Body Language Sales Secrets

Body Language Sales Secrets

Maryann Karinch

Maryann Karinch and Jim McCormick are experts in body language and sales, and they are here to explain how to read other people in selling or persuasion situations so you can present your case in a convincing way.

Maryann has been writing about body language for 14 years, building on her background in theater, where it was very important to be able to communicate emotions effectively and use correct body language. Jim’s extensive knowledge of sales comes from his work shaping capital campaigns, sales strategies, and major donor programs for clients from the National World War II Museum to multiple international companies.
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Jim McCormickThe pair combined their areas of expertise in their new book, Body Language Sales Secrets: How to Read Prospects and Decode Subconscious Signals to Get Results and Close the Deal, and they join us today to share tips and tricks you can use to improve your ability to sell. Listen in to learn what you should be doing from a body language perspective to increase your odds of closing the deal.

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On Today’s Episode We’ll Learn:

  • Advice for engaging an audience right away.
  • How to avoid looking nervous, even if you are.
  • Tips for making sure you are positioned well in a meeting.
  • How to use body language to determine decision makers or major influencers.
  • The first thing you should do before selling.
  • When a visual aid is not a good thing.
  • How to de-emotionalize and intellectualize a sales situation.
  • Ways to diminish separation between you and your audience.
  • How to mirror people without looking weird or making it obvious.
  • What to do if someone directly challenges you.

Key Resources for Maryann Karinch and Jim McCormick:

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Full Episode Transcript:

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Welcome to the Brainfluence Podcast with Roger Dooley, author, speaker and educator on neuromarketing and the psychology of persuasion. Every week, we talk with thought leaders that will help you improve your influence with factual evidence and concrete research. Introducing your host, Roger Dooley.

Roger Dooley:    Welcome to the Brainfluence podcast. I’m Roger Dooley. Today we’ve got two guests for the same low price, free, as one. Jim McCormick and Maryann Karinch are experts in at least two areas, sales and body language. Today they’re going to tell you how to read other people in any kind of sales or any other personal persuasion situation and to present your case in a convincing way.

They are the authors of the new book Body Language Sales Secrets: How To Read Prospects and Decode Subconscious Signals to Get Results and Close the Deal. I’m going to let Jim and Maryann introduce themselves today. Maryann?

MARYANN KARINCH:   Well, Roger, I have been writing about body language for 14 years. That experience has built on my theater background. There, it was very important to be able to communicate emotions effectively and use correct body language. I didn’t really understand it until I got together with an interrogator. His name is Greg Hartley. We’ve written a number of books together. Now getting together with Jim I was able to apply my knowledge of body language to sales, which is his area of expertise.

Roger Dooley:    Great. Okay, Jim. What about you? What do you do?

JIM McCORMICK:         Roger, similar to you I’ve made my career in the world of business. An engineering degree and an MBA. I’ve been similar to many of your listeners in a sales role in one form or another pretty much my entire career. When I say that sometimes I’ve had sales in my title but in all cases we all are responsible for selling ideas and selling concepts and selling our initiatives within organizations and outside of organizations. I do organizational consulting, I do executive coaching, and I do CEO presentations.

Roger Dooley:    Great. Well, it’s great to have both of you on the show. Let me first say, I think you’re going to find our listeners very receptive to what you have to say. Just about all of them acknowledge the importance of non-conscious behaviors. I’m sure they’re all familiar with the concept of body language. It’s an idea that people started talking about probably 1970s, at least in that general time period.

Maryann, you’ve written a dozen books. Some of them are about body language. When I search Amazon for body language I get more than 38,000 books. For sales, I get a mind-boggling 1.7 million books. Even for sales and body language I get 343 results. Now that doesn’t mean they’re all exactly on topic. Let me ask you first, what new ground does Body Language Sales Secrets break? What can folks expect to learn here?

MARYANN KARINCH:   Well, we start with a premise that you have to get out of your comfort zone if you’re going to do sales effectively. It’s just a fact. That even if you love it, even if you can’t wait to go to a sales appointment, your energy is jacked up to some extent so there’s stress present. Whenever that occurs that’s not a bad thing but you just have to know how it affects your behavior and your voice and you need to be able to see that in other people as well. We start with going beyond your comfort zone and that’s something that Jim has written of a lot about, about the value of going beyond your comfort zone.

