So how do we sell (ourselves) better - Body Language Australia

So how do we sell (ourselves) better

I believe that some level we are ‘pitching’ or selling every day.

Daniel Pink in his book ;To Sell Is Human’ is in agreement.

So how do we sell (ourselves) better – to bosses, team members, clients and customers, to our partners and even our children?

Some of the answers are to be found in the famous ‘Shark Tank’ show.

So what is it that defines the Shark Tank winners and losers – what is it that stands the winners apart?

And can normal, mere mortals like us learn and use these strategies?

Thankfully the answer is a resounding YES – watch the video or read the transcript to learn more



Hi, it’s Diederik Gelderman here. Have you heard of Shark Tank? You probably have. It’s one of the most successful TV shows on the planet.

In many countries now, they have their own version of Shark Tank.

In Shark Tank, there’s someone who is pitching their idea, and in fact, pitching themselves to three potential investors. Does that scenario sound familiar?

When you’re talking to the people who work with at work; you’re pitching your ideas, you’re pitching yourself to those people who you work with. Whether you’re an employee or a boss, in fact, you’re always pitching to someone at work.

And, if you’re a salesperson… look at the end of the day—Daniel Pink wrote a book saying We’re Always Selling, a really good book; have a read of it.

So at the end of the day, we are in fact, always selling. Whether we’re selling to a client or a customer, or whether we’re selling in some sort of other scenario, we’re all sales people so we’re always pitching something to someone.

If you’re a parent you’re pitching your ideas, your philosophy to your kids and you’re hoping that you do a better job at pitching your ideas and philosophies to your kids than the drug dealer down the road or the gangs up the street.

I won’t say we’re pitching every minute of our lives but we’re certainly spending a considerable amount of our lives pitching, and therefore, I think the Shark Tank scenario is really, really, really important.

As you know, they’re pitching and they’re doing it professionally and it’s worth millions of dollars to the pitcher—to the person doing the pitch if the investor takes them up.

So, I thought it was really worthwhile looking at the difference between the Shark Tank winners and the Shark Tank losers, if will, to see what’s the difference between a good pitch and a not-so-good pitch.

In 2016, there were 495 investors who came to Shark Tank and did their pitches, and of that, 253 people got the deal and 242 didn’t. It’s about a 50-50 split.

The organization that I work with The Science of People, through which I’m certified, looked at all those pitches in great detail and looked at three components of those pictures; body language, business strategies and the psychological effects.

Body language is a really important part of our communication, and sixty percent or more of our communication is through body language, the non-verbal. Over sixty percent is non-verbal.

  1. The first non-verbal component of our communication, the non-verbal component includes body language; so that’s facial expressions, gestures and posture – how you stand, how you walk etc.
  1. The second component of the non-verbal is your vocal tone, not what you say but how you say it. Timbre, pitch, cadence, how quickly you speak, etc.
  1. Then the third component is or are your ornaments; tie, necklace, jewellery, watches, rings, hat, what clothes you wear, style etc. 

So, that’s what was analysed. Let’s go through and have a look at some specifics on that.

First of all, I want to talk about mathematical problems.

64% of the ‘No’ deals had a math problem in the pitch, and 32% of the ‘Yes’ deals, only 32% of the ‘Yes’ deals, had a math problem in it. Do you see something here, a pattern perhaps?

If you’re pitching to someone and you include a mathematical problem, something for them to work out physically in their head or on a calculator, if there’s a Math problem involved, you’re only 1/3 as likely to have a ‘Yes’ response from the person that you’re pitching yourself to. It’s a good idea not to include Math problems.

The second thing is a grand entrance.

How you walk towards that person, how you present as you’re walking towards the person you’re pitching to is really important.

And specifically in Shark Tank, when the people doing the pitch came into the area where the Sharks were sitting, the bulk of the winners smiled and nodded as they were walking down the ‘runway.

