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Increase Sales Without Saying A Word: 5 Easy Steps To Being Better At Your Job

What if I told you that you could sell more products, get better prices, and have greater customer satisfaction without changing a word? Would you have more confidence in your job? Yourself? Imagine the possibilities, and studies show that this is actually possible. It’s all about your nonverbal communication. Studies show that roughly 93% of human communication is nonverbal (such as body language, gestures, voice, touch, etc.). This article will touch on 5 of those nonverbal behaviors that you can change to make yourself, your product, or your business more attractive to customers.

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1. Voice

Have you ever heard the phrase, “it’s not about what you say, it’s how you say it”? Turns out there could be more truth there than we realized. For starters, enthusiasm is everything. Have you ever been to a presentation where the speaker is just monotone the whole time? BORING. It’s hard to pay attention to someone who isn’t excited about what they’re talking about. So no matter what you have to say to a customer, whether it’s welcoming them to the store, talking about a product, or offering a service, being genuinely enthusiastic will be more appealing!

Also, focus on the projection, inflection, and volume of your voice. This is key to avoiding sounding monotone and boring. Take a deep breath and exhale from the bottom of your diaphragm. This opens up your lungs and makes your voice slightly deeper and fuller. Get in the habit of taking full breaths while speaking! Not only does this prevent your voice from sounding small, but also can allow you to better vary your voice pitch and volume. This allows you to emphasize important words for your customer to pick up on. However, it is important to avoid “uptalk” and “vocal fry”. Uptalk is when your voice goes up at the end of a statement, as if you’re asking a question? Many people have this problem, and once you notice it, it’s hard to stop? It makes you sound less confident and assertive, so be aware of this issue. Vocal fry is when the voice is incraspy or scratchy, and sounds uncomfortable or painful. It makes you sound less warm and welcoming, and may give a bad impression to the customer.

2. Smell

Emily Hamby

Good or bad, smells are persuasive. They subconsciously make us feel positive or negative about a person, place, or product. When the power of smell is used correctly, it can make a very big difference to how customers approach your store. Researcher Anick Bosmans noted that powerful smells “elicit emotional responses that can influence product and store evaluations” (Bosmans). If the person has a strong negative emotion tied to a particular smell, that emotion is reflected onto the person or place that shares the same smell. However, if the person has a strong positive emotion for a certain smell, the same is true: they will think positively about the person, place, or product simply because it smells good.

What this means for you, as the employee, is this: pay attention to the smells around you. If you are able, add air diffusers or candles or a plug-in scent to make your area smell more attractive. Wear body spray or perfume, and be aware of thing that could make your place smell bad, such as bad ventilation. It also might help to get a third party’s perspective on the smell of your store, because you might have gone “nose blind” to a bad scent and are unaware of it.

3. Eye Contact

Making eye contact communicates sincerity, loyalty, and warmness. In American culture, it shows respect for the customer and confidence in yourself. Always make direct eye contact with the customer, but never stare. Staring is aggressive, confrontational, and just plain weird. A good habit to get into is by looking at the customer, down at the product, and then back at the customer. This keeps the customer engaged in the conversation, bringing their attention to you and the product, and prevents staring or wandering gaze, which indicates disinterest.

While making eye contact, continue to nod your head while you listen. This shows interest in what the customer has to say and is also an indicator of, “Yes, I am understanding what you are saying” and “please continue”. By simply showing interest in the customer, you can increase customer satisfaction and positive feedback to you as an employee and your store in general, which will lead to returning (and new) customers.

4. Touch

Victoria Richards

Studies show that touch is a simple way to increase persuasion and trust, when done correctly and in the right setting. Touch is persuasive; a way that humans connect with one another. For example, when handing change back to the customer after payment, slightly pressing into the open palm of their hand is a signal of trust. It communicates a feeling of humanity between the customer and employee instead of a cold, mechanical robot. Lightly touching the customer on the shoulder in a caring, natural way can also increase tip amounts by allowing the server to appear more familiar to the customer.

