay attention to the other person’s body language, too, though; what is invasive to one person might seem merely friendly to another.
  5. Not smiling. Smiling shows warmth and excitement and can serve to compel the prospective client to find you likeable. When you don’t smile, the opposite is true; your facial expressions may seem uninviting or unapproachable.
  6. Avoiding eye contact. When you avoid meeting another person’s eyes, it conveys that you may have something to hide or you can’t be trusted. Your goal is to establish trust and make the sale, so focus on maintaining eye contact when possible to further your cause.
  7. Don’t be a statue. While it’s bad to fidget, slouch, or cross your arms, standing perfectly straight and still can be creepy. It’s best to stand professionally, but naturally, so you look comfortable and the customer feels comfortable too. Try to mirror their posture.
  8. Hiding your hands. In an attempt to look more professional, some people try to contain their hand gestures when talking. However, talking with your hands can actually help make your point and reduce filler words and perceived hesitancy. Also, showing the palms of your hands while speaking indicates openness and honesty.


There is no overstating the importance of presenting good body language in sales or any business interaction – it can make all the difference. Don’t send the wrong message with self-sabotaging nonverbal communication. Be prepared and well-rehearsed when you walk into a meeting. Be conscious, too, about what you do while you are speaking. You are, after all, providing visual accompaniment to your eloquent words. Once you ensure your words and actions match up, you’ll start to notice fewer closing doors and more closing sales.


If you’ve caught yourself demonstrating some of these examples of bad body language in sales meetings, consider the correction of it one of your professional New Year resolutions.


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