So, when you’re approaching someone that you’re pitching to, it really is ultra-important that you smile and nod and not just when you get REALLY close to them. Start nodding and smiling when you’re well and truly just walking in – a long distance away – smile and nod.

Your ‘grand’ entrance is really important, and there are a number of TED talks on this topic and you can look up exactly how to make a grand entrance.

I’m going to suggest you nod to the people as you walk in, you have your hands visible and exposed, you stand square on both legs, shoulders back, erect, head up, chin up and that will make you look much, much, much more confident and therefore you’re more likely to be trusted.

Speaking of trust, we move on to factor number three.

Let me ask you this, what part of someone’s body do you notice first, or does anyone notice first when they’re approaching you?

When I ask that question in a in a forum, in front of a group where I’m doing some body language training, most of the time people say, “Oh, we notice their smile,” or, “We notice their eyes.”

Yes, you do notice the smile, you do notice their eyes, you do notice how they look and stand, but the first thing you notice is these hands, visible hands.

This goes back to our caveman days, and if you’re a cave man or a cave woman sitting around the fire looking after the kids and someone came over the hill a little distance away, the first thing you’d notice is were their hands empty or was there something in their hands like a club or a spear.

If their hands were hidden behind their back, your brain starts to scream at you, “They may have a club back there. They may not be trustworthy. Be careful.” So, this goes way, way back to caveman days.

Studies with juries in courtroom trials showed that when a defendant had his or her hands under the desk and the juries could not see those hands, the juries were more likely to regard that person as being guilty.

It’s really, really important that when you’re making your entrance that you keep your hands visible, and then when you’re directly communicating with that person, you have your hands visible as well – and also expressive.

These hand movements of mine, it’s just the way I’ve always done it a little too much. And I have, probably, jazz hands, I’m a little bit too all over the place with my hands, and it can be a little bit distracting.

The ideal place to have / use your hands is in a square box, about as wide as  shoulder width, in front of your torso, and you move your hands in that space. That is the ideal place to have your hands.

No hand movements at all are also very disconcerting. There’s quite a few good TED talks on this too, where they’ve studied the number of views of similar videos and similar TED talks and the people who get the highest number of TED talk ratings or watches, whatever you want to call it, have twice as many hand movements as similar topics in which there are not many hand movements.

Studies also show that when you examine the comprehension…so, let’s assume I’m a teacher or a lecturer, or we’re sitting around the table talking about whatever we’re talking about, and if I’m passing information on, and you were then examined on all that information at the end of the talk, if I’m using hand movements you’ll retain, comprehend, understand, internalize twice as much as if I don’t use my hands.

Using your hands almost adds an extra dimension and an extra layer of understanding to the communication, so it is really important to use your hands.

The number four strategy from the Shark Tank strategies was to be interactive.

When the person’s selling themselves to the Sharks, or selling their ideas to the Sharks, when they gave the Sharks something to do, something to taste, something to hold, something to feel, something to touch, when they engaged the Sharks – now 81% of the winners were interactive with the Sharks.

Same thing for you, when you’re pitching yourself, pitching ideas, whether that’s to your employees, to whether that’s to your co-workers, whether that’s to your kids, be interactive.

The fifth thing they found out was that the more successful pitchers has a story behind the pitch.

The story is king, and your story is too…and if you’re pitching yourself to, say, a bank or an organization like that, tell your story about why you would be a good relationship for them to have, what brought you to where you are and why they should agree with you etc.

If you’re selling yourself in a job interview, and that’s a pitch, again tell your story.

The take-home message is to find a story, tell the story, engage the person or the people that you’re talking to with that story. It works really, really, really well, and it will increase your ‘sales’, if you want to call it that.

Number six is confidence.

There are some studies that were done by Harvard Business School, and these are really interesting studies.

They took a number of young men and women, and they asked them to sit for job interviews. Now, these job interviews were actually mock interviews, but the young adults, teenagers early 20s, they thought that was sitting for a real job interview.

The Harvard Business School asked the interviewers, to judge these young people on their overall performance, on their presence and on their likeability, trustability, that sort of thing.

