Body Language In Automotive Sales

It is omnipresent and yet nobody pays attention to it. It gives us information about the emotional state of our customer and gives indications when our customer is ready to buy and when he needs more information. Based on their signals, we can sell more target-oriented, faster and better. We’re talking about body language. 

To be more precise: the body language in sales. Body language or non-verbal communication in the sales pitch is the most important key factor for me. Just so we understand each other correctly, I’m not a salesman like you imagine. 

To be honest, I don’t know any sales techniques and I’m not even remotely a Martin Limbeck. But there’s one thing I’m really good at: I can read body language. And with that I am extremely successful in sales talks, even without having mastered any sales techniques, questioning techniques and objection handling.

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Customer-oriented selling

When I look at some sellers, I could cry. The sales talk lasts two hours, for a product that would take a maximum of 30 minutes, and it brings no result. Specialist idiot kills the customer. But the customer now knows the company’s entire product range and has been excellently polished through all sales techniques. I would like to give you an example. 

A car dealership, which I appreciate very much, by the way, has a fixed sales script. In this script, the customer is scoured through all of their senses. You know what I mean? Auditory, visual, haptic etc.

Auditory, visual and haptic

Maybe mentioned again in passing. There are people who are best reached by telling them facts aurally. Then there are people who can’t do anything with auditory facts, but are visually oriented. You need pictures to visualize the product. And then there are those who don’t want to hear anything or see pictures, who want to sit in the vehicle, touch the steering wheel and seats and smell the new car smell.

The car purchase

I analyzed the sales pitch and found that I and the salesperson could have saved a lot of time. This also has nothing to do with the seller, he is a great guy and only works according to specifications. Rather, it is due to the circumstances that those senses were also addressed that I could not do anything with. For example, I am a visual type. I have to see pictures, then I decide if I like it. But during the sales talk I first heard data and facts. And honestly? I can’t really do anything with the year of manufacture, cubic capacity, kilometers and horsepower. At least not auditory. All numbers were immediately forgotten. When he then showed me pictures of the car, it got interesting. I could imagine my car. But I still wanted to see it live. Just to be able to imagine it in three dimensions. We ran to a comparable model and then the sales script continued. I should sit down, start the engine and drive a bit.

Address the right senses

I got in the car and I looked around and I thought, ah, a steering wheel, uh, a radio, ah, so there’s the handbrake. So in plain English: I couldn’t do anything with it. For me, haptic things are not important. I don’t have to grope or touch anything. One look is enough for me. And either I’m in love with the car or I’m not. Don’t get me wrong, the advice was great, at its finest. But one or the other point could have been skipped. 

This would have saved time and allowed sales to be more customer-oriented. Based on the body language in the sales pitch and my non-verbal signals, one could have determined the type of customer and sold in a more goal-oriented manner.

This is how you recognize the type of customer

You can use the language patterns and expressions to recognize which senses you should appeal to in your customers. Does your customer often say sentences like: That sounds good; Sounds great; this is music to my ears; then your customer is auditory oriented. Does your customer say phrases like: 

Let’s see; Looks good; Can you see it; Viewed from a different angle; I’ll take a look; I keep an eye on it; then your customer is more likely to be visually oriented. Does your customer say things like: This feels good/bad; I don’t have a good feeling about it; then your customer is haptically oriented. The whole thing can be expanded into the so-called DISK model. 

These are four color types that people can be categorized into. This is of course completely independent of the sensory appeal. Here is a small excerpt of the color types and the descriptions for them. Which type are you?

body language in sales

Everything we think affects our body. And everything our body does affects our thinking. This connection is called the “body-mind connection”. So you can read your customer’s mind based on their body language. Your customer gives you constant feedback throughout the sales pitch about what they like and dislike, when they need more information, and when they’re ready to close. Your job as a seller is to see which signals your customer is sending and to respond appropriately.

Christopher Stern

Christopher Stern is a Washington-based reporter. Chris spent many years covering tech policy as a business reporter for renowned publications. He has extensive experience covering Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commissions. He is a graduate of Middlebury College. Email:[email protected]

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