Unless you’re a professional poker player, most people have a hard time controlling their body language, especially under stressful conditions. For example, buying and selling a property can cause tension for clients, according to John Asher, CEO of Asher Strategies and author of Close Deals Faster. How do you handle a situation where a client says one thing but their body language is saying another?
“In a mismatch between words and body,” says Asher. “Which one wins? The body.” This is why it’s crucial that agents know how to interpret what clients are communicating.
“Reading body language is more of an art than a science,” Asher says. “If the situation remains ambiguous, review positive verbal cues to see if they can tip the scale.”
If someone is ready to agree on a purchase or a proposed offer, their body will undergo what Asher calls a “buyer’s shift.” You’ll notice the positivity or acceptance in a person’s shift to a relaxed state. Although individuals will have their own variations on this, here is a list from Asher that can help you see when a client has shifted (green) or is still unsure (yellow).
(Green) Smiling and slowly nodding.
(Yellow) Scratching face and pursing lips.
(Green) Good eye contact with wide eyes.
(Yellow) Sideways glances and squinting.
(Green) Arms released and loose.
(Yellow) Arms crossed and shoulders raised.
(Green) Palms open and to the sides.
(Yellow) Hands clenched or behind back.
(Green) Legs uncrossed or crossed towards you.
(Yellow) Bouncing legs and tapping feet.
(Green) Upright and towards you.
(Yellow) Leaning away from you.
—Erica Christoffer, REALTOR® Magazine