In Sales, Words Just Don't Compute


In studies conducted by Motivational Systems of West Orange, New Jersey, researchers found that 72% of the 12,000 participants reported that, in first time meetings, non-verbal communication carried significantly more weight than a verbal message (words). Only 6% of the respondents paid the slightest attention to what a person said at a first time meeting. This finding parallels Dr. Al Mehrabian's research at UCLA, who reported that only 7% of a person's communications effectiveness comes from words, while 38% is made up of tone of voice and 55% from non-verbal communication like eye contact, gestures, body language, dress, facial hair, etc. Ninety three percent of what is effectively communicated is non-verbal.

Think about it. Isn't it true that when you first meet someone new that your impression of them is based on how they look and sound? Even after you've known a person for a long time, you have a tendency to believe someone's body language more than the words that are used-and if the words don't match his or her body language, you may reject what is said altogether.

Remember, it is impossible to talk a person into having a great first impression of you or your company, no matter how hard you try. Also remember, how you look and act, rather than what you say is what gives you "an edge" with your customers, clients or prospects. A firm handshake, good posture, self-assured smile, professional manner and the way you dress are what people tune into. Sales representatives who try to talk or persuade a prospect into buying are totally ineffective. It appears that in selling, listening skills and not speaking skills are more important than the words that describe your products.

From the studies cited above and your own common sense, you can see that if you truly want to build a trusting relationship with a prospect, client or customer, you need to say as little as possible and get the other person to do most of the talking. When communicating with another person, always keep in mind that your words just don't compute!


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