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“..bring that beat back to me again…”

[Dave Matthews Band]

What beat goes through your head when you're making your pitch, delivering a proposal or asking for a decision maker's support on your project?  Is that beat working for or against you?  If you're like a lot of people I talk to, there are times when you walk away from these situations with a sinking feeling that the TIO (Think-It-Over) you got is really a NO.

Was it something that you said?   Was it the beat in your head?

I was at a car dealership recently, looking at pre-owned, certified cars…curious if I’d be wowed by the car (I’m not a car junkie), even more curious if I’d be persuaded by the salesperson.

We all make first impressions, based mostly on the nonverbal stuff.  First impressions are critical because when people evaluate others, they weigh initial information much more heavily than later information. If you lock in a positive first impression then it makes for a strong connection with that person - a connection that will withstand price objections. Start off with a negative impression and it will take several deposits in their emotional bank account to overturn the negative to positive. Just think what that does for the length of a sales cycle. Just think how long it will take to gain support for your idea, your project, or your promotion if you're working against a negative impression.

While my unsuspecting car salesperson rattled off the car's features and benefits, I made an impression based on everything but the words.  Why do we as humans pay more attention to nonverbal language?  Because it’s harder to fake. Our posture, gestures, facial expressions—especially the nuances—are directed from our subconscious mind and they come out just ahead of the words—no touch up, no makeup, no covering up—pure.


Our choice of words does count, for sure, but far less than you might think. We are all observed every time we set foot in public, and judgments are made in seconds, based mostly on how we say it….based mostly on everything but the words. Body language and tone account for 93% of a typical conversation and the words a mere 7%.

What signals are you sending to your listener?  Are they working for or against you? There’s a mantra that we talk to our clients about…a three word “beat” that we suggest you play in your head when you set foot in public. The beat goes like this: Open, Connected, Sincere

Are you open to truly hearing the concerns of the other person before rushing in to solve their problem?  Are you focused on making a genuine connection with the other person or focused on how your features and benefits will wow them? If I sense you're using some technique, I sense duplicity, manipulation.  I wonder why you're doing it, what your motives are.  If I don't feel you're sincere then I don't trust you, and without trust we probably won't be doing business together. 

There are too many wild cards in the sales arena. Master what you can control—your body language and tone---and start by listening to the right beat in your head.


In case you were wondering--I was WOWed by the car but not persuaded by the salesperson.


Donna Bak

Partner & Certified Trainer

If you'd like to learn more about Donna on LinkedIn click here:

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