The young people were broken up into two groups — so, this is all about confidence, remember…

One group was asked to stand for two minutes in a power body-language pose, so a power pose. That’s standing like Superman or Batwoman; take up space have a big physical presence. You can do it in the bathroom for example, where no one could see you, you can even get an old style broadsheet newspaper and hold it out like you’re reading it, that’s having exactly the same ‘power’ stance.

Half the people were asked to stand in a stance like that, and that was their preparation for the interview.

The other half weren’t told to do anything specific.

All three ratings were much, much, much higher in the young people that had stood in the power pose, or power stance for two minutes than the other group.

Their hire-ability, their credibility, their trust-ability, their presence went up exponentially when they stood in a power pose for two minutes.

This is how simple this stuff is….

If you’re going to have a meeting with someone, whatever that meetings happen happens to be for, whether it’s for a job interview, whether it’s talking with an employee, whether it’s talking with the client for that matter, or if you’re say a car salesman, stand like this for two minutes, and you will make more sales, you will be more credible, you will get more information across. This is a really, really, really important strategy for you to use.

Obviously, if you walk into the meeting in a power pose or power stance, that would be a little bit socially aggressive, so you probably shouldn’t do that.

Once you’re in that meeting, you should stand in what is called a ‘presenter’s stance, or a launch stance’.

A presenter’s stance is what I described earlier, feet shoulder-width apart, head back, chest up, shoulders back and down and standing equally and comfortably – balanced on both feet.

The next strategy that was looked at was powerful voice.

There are a couple of things here that are really important with respect to your voice.

The first thing is to avoid what’s called the question inflection. Let me give you an example; we’ll do a pricing one, “The price is sixty five dollars?” (rising intonation at end of phrase). Versus, “The price is sixty five dollars.” (flat intonation)

So, the second way, “The price is sixty-five dollars.” I had a flat intonation, so that’s a neutral intonation.

The first example I said with a rising inflection, “The price is sixty five dollars?”

That doesn’t sound very credible, it’s an upward inflection at the end of the phrase, and it’s almost like I’m asking you, “Are you alright with the $65 price?”

Use a neutral inflection; don’t use a rising tonality or the questioning tonality at the end. Unfortunately this is something we see a lot in Australia, maybe you see it in your country as well.

The next thing to having a powerful voice is to learn to speak on the out-breath.

When you speak on the out-breath, you have more emphasis, more power more volume to your voice.

The third thing with the voice is to use the lowest natural tone that you can.

I’ll use myself as an example, and even though I’m aware of all this, I still fall into the same trap on a regular basis.

When I get excited my voice just goes up a little bit and it makes me lose credibility.

Bring you voice down to the lowest range that works for you and speak on the out-breath using a flat tonality and you’ve got three of the four points of a powerful voice tone.

The last thing is to use emotionality.

A powerful speaker uses emotions to engage your audience and the people that are listening to you.

The next thing is to be relevant.

By being relevant, I mean finding common ground.

If you can elicit from the person that you’re working with or talking with or talking to, if you can find some common ground, then that’s really going to help bond you to them, bond them to you and have a better outcome.

For example, if you are wearing the same watch that they are, you might point that out. If they have some fantastic jewellery or a tie of a certain kind, and you like that, point that out. If during that conversation, they say that they like going on skiing holidays in Switzerland and you like skiing but you’ve only done Japan, point that sort of thing out.

The more common ground you can find, the more likeable, trustable and credible you’ll be.

There are more, but these are the main tips that come out of the Shark Tank studies.

I’ll redo this video at some stage and go into a lot more depth. I’ve just picked the highlights or the high points and I’ve tried to pick the ones that are quick and easy for you to apply.

If YOU want to be a more powerful speaker, face to face, if you want to get your ideas across more quickly and easily, develop trust, rapport, credibility and have the person you are talking to be engaged with your more, these are the tips and the clues that will make that happen.

I’ll see on the next video.


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