Roger Dooley:    Right. Explain a little bit more detail what you mean by going beyond your comfort zone.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Right. Well, if we’re in a safe space where we’re not taking any chances then we’re sort of emotionally flat. We’re very comfortable and you don’t want to be emotionally flat when you’re trying to engage somebody in a sales situation. You want to be energized, you want to connect, you want to be trustworthy, you want to convey some emotions, some feeling, and as well as your thought.

If you’re going beyond your comfort zone that’s good because that’s where you are then. You have some emotional energy and there’s somebody who is picking up the fact that you care about what you’re saying, that you really care about your product, or your service. Going beyond your comfort zone is a healthy and necessary thing that shows that you have some emotion going.

JIM McCORMICK:         Roger, let me add a few comments on that issue. I’ve written at length on the issue of risk and leaving our comfort zone. The core premise is that we do, for all of us in all aspects of our lives, some of our best performance comes when we’re willing to step out of our comfort zone, even briefly. That’s a challenging proposition because it’s perceived as being threatening.

The core premise of how to do that successfully is to deemotionalize the process and to somewhat intellectualize the process so that we’re better able to perform yet deal with the emotional impacts of being in a setting that we find at least subliminally to be threatening.

Roger Dooley:    Give me a real world example. Either one of you is fine. Maybe somebody that you’ve worked with or when you’ve gone outside a comfort zone.

JIM McCORMICK:         You’re in a sales environment. Let’s say as an example, you need to sell a concept to your board of directors. There’s been some significant political issues within the board and you’re going to wander into that setting knowing that you could easily trip over something and take the discussion off in the wrong direction.

Deemotionalizing that process is about doing all of your research in advance, probably touching bases with every member of the board in advance so that you understand what their sensitivities are and what their agenda is. That’s an area where you’re out of your comfort zone, you’re taking a significant risk because even one failed statement, one ill-considered statement could reflect very poorly on you. The preparation is where the deemotionalizing comes from and the intellectualizing occurs.

Roger Dooley:    Okay. Let me back up just a second. Let me state for our listeners what I think body language is and you can correct me. The underlying theory is that all of us express our perhaps conscious or non-conscious emotions in our posture, gestures, intonation, and other physical manifestations, even our breathing rate and so on.

That a sales person or anybody who wants to understand who they’re dealing with better and perhaps be more persuasive can look for these signals and then adjust what they’re doing to match them or figure out if they need to perhaps back up and start over or do something different.

Then also of course the flip side of that is that we all have our own body language so that having the correct body language ourselves is important in that same situation because even if the other person is not a trained body language expert they are still making assumptions either conscious or non-conscious about you from your own body language. Does that sum it up pretty well?

JIM McCORMICK:         I think that’s an excellent summarization. You’ve captured two important points that we address at length in the book, which is how to read the body language you’re receiving and how to be conscious of the body language that you’re sending and how to influence it if that’s to your advantage.

You’ve mentioned one word that my definition is simpler. I will go back to one of the words you mentioned. When I think of body language I simply think of the non-verbal communication that we put forward. Then with intonation being a verbal component but it’s not exactly reflected in our word choice. It’s all of the non-verbals that arguably, and research shows, are a more significant component than what we’re actually saying when we’re in an in-person communication environment.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Right. You know, Roger, I’d like to build on what you said with some specifics. For example, if you go on to a meeting and you see that somebody has relatively closed body language, that kind of a fake smile, maybe their hands are clenched or their arms are folded in front of them, they might be fidgeting, they might be avoiding your eye contact, all of those are indications of closed body language. That’s not where you want that person to be if you want to make a sale, right?

What you do is you want to try to get them to open up. Your own body language needs to be opened with a genuine smile. You have your arms opened. You have the look of confidence and trust and you’re calm. You’re not fidgeting. You’re showing active listening. You’re nodding your head.

That person, as you see that person relax with you and start to trust you, that person’s body language will open as well and that’s a clear signal that you’re getting somewhere and connecting on both an intellectual and an emotional level.

Roger Dooley:    Okay. Fair enough. Let me pose a hypothetical and we can do a walkthrough here of how the two of you might approach this situation. Just to convey how you meld the body language ideas with the sales process. Let’s say a big brand invites me to their corporate headquarters to discuss an engagement of some kind. First, I buy the plane ticket and reserve the hotel room but what should I do to prepare before I even get on the airplane?

