The Negotiator Magazine

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During the selling process, some people have difficulty saying “no” and will actually tell you that they are interested in order to avoid potential conflict. As the pressure of making a decision builds, prospects will frequently use half-truths or lies to either stall or disengage from the selling sequence. While your prospect's words say “yes,” his or her body language indicates “no way.” By being able to recognize the inconsistency between your prospect's words and his or her gestures, it is often possible to flush out concerns, overcome their objections and make the sale.

See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

Eye, nose and mouth movement, along with hand gestures, are the four major nonverbal cues typically associated with lying. The statue of the Three Wise Monkeys accurately depicts the primary hand-to-face gestures associated with deceit. When a person is doubtful or lying, they'll often use their fingers to block their mouth as if they were filtering their words. This hand-to-mouth gesture is commonly referred to as “speak no evil.” The second hand gesture associated with deceit is called “see no evil,” and it occurs when a person rubs or touches his or her eye(s). The third hand gesture “hear no evil” is displayed when a person covers or drills a finger into his or her ear(s).

If people use one of these gestures while they're talking, it indicates that they are being deceitful. On the other hand, if they are displaying one of these gestures while someone else is talking it indicates that they doubt the truthfulness of what is being said. These three gestures should be considered red flags. When you encounter one of these gestures during your presentation, it is a good idea to gently probe the subject matter with open-ended questions to encourage your prospect to voice his or her concern.

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April 2006