In addition, free your hands to touch the product. By doing this, it both relaxes you, because it gives you something to do with your hands, and allows the customer to really understand the product. Imagine if you were trying to sell a suede couch, but never stroked it or offered for the customer to sit and feel it. It’d be hard to get them to understand just how comfortable it is! So by freeing your hands to touch the product that is being sold, you increase your own persuasiveness.

5. Posture

Emily Hamby

Of all the topics covered so far, posture is possibly the most important, because it’s a nonverbal signal that can be seen from far away. It can attract customers to your store or turn them away. You want to avoid a closed posture and open yourself up as much as possible. Not only does this increase confidence in yourself, it also makes you look more approachable and trustworthy to a client. Someone who crosses their arms or legs or turns away slightly from a customer looks unconfident, uncomfortable, and distrustful. This is an easy problem to fix! An open posture is directly facing the person with whom you’re communicating and making eye contact with them. Maintain an appropriate distance from the person, which is usually about an arm’s length away. Any closer feels invasive, and any further feels distant.

Another important aspect of posture is standing straight and still. Those who are unconfident have a tendency to sway back and forth, lean slightly on one leg, or continuously shake their legs out. This is an indicator of nervousness and can influence the customer to feeling nervous, which is the last thing you want! Plant your feet firmly on the ground, facing the customer. This is an open gesture that communicates “I am focused on you right now. You are my priority”. And when the customer feels they are being focused on, they trust you more, and you are able to communicate more directly and easier with them.

6. Conclusion and References

So as you can see, there is so much more to customer service than simply the words that you say to them! With these 5 pointers, you will be able to see an immediate difference in the way customers, coworkers, and your boss treat you. They will see confidence, trust, and enthusiasm like never before. It takes some practice, but given time, anyone can master the tactics of nonverbal persuasion!

References:

Alge, B., Gresham, M., Heneman, R., Fox, J., & McMasters, R. (2002). Measuring Customer Service Orientation Using a Measure of Interpersonal Skills: A Preliminary Test in a Public Service Organization. Journal of Business and Psychology, 16(3), 467-476. Retrieved from http://0-www.jstor.org.library.uark.edu/stable/25092784

Bosmans, A. (2006). Scents and Sensibility: When Do (In)Congruent Ambient Scents Influence Product Evaluations? Journal of Marketing, 70(3), 32-43. Retrieved from http://0-www.jstor.org.library.uark.edu/stable/30162099

Drago, C. (2007, June 5). Nonverbal Communication and Restaurant Personnel. Nonverbal Communication and Restaurant Personnel. Retrieved May 2, 2017, from http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/5885/Thesis_Drago_Carleen.pdf?sequence=1

Ellen, P., & Bone, P. (1998). Does It Matter If It Smells? Olfactory Stimuli as Advertising Executional Cues. Journal of Advertising, 27(4), 29-39. Retrieved from http://0-www.jstor.org.library.uark.edu/stable/4189089

Hankins, G. (2005, January 01). Power of pitch: transform yourself into a more persuasive presenter and win more business. Retrieved from https://0-ebookcentral-proquest-com.library.uark.edu/lib/uark/reader.action?docID=3016092

Queensland Government. (2016, June 24). Non-verbal communication skills for selling. Retrieved May 2, 2017, from https://www.business.qld.gov.au/running-business/marketing-sales/sales/skills/non-verbal

Rutsohn, P. (Director), & Rutsohn, P. (Producer). (2004). Nonverbal Communication in a Global Marketplace [Video file]. D.E. Visuals. Retrieved May 3, 2017, from Academic Video Online: Premium.

Tracey, M. D. (2014, October). 5 Ways to improve your vocal impact. Retrieved from http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2014/10/5-ways-improve-your-vocal-impact

Images:

Hamby, Emily. (Photographer). 4 May 2017. Examples of Posture and Smell. [digital image]

Richards, Victoria. (Photographer). 5 May 2017. Examples of Touch Communication. [digital image]

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