JIM McCORMICK:         Well, once again, it comes back to the research and knowing what the agenda is of the people that you’re going to be meeting with, what it is that they’re seeking to accomplish. In that situation, because you have such a brief opportunity to make the appropriate impression and send the message that you want them to receive, it’s critically important that you do as much homework in advance, ideally some contact in advance, and pose to them, “What is the outcome that we’re working towards so that I can determine how best I can assist you and whether I can possibly assist you?”

On the body language side, in my estimation as the sales expert, you have to come in the door with a sense of quiet confidence, not arrogance by any means but an openness and authenticity. This is one of the core concepts that we put forward in the book is the authenticity. There needs to be a congruence with your presence that you know beyond a shadow of doubt that you’re there for the right reason, that you can assist them because you’ve done your homework, you’ve done your research, you’ve done your questioning in advance, so that you can speak directly to their issue. That puts you very much in the game and in a position to be successful.

Roger Dooley:    Right. I arrive there, I find a visitor parking spot, luckily enough, I walk in the door, check in with the receptionist and even from that point what I should be doing is conveying a sense of confidence and openness?

JIM McCORMICK:         That’s correct.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Right. Now let’s go back to the original point of because you’re out of your comfort zone and there is probably some stress present, well, that’s okay but a lot of times when stress is present for a person there are little nervous gestures we call adapters that you may not even be aware of but this is something you have to do as part of your preparation.

Find out what kind of glitchy behavior you have when you’re the slightest bit nervous or the slightest bit stressed out or even excited. What is it that you do? Sometimes it’s hard to identify those things unless we have somebody we really trust. Tell us, oh, you rub your fingers together, oh, you click your pen. Those kinds of things are to be avoided 100% of the time.

When you’re getting out of your car and you’re going to that front door of that building make sure that you’re aware do not do any of those things in the meeting.

Roger Dooley:    I guess self-observation would be one way and after a while if you go through several meetings that might be potentially stressful you can observe some yourself. It seems like it might be hard to simulate with just a friend or somebody, even a close friend, to evaluate my behavior and tell me what I do in a stressful situation simply because typically I’m not in that situation when they’re observing me.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Yes. It would not be a simulation. It would be somebody that you’ve probably worked with or gone to meetings with and you say, “Hey, have you noticed anything?” Just ask. No, you can’t simulate it. You’re right, Roger.

Roger Dooley:    Yeah. Let’s assume there are a few people in the meeting. It’s not just a one on one. I’m going to have to split my attention between them. Does that complicate things? What should I be watching for at first?

JIM McCORMICK:         One of the things we speak about in the book is exactly a situation that you’re creating. Your positioning is very important, your positioning within the room. Let’s assume there’s a conference table in the center of the room. Is the decision maker at the head of the conference table or is the decision maker to the side?

There might be multiple decision makers present or you may not even know the decision maker. Of course, if you don’t know who the decision maker is you haven’t done your research but sometimes that’s just not possible to discern in advance because your prospect is intentionally opaque.

You need to be thoughtful about where you seat yourself. If you’re invited to take a certain seat by a person of authority it’s likely you need to do that. You need to be very cautious about whether the people you’re talking to are looking out of a window so that you’re silhouetted, they don’t have ideal eye contact with you, and they can easily be distracted by activities that are taking place beyond. Ideally, you want to position yourself so that they’re looking at you and they have as few distractions as possible.

Your eye contact needs to be situational based on the subject that’s being addressed. As we all know in that situation the individuals will quickly share with you through their comments what their concerns are. Somebody who is astute and easily adapts to that situation will speak to a certain topic and making eye contact with the person who has raised that as a subject. Then when they go to the next subject that is important to the second person, again, make eye contact with them so that they feel there is a one on one connection on that subject.

Roger Dooley:    If you’re not sure about the power relationships between the people … Sometimes you’ve got different departments and one may nominally have a purchasing department that has responsibility for making the decision but they may be leaning heavily on a technical resource or something else. Is there a way using body language to determine who the real decision maker is?

JIM McCORMICK:         I’m going to defer to Maryann on that because now you’re getting into some real complexities that are difficult for the layman to utilize.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Generally, the decision maker or the influencer would have a posture that indicates a high comfort level because there’s a sense of being in charge. There probably would be an erect posture or maybe the most relaxed person in the room. It’s somebody who definitely is not threatened.

