The ability to read and respondto body language is a powerful tool. From grand gestures to subtle signals, body language is nonverbal communication that subconsciously reveals more than carefully chosen words.
Scott Dolce, Head of Growth at property management company :Different, has an interest in body language that he is using to better engage with clients and ultimately win more business deals. We spoke to Scott about some of his tricks of the trade.
How did you become interested in body language?
It started off with an interest around how I could do my job better. I am the Head of Growth at :Different. I was at McGrath for 10 years (Business Development Manager for five years and Sales Agent for five years), with LJ Hooker Corporate for two years and I am a trained auctioneer as well. I use body language for sales and the key signs for knowing when to ask someone for the business.
What are some of these key signs?
If you can lean forward and back, forward and back, and get the person to mirror you, you’ve got them. You start off by mirroring them, and then you start controlling the body language. I don’t do it consciously, but I’ll sit back and then forward and then after about three cycles the person will start doing it with about a 30-second delay. They won’t know they are doing it, but at that point you know they are engaged with you and you can start asking more direct questions and moving towards to final goal of winning the business.
The way people hold themselves. If they are sitting sideways and folding their hands together, it’s an indication they are closed off. But if they lean forward or open up, they’ve become more engaged with me.
If the person rests their chin on their hand before I have finished talking, they have disengaged with me and have already thought about their next question. If they did that, I would cut my answer short and let them speak. I’m a firm believer that we have two ears and one mouth for a reason, and it’s all about ratio.
Are people aware of their body language?
What people do consciously and subconsciously are very different. If they think they’re going to be hard – to fold their arms or face away – there is a point that you can break down that barrier, but they don’t know you have broken it down. That’s where their subconscious comes into it and they’ll start opening up and leaning forward. But they don’t know.
If they turned their body away from me, I would move myself around, slowly, so that they don’t realise they are facing me again to try and improve the body language.
How is reading body language important for your role?
It’s about having a person engage with you. If you’ve engaged with them on the same level – whatever that level might be – you’re going to get the right outcome for what you’re looking for.
For example, as an auctioneer, that’s where you really need to be on your game. You need to know who you can have a bit of tongue and cheek with and who is all business. If you can engage someone in the way they like to be engaged, you will ultimately do far better with that person.