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All the Right Moves

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All the Right Moves: Body Language Can Boost Sales


Emerson said, “What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say.” The poet knew what psychologists have been telling us for years: it’s not what you say, but
how you say it, that matters.

Is your body language generating sales, or sabotaging them? Regardless of how well you verbalize your presentation, you’re also being judged on non-verbal cues — especially in the business world.


Reverse Mortgage Sales

An astonishing 93% of communication is non-verbal: your gestures, facial expressions and emotional tone let your prospect know whether you’re in agreement or antipathy. In less time than it takes to say hello, he or she has already formed a first impression that can ultimately scotch or seal the deal. And when it comes to working with seniors, who’ve had a lifetime of experience buying and being “sold to,” it behooves reverse mortgage professionals to tread wisely from the start.

One complex element of non-verbal signals is the human hand. An open palm communicates trust to animals, and the same holds true for people. Approach your prospect with an open hand, relaxed expression, and an erect posture, and you’ve already set the tone for a positive outcome.

Your handshake also sends a crucial non-verbal statement. We’ve all shaken hands with the “clammy fish” or the “crusher”. Neither makes a good first impression. Practice your handshake until you arrive at a firm grasp that is authoritative yet not authoritarian. The key, as in all approaches, is nuance.

But a friendly handshake is just the beginning. During your meeting, be conscious of how you’re using your hands. Touching the fingertips of each hand lightly together conveys confidence, as does standing with your hands on your waist. However, tilting your chair back, with your hands behind your head, tips the balance towards haughtiness.

The challenge in interpreting body language for reverse mortgage success is looking at the overall picture, not individual cues. Just as physicians look for symptoms in order to diagnose disease, your task is to identify and interpret the pattern of signals your senior prospect displays in response to what you’re discussing. Non-verbal behavior and spoken language should be congruent, and fit within the context of your meeting.

While you’re monitoring your own non-verbal behavior, be sure to keep an eye on your prospect’s body signals. Are his legs uncrossed and hands open? He’s receptive. If he starts mimicking your movements, prepare for success: he’s sold on the idea of a reverse mortgage.

Finally, remember that whatever the outcome of a particular HECM discussion, you’re involved in a process, not an event. If you’ve had four conversations with a particular prospect, the next meeting might well be the one in which she becomes a client.

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