You want to look at that and that may not even be the person that you know is most senior in the company because sometimes the influencers, the strongest influencers, are people who are lower level but they just have a great deal of personal power and they know that people listen to them.

Watch for that, watch for the comfort level, watch for a sense of authority and for maybe a sense of calculation as well. Here’s a little tip. When somebody is doing some calculating, say running numbers or evaluating options, you might see that person look down to the left. It’s a very, very common thing that just flits the eyes down to the left, tend to signal calculation through analysis.

Roger Dooley:    What does that translate into?

MARYANN KARINCH:   Well, it means that somebody is thinking about perhaps a decision or running numbers or doing some evaluation that’s important to you. You want to pay attention to that and find out what did you say that triggered that, did you make a proposal, is that person now evaluating your proposal? If so, that person may be your key power player.

JIM McCORMICK:         What I would add to that Roger is it’s critically important that you not make any assumptions until you have clarity as far as the decision making process. Few things can alienate people more in an environment like that than making statements like, “Well, I assume that you’re in a position to make this decision” and directing that to the wrong person.

Roger Dooley:    No doubt. That would be a faux pas unless you’re absolutely certain. I assume the way to finesse that would be if you’re not really sure just to make any statements more general or keep exploring and try to figure out through some additional questions. Let me back up for a second.

We’ve sat down, chosen seats, hopefully positioned properly like you described. We’ve done the introductions. At that point, I guess my typical thought would be to just for a moment or two engage in some kind of preliminary chat. Perhaps the flights, the weather, the Sunpass connection with the brand, maybe there’s something in the conference room or the office that suggests a topic of interest to the people there. Would you agree with that? At that point, is there anything I should be doing from a body language standpoint either from mine or an observation standpoint?

JIM McCORMICK:         As the sales expert in this process, I’m in complete agreement with you. It’s critically important that you establish some degree of rapport before you get into the subject at-hand. It might just be nothing more than comments on the location or the quality of the setting or the local sports teams or anything of that sort. I think it’s critically important before a meeting like you’ve described that you read the local paper, perhaps watch a little bit of local news so you have a sense of the vibe of what’s taking place in that community.

Roger Dooley:    Yeah. Let me add, there’s some great research on socializing and its power in a successful negotiation. We’ve talked about it in the past on the podcast. Just 10 minutes of social conversation led to much better outcomes. I think that one reason is if you can, in particular, find points of commonality with the other person that you have, maybe you are both dog owners or Broncos fans or whatever the case might be, that’s where I think you get the most leverage from that. Maryann, do you have anything to add on that?

MARYANN KARINCH:   Absolutely. That from a rapport-building perspective, which is what you were talking about, it’s really important to do that. From a body language perspective it’s also important because let’s say you go into a room and you see, oh, that the person that you’re meeting with has airplane cufflinks, little airplanes on his cufflinks, and you say, “Oh, are you a pilot?” Well, that person then will be in a very, very comfortable area. “Yes, I’m a pilot. I have this Cessna” something or another.

Then you get that person relaxed. When that person is relaxed and engaged in a conversation that has no pressure associated with it then you can baseline so you learn about that person’s body language when the person is absolutely at ease. That’s critical for going forward because when you see deviations from baseline that’s when you know the person is experiencing some kind of stress.

As I said, stress isn’t always bad but sometimes it is. Sometimes it means that you’ve said something that made the person uncomfortable. Baselining, just listening to that person and watching that person, when that person is talking about his airplane you have a lot of insights as to that person’s subsequent body language changes.

Roger Dooley:    In the book you emphasize the importance of trying to determine what the person’s baseline is because we all know people are very different. I can think of one person where his baseline is where most people would be after about five espressos. If you were in a meeting with him you might think that either he was a little crazy or off the wall or on something. That’s just his personality. A very smart guy, great personality but understanding that that is his baseline and it’s not something that you did to get him all worked up is important.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Yes. Roger, you’re absolutely right. That’s really, really important. Also, if you’ve met somebody in a different environment like at a reception and then you see that that person is different in a meeting, well, it could be that that’s exactly the same person with a baseline in a different environment. You have to take the environment into consideration as well. Context is very important in reading body language.

JIM McCORMICK:         Roger, there’s an interesting vignette about baselining Maryann’s work that I think your listeners would find interesting. During presidential election years Maryann is commonly called upon to do body language analysis of the candidates during their debate environments.

