Sales: Mind your body language

Q. What are some of the characteristics of a good retail sales person?
Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A. A common mistake I hear from HME providers expanding into retail is they put all their energy into selecting the right location and having the correct products, but do not put any thought into how they will staff their new retail location. 

When looking to staff in a retail environment, consideration must be given to two areas: verbal and nonverbal cues. Identify an individual who is easily approachable, friendly and a good conversationalist. They must be educated enough about the products to be able to offer “add-on” products to the primary sell. There is a reason most fast food restaurants ask, “Do you want fries with that” or, “Would you like to jumbo size it?”

Keep in mind that more than 50% of our daily communication is conveyed through nonverbal cues, such as gestures, posture and facial expressions. It is vital to teach your staff members how to convey inviting, attentive and friendly body language that will allow them to effectively connect with customers. Make certain to convey the importance of good eye contact, smiling and keeping facial expressions welcoming and friendly. This helps your customers feel comfortable and shows you are interested in what they are saying.

Another common mistake is standing with crossed arms and/or fidgeting. Crossed arms convey to customers that you are on the  defensive, and fidgeting or jittery movements portray nervousness and can make a customer feel uncomfortable. Keep your arms open, at your sides or in front of you. Having an open body and leaning slightly forward shows you are interested in those you are speaking to.

Clint Geffert is national vice president of sales for VGM Group, Inc. Reach him at