body language sales

The Importance of Body Language

As far back as I can remember, I have always had a fascination with body language. It probably started as a young Pharmaceutical representative watching John Cleese’s* training videos.

At the time I probably didn’t fully realise the importance of having an understanding of body language in the sales and negotiation process, but I can honestly say that today it plays an incredibly important role in helping me understand how people are reacting and responding when I present.

What’s important to understand is that we start receiving messages the moment we meet – the first eye contact, the handshake, the tone of our voice, and our gestures all produce a response. It is therefore vital to make sure that it is not our body language that is creating any negative feedback from our customer. Ask a friend to tell you (role play) how your introduction feels and sounds like, are you friendly and non-threatening – does it make them feel comfortable? If not, keep practicing until you’ve nailed it.

I would love a dollar for every time a sales person has said to me “negative from the word go – folded arms – wouldn’t look at me – showed absolutely no interest in what I was saying.” Hello! Have you ever stopped to think that you might have caused these reactions?

Never blame your customer – use the feedback to analyse and improve your own performance – it’s surprising how quickly you can turn a wolf into a friendly little puppy. Remember it’s not what we say that’s important, it’s whether your customer believes it.

If you’re still seeing a lot of negative body language – try Specsavers.

*John Cleese is an English actor, voice actor, screenwriter and comedian. He is best known for the TV series Fawlty Towers and Monty Python. He has also produced many funny and quite brilliant training videos.


Mel Reynolds is an experienced salesman, especially in the medical industry. While based in Melbourne Australia, Mel is a regular at the airport lounges and hospitals around the world working with distributors and sales teams. He currently holds the position of Qlicksmart’s International Business Consultant.

The Importance of Body Language