Well, needless to say, as soon as they come onstage, they’re onstage, and it’s really difficult to baseline them because from that point on they’re playing to the audience or playing to the cameras or whatever they think they need to accomplish.

Maryann has informed me that what she’ll often do is she will seek out footage of the individuals when they’re in a considerably more relaxed setting so that she can baseline them before they go onstage.

Roger Dooley:    Good idea. Yup. Maybe now we’ve gotten through that socialization process a little bit and hopefully everybody is relatively relaxed, nobody is too tightly wound up, and it’s time for me to … I suppose the first thing would not be for me to talk about … but to engage in conversation about the problem, try and maybe draw out more of those relationships between the people, and also understand what their true pain points are. Can you amplify on that? Agree with it or disagree with it?

JIM McCORMICK:         Yeah. In that situation, Roger, you’re basically probing for what strategy you’re going to take. Are you going to sell them based on establishing a relationship? Is it your expertise that they’re really looking to buy? Are you in a unique position to provide a solution that they don’t have, that they’re not capable of replicating themselves, or are you going to revert to a fear sale, which means it’s probably going to be a single transaction.

You probably have a sense in advance of what direction you’re going to go but really you have those different methodologies in mind … Or it could be a return on investment sale. You have all those methodologies in mind and you’re probably probing for what direction that you want to go based on the information you’re receiving.

So much of this, as you know, Roger, is a function of how much information you have in advance. If you’re truly having to probe and collect your initial baseline information, I’m not talking about baseline in a body language sense, when you’re in that meeting you’re at a disadvantage. You’re going to have to be quick on your feet and figure out how to get the information so that you can move forward.

Roger Dooley:    Right. Really, in that phase it should be more confirming what you believe is to be true both about the situational relationships and just looking to see if any of your assumptions are flawed once you’re there in person I guess.

JIM McCORMICK:         I completely agree with you. If you’re coming in cold you’re at a significant disadvantage.

Roger Dooley:    Okay. Now it’s time for me to do the talking and there are a lot of options. I could sit there, stay seated, and explain in words what I can do to ease the pain point. I could stand up, I could use a flip chart or whiteboard if there was one. I could open up a quick PowerPoint deck, assuming that the technology was available. Each of those creates a rather different situation with body language, both my body language and perhaps the other people in the meeting. Do you have a preference? Why don’t you guide me through that piece?

JIM McCORMICK:         Well, Maryann can speak to this quite well. It comes to one of the issues we discussed at length in the book, which is the issue of establishing barriers and trying to eliminate barriers or establish barriers based on what’s going to suit your purposes best. In the absence of having more in-depth information it’s hard to assess, which of those strategies would be best. All of them are applicable and credible in certain circumstances but in all of them you are influencing the barrier equation. Can you speak to that, Maryann?

MARYANN KARINCH:   Sure. There are two points to make. One is the barrier. If your visual aid, or whatever your presentation tool is, is creating distance between you and the people that’s not good. You want to look at whether or not you’re dealing with one person or whether you’re dealing with several people. You’re creating a barrier if you put any sort of separation between you and them.

Let’s say you have a laptop and you’re running the laptop and you’re behind it or you’re behind the podium or you’re behind a something and your audience is on the other side, that separates you. Essentially, that’s not good.

Now let’s take it what is good, what diminishes the separation. If it’s one person you want to be in a position to have that person touch the same computer that you’re touching, like the screen. Look at the same thing, point something out. Or if you’re using a whiteboard bring that person into contact with the material that you’re trying to explain. It’s called haptics. It’s the science of touch. It creates a sense of connection with you and the other person. That works very, very well with one person.

When it’s more than one person you’re fundamentally just trying to eliminate the barrier and focus on the same thing, whether it’s a whiteboard or whether it’s a PowerPoint. Make sure that your focus is shared. Anything that forges that connection is going to help you … There’s a subliminal sense of interacting. Even if you’re not looking at each other you’re both looking at the same thing.

Roger Dooley:    Yeah. We had Dan Roam, the visual communication expert, on the show a while back. One point that he made that I thought was really good is if you’re in a meeting and you want to get everybody’s attention just walk up to a flip chart or a whiteboard and pull out a writing instrument of some kind, a marker, and it just has that magnetic effect on people’s attention because it’s something, “Oh, something is going to happen here.” There is a blank slate there, whether it’s a flip chart or a whiteboard. He has an instrument in hand, he’s going to do something with it.

