Sales Skills

Six Ways to Influence Clients and Prospects with your Hands

The International Society for Gesture Studies (ISGS) discovered that people who gesture during client and prospect meetings develop more rapport and trust. They’re seen as warm and open rather than stuffy, boring or shady.

Try the following six tips:

  • Use your hands to make points.  When you use your hands to make points, the prospective client will grow more involved in the conversation.
  • Show your hands.  When you cross your arms or stuff your hands in your pocket, clients and prospects will conclude that you are closed off, negative, and unapproachable.  When you let your prospects and clients see your hands, you appear open and friendly – someone they feel confident about sharing their business challenges with.
  • Use touch appropriately.  When you shake hands, grasp your prospect’s hands firmly but not too hard.  When you know an individual well, you can shake their hand with both of your hands, demonstrating your warmth.  Also, if you have a long-standing relationship with a client, ISGS found that it’s all right to touch their arm or pat them on the shoulder or back (but not in a creepy, hesitant way).
  • Show your palms.  When a prospective client sees your palms as you explain things, you are showing openness and honesty.  ISGS discovered that people who show their palms are perceived as more genuine and sincere.  Remember, authenticity is a key ingredient of a trusted advisor.
  • Avoid touching your face.  When you touch your face during a client or prospect meeting, you appear unsure, nervous, suspicious, or dishonest.  When you stroke your chin, prospects will think you are arrogant and judgmental.  Touching your nose or covering your mouth while you speak is seen as deceitful.

Although it may seem simplistic, using your hands to influence others will help you establish stronger and more mutually beneficial relationships and grow your book of business.