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Missing the Lean In: How Technology is Affecting Body Language Literacy
Blog / For Sales Pros / Jul 20, 2018 / Posted by Catherine Brinkman / 5157

Missing the Lean In: How Technology is Affecting Body Language Literacy


Technology has drastically changed the landscape of sales. Door to door selling is almost non-existent. Buyers are more educated on products than ever before. Even odder, B2B clients are refusing to take face to face meetings. I have been in situations where a client has invested over $225,000 and I had to beg them to drive 30 minutes to meet them face to face.

Remote selling does have its drawbacks. We no longer see facial expressions. We can’t see when clients start to take notes during the meeting. Multi-tasking comes into play too. We don’t really know if that client is 100% focused on us.

If you think video chat is the exact same as being in the room, really think about it. It’s comparable – but it isn’t the same. There is that whole the technology isn’t working correctly risk. When selling to a team, meetings may run over because people show up late. Or people may just get up and leave the room. There is a technology barrier, which makes it easier for clients to not take meetings seriously.

Yet, remote selling is the reality of business today. When we are granted those golden opportunities to shake someone’s hand we need to be ready to interact with them and pick up on social cues. Because we have been sitting behind a screen for so long, people are either forgetting how to read body language or they’ve never had a need to learn it.

I never thought about much about the importance of physically being in the room until I wrote How Your Paperwork Looks Matters. People reached out to me saying they never thought about it either, but that it 100% helped close deals faster. One sales manager read my article and emailed me asking if I had a class on body language and social cues. I had one in my head!

Identifying the Mysteries of Body Language, a workshop on buyer types and the nuances of reading body language was created.

It’s all about the nuances! How is someone folding their hands? What way are they tilting their head? How fast are they taking notes? Do they shift seats with certain subjects are mentioned?

Older sales people that have met face-to-face overtime are telling me that their body language reading skills have weakened. Sales managers are emailing that their new hires are body language illiterate. Most salespeople under 25 grew up socializing through a screen.

In speaking with one sales manager, Eric, saw his sales reps rushing through meetings. They are usually selling B2B. This team is predominately under 30. The decision-makers they are meeting with are owners or VPs of small to medium businesses. Eric saw a trend when he went on meetings with his team: They were missing positive body language cues. They were wrapping up meetings much faster than they should have. They didn’t notice the locked eyes of the prospect, the subtle smiles, or someone putting their pen down to listen more closely.

Scarier for his team’s quota- they were missing the lean in. That subtle move when some decision makers literally lean towards you and lock eyes. That is when you know they are serious buyers. When you get the lean in, you need to start to move into your close. He immediately noticed the need.

Reading body language falls under emotional intelligence, a skill that can be learned. When you focus on improving your body language literacy, you improve your listening skills. Improved listening skills lead to stronger remote meetings since you can pick up on vocal intention better. It is a win-win, tightening up your sales process.


BHY Consulting will be running Identifying the Mysteries of Body Language workshop in New York City Sept. 18th from 9am to 4pm. Tickets can be purchased here. If you would like to bring this workshop to your company please email

About Author

A former sales executive and trainer with Dale Carnegie, Catherine built a book of business focused on technology and finance companies. That experience is used with sales teams to design collaborative sales campaigns which improve closing ratios and hone sales skills. Catherine lives in NYC.


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