Sales tips: Client Meetings – body language

Whilst much of our sales leg work is done on the phone or via digital channels there is still a need for face to face meetings. Some sectors have more of this, some may have virtual meetings. How can we do our best in these meetings to create rapport, give a good impression and progress the sale?

Body language is a big subject. Some of it will be pretty obvious but here are some tips to remind you and perhaps a few pointers you weren’t aware of.

General body language DOs and DON’Ts


  • Sit up straight and avoid slouching. Don’t look like you have a ruler down your back but make sure your posture is good and you sit to seem you are paying attention
  • Lean in a little, but don’t rest your elbows or arms on the desk or chair arms
  • Use your palms in an upturned gesture, it shows you are open
  • Use your palms in a downward movement to display decisiveness and firmness
  • Maintain eye contact where appropriate (note in some cultures this isn’t acceptable). It’s not a staring competition, but wandering eyes show a lack of attention. This is particularly important in virtual meetings where only your face is on show. Aim for around 70% of your time to have eye contact
  • Be aware of nodding too much, and in some cultures nodding means no, and shaking the head means yes, so get it clear
  • Give a good handshake, limp fish are not a great first impression, but equally a crushing handshake can seem domineering. Make eye contact with the person you are shaking hands with, don’t wander the eye onto the next person.
  • Smile. A smile is a powerful thing. However, in some cultures it can be seen as a weakness so do your research.
  • Notice when their pupils narrow (if you can!) as this can indicate disagreement or anger. Dilated pupils indicate pleasure or agreement.


  • slouch, it shows a lack of respect
  • cross your legs showing the sole of your shoe, this is considered rude in many cultures
  • cross your arms, it indicates you are closed to discussion
  • put your hands on your hips, elbows out, unless you are mirroring, as it shows a need for dominance
  • Fidget – it displays nervousness and lack of focus. Bouncing your leg is a no-no and picking at your nails, also a no-no
  • keep checking your phone, even if it’s to tell the time. Invest in a watch, and be subtle.
  • Out-stare an authoritative client, allow them time to talk, it’s your job to put them at ease, lean in, actively listen
  • Point. Just rude.

So there are a few guides for you. If you are meeting to sell overseas, do your research on body language meanings for that country as well as cultural norms and customs. Be prepared. We have some blogs you can check out:
Cross Cultural Selling Tips: Body Language
Cross Cultural Tip: The Eyes Have It

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