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This past week I had the great fortune of speaking at the IIABO annual convention in Sunriver Oregon. Let me express my gratitude to Jim Perruca Executive Director of the IIAB of Oregon, and his staff for the incredible job they did hosting the convention. Everything was first class. Swank video productions filmed the entire 4 hours of my seminar and we are editing the footage to produce DVD’s of the event. This brings me to my topic.

As I began the editing process, I found myself focusing on one aspect of my message, which was silent. I was reminded of the significance and importance of non-verbal communication. This was first hand validation for something I have been coaching for years. If you ask people what they think has the most impact during a conversation, many will say tone of voice, or pace and cadence, or the words we choose. The fact is, only 30% of the information we glean from a conversation is verbal. Over 67% is non-verbal. Humans are an extremely visual species. The marketing and advertising industries understand this all too well, which explains Super bowl commercials and Avatar.

What does this have to do with sales? One of the keys to effective communication is knowing how we are perceived by others. Be aware of the huge role that body language plays during communication. We all can agree that people go out of their way to do business with people that they like. We also know that people like people who are like themselves.

If you can mirror and match prospects, you will build rapport quickly, and they will feel more comfortable doing business with you. When I say to “mirror your prospects,” I’m not suggesting you Ape or mimic them. I mean pay attention to the non verbal cues they give, and remove or soften any stark contrasts in posture, facial expressions or gestures to become more simpatico with your prospect. Also, make sure your non verbal message is congruent with your verbal message. When your body sends a different message than what you are saying, you create mistrust on the part of your listener.

To test the validity of this argument, try this experiment. Look into a mirror, take a big bite out of a lemon and say mmmm, that tastes sweet! Which message are you going to believe, your words or your face? Or, tell your significant other that they look terrific and roll your eyes. On second thought, don’t do that.

They say opposites attract. Not in sales. There are 4 distinct personality styles, and some are diametrically opposed to one another. Your job is to understand the different personality types and learn how to identify them, and identify with them. Part of this process is education, and part is observation. By asking good open ended questions and then listening to, and observing your prospects as they respond, you will discover a road map on how to build rapport with them if you learn read the signs.

If you get along effortlessly with a prospect, chances are you share the same personality style. On the other hand, if you can’t read a prospect, or feel they are acting rude, or are judging you, chances are they are opposite you in the personality quadrant. Anyone can get along with someone who shares the same personality. The question is, can you sell to the other 75% of insurance buyers? If you cannot, you are potentially missing a big piece of the pie.

Some tips.

1. Take a personality profile and find your dominant style. Being able to control your body language begins with discovering your dominant personality traits. If you need a quick profile test, just e-mail me at david@iqsalescoach.com

2. Read a book on body language and non-verbal communication, the library is chock full of them. Also, read about the different personality styles and how to communicate effectively with them.

3. Videotape yourself conducting an interview or presentation to a colleague. Watch your body language to see if you naturally become more like your prospect. Look for tendencies, and bad habits like repeating words, fidgeting and posture. Make it a point to work on and change anything you see that you do not like.

4. Ask your prospects open ended questions and observe them as they respond. Be aware of their posture, facial expressions, tone, pace, gestures and the word they use. Become more like your prospect to take the edge off, and you’ll write more business.

Your thoughts and comments please

David Connolly

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