I’m a PowerPoint user myself most of the time because I really believe in the power of both images and phrases and so on to create memories. It does not have that same magnetic appeal of somebody with pen in hand approaching a white space.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Right. As an audience member, you get the sense of, “Now I have an opportunity to create whatever this visual is, that this person is doing this sort of with my energy, with my input.” If you handle it that way it’s very, very engaging. You can even do that with PowerPoint, depending on how you manage your presentation. Have the other person feel like they’re somehow directing what happens next.

Roger Dooley:    Let me just shift gears a little bit. Something that we’ve talked about once or twice on this show is the concept of mirroring. That is, sort of mimicking if you will, the body language of the other person. How difficult is it to pull that off without it looking like Simon Says and being really weird or creepy?

JIM McCORMICK:         Let me speak to that and I’ll let Maryann perhaps give us a more detailed response. Mirroring is critically important. Mimicking is a bad idea. There’s a critical distinction there. Mimicking means that you’re being goofy. If you move their right hand, you move the right hand. If they move the left foot, you move your left foot. That kind of stuff. Obviously that’s going to make you look absolutely ridiculous.

Mirroring is about more matching their level of energy and intensity and engagement. The reason that you want to match it initially is because you want to draw them towards the point that you desire. It’s only be meeting them where they are that you have the opportunity and the potential to bring them to where you want them to be. Until you bridge that gap that’s going to be very hard for you to help them to transition.

Roger Dooley:    Mm-hmm (affirmative) Maryann, what do you think? I think some of the discussions of mirroring that I have heard have been a little bit more aggressive to the point there is subtle mimicry. To me, that subtle is the tricky part? Doing it enough so that it works but not so that it’s obvious to the point where then you know when the power has shifted to you because you can get the other person to mimic you unconsciously. Do you agree with that philosophy?

MARYANN KARINCH:   No. I really feel that mirroring is a normal, natural thing that we do with people that we want to connect with. It happens. It simply happens. If you’re paying attention and you’re genuinely engaged with another person it’s going to happen. You can add little things to it. Aggressively doing it, unless I’m misunderstanding, I would say that that’s not a good idea.

It needs to be subtle and it also needs to be gender-appropriate. There are things that men do that women look very stupid doing and vice versa. If you’re mirroring, as Jim said, I really would stick with what he was saying, which is more … It’s energy level, it’s tone of voice. There are other things that you can do consciously to kind of feel like you’re on the same level and that that’s really where you start. After that you should settle into some kind of a normal, comfortable mirroring that is not at all contrived. I would never describe it as aggressive.

Roger Dooley:    Right. I was saying aggressive as a matter of degree rather than just the mood. Actually mirroring some of the physical gestures. Again, obviously it can’t be anything other than something subtle. That’s good input. To me, I haven’t really tried that because I would be afraid that I would get it wrong somehow. I’m not in negotiations or sort of high stakes meetings anyway but I would be nervous trying to do that and get a reaction from the person, “Hey, what are you doing?”

MARYANN KARINCH:   Right. My guess is that you would probably do it naturally, that you are doing it. That’s my guess.

Roger Dooley:    Right. That’s quite possible. I do see that happening where when one person leans forward the other person often tends to lean forward a little bit too. It’s very natural. Not contrived at all.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Right. Exactly.

JIM McCORMICK:         Let me just add, Roger, a cautionary comment. I think you have to be very careful in all of this that you don’t come off as manipulative because whether a person realizes it or not nobody likes being manipulated. Sometimes they can sense it consciously, sometimes they can sense it subconsciously. If they feel like you’re doing things of that sort to try to manipulate them it will definitely distance them from you.

Roger Dooley:    Sure. Sort of that salesperson that you can’t quite put your finger on what you don’t like about them but there’s something there that they’re a little too sales-y or a little too something that leaves you not feeling comfortable as opposed to somebody who just feels very natural in their conversation with you.

Let me just ask one final question. What if in that meeting somebody challenges you? They question your solution, your credentials, point out that competitor B is better and cheaper and so on. When somebody directly challenges you how should you respond to that? I’m sure just from a body language standpoint you immediately go into defense mode. If you weren’t conscious of it and somebody challenges you, you tend to respond appropriately. That might not be the best thing from a business standpoint, right?

