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I have been rereading The Tipping Point, a very interesting book that discusses why something goes viral (which has nothing to do with this post.)
In it Malcolm Gladwell references some case studies on the power of nonverbal cues. He mentions a study, which you can read about here, in which they tested students with headphones. In a nutshell they told the students they were testing to see how well the headphones fit. They were divided in two and one group listened to a message while shaking their heads. The other group was told to nod as they listened to the message.
The group that was nodding their heads had a positive opinion of the message and the ones shaking had a negative. The study found that the nodding or shaking didn't impact their opinion but reinforced it. Richard Petty (no, not that one), co-author of the study said,
"If we are nodding our heads up and down, we gain confidence in what we are thinking. But when we shake our heads from side to side. we lose confidence in our own thoughts."
Nonverbal communication is huge. We all know the best time to sell a car is right after we sold one because the confidence is high and our body language and posture reflect that confidence.
As salespeople it's important to get our minds right.
There is also a huge importance is getting positive commitments from customers. I don't want to know what they don't like, I want to know what they do like and I need them to share why with me. This study shows that, "This is a great color, isn't it?" is more than a simple trial close question.
Am I going to sell a Focus to a customer looking for a F150 by simply nodding my head while asking questions? Of course not. But I'm also not going to sell an F150 to a customer looking for an F150 by demonstrating negative body language.
Speaking of questions, here's one: Most dealerships spend time on word tracks or scripts to make sure their salespeople are ready to handle customers. Time is spent teaching product knowledge. How do we teach body language?