JIM McCORMICK:         Well, I’m going to say immediately the worst thing you can do is become defensive. It just simply validates their statement. The second thing you do is acknowledge their concerns and lend credibility to it and then work from there, work back to where you need to take them. If you become immediately defensive, say things like, “Well, how on Earth could you think that?” Or, “That comes not based in fact” or, “Let me explain to you why you’re wrong” you have now lost any rapport that you’ve gone through this effort to create.

By acknowledging the validity of their concern and then taking them to the solution that you want to drive them to I think is your best approach. As far as your body language it’s really important that you remain open because you can say verbally, you can be kind and responsive and non-defensive, but if you close up your body language it’s an incongruent message. The most important thing in all of this is remaining the authenticity between the message that you’re sending non-verbally and the message you’re sending verbally.

Roger Dooley:    Mm-hmm (affirmative) Maryann, do you have anything on that?

MARYANN KARINCH:   Jim just said exactly what I was going to say so I don’t have anything to add. He completed my thoughts.

Roger Dooley:    Well, you actually have an example of not exactly that kind of direct challenge but about a woman who is planning on making a large donation to a university who then found that some university policy was contrary to her own beliefs. Explain how that was handled poorly and what might have been a better way to handle it. This is not an uncommon situation I don’t think in any kind of sales or persuasion situation where somebody says, “Here’s why I don’t want to do this.” Maybe, Jim, is that your example?

JIM McCORMICK:         Actually, I think that was Maryann’s example.

Roger Dooley:    Maryann, why don’t you explain that one?

MARYANN KARINCH:   Right. Well, this person really needed to be invited to have her opinion count. It was a delicate issue that had to do with her family and she felt that some decisions that her family had made were not appreciated or respected by the person who was trying to raise money from her.

All she really wanted was to know that the university where she had gone had some respect for her point of view. It may not be official policy or whatever but just that on some level through tone of voice, through invitation to speak, through just generally listening and respecting, that there was some sense that what she had to say was valid.

Even if there was no agreement, simply that she had a right to say something and that she had the opportunity to make her point of view known and respected.

Roger Dooley:    Right. In fact, the response that she got described in the book is that, first of all, it was sort of dismissed as not being that significant and in essence her whole concern was not taken particularly seriously. Instead of trying to work with her it was just trying to minimize the problem and that did in fact make it go away for her.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Right. Exactly.

JIM McCORMICK:         As we all know, that’s not a good strategy because clearly what that person is seeking beyond anything else is validation. If you’re not providing that validation you’re not going to be successful.

Roger Dooley:    Right. When we’re answering sales objections that’s a good one to keep in mind because certainly our first reaction is to defend our product or whatever it is that we’re offering as opposed to listening to what the concern is.

Let’s use that as a good break-off point. Let me remind our listeners that our guests today are Jim McCormick and Maryann Karinch, authors of Body Language Sales Secrets: How To Read Prospects and Decode Subconscious Signals to Get Results and Close the Deal. We’ll link to the book of course but how should our listeners find you online, Maryann?

MARYANN KARINCH:   Online you could find me at Karinch dot com. Another way to find me is Rudy Agency dot com. Either one is fine. My email if someone is curious about finding out more about these things is my name. It’s Maryann at Karinch dot com. Pretty simple.

Roger Dooley:    Perfect. Yeah. Okay, Jim?

JIM McCORMICK:         Roger, my organization is called The Research Institute for Risk Intelligence. The website is Risks, which is plural, hyphen, Institute dot com. Risks, hyphen, Institute, dot com. All the contact information and so forth is available there.

The book Body Language Sales Secrets, which is published by Career Press, is available in all the traditional methods, whether it be online or in bricks and mortar stores. It’s available of course in a print edition and also in e-book.

Roger Dooley:    Great. We will have all those links and also links to any resources we talked about on this show on the show notes page at Roger Dooley dot com slash podcast. As usual, we’ll have a handy text version of our conversation there too. Maryann and Jim, thanks so much for being on the show.

JIM McCORMICK:         Roger, it was a pleasure.

MARYANN KARINCH:   Thanks, Roger. We enjoyed it.

Thank you for joining me for this episode of the Brainfluence Podcast. To continue the discussion and to find your own path to brainy success, please visit us at


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