July 15

Did You Bring Your Face to the Sales Meeting?


A recent Fourth of July break helped me find inspiration and themes for my blog/vlog.

Vacation is when you engage with salespeople and service people. You eat at a restaurant, you rent a kayak or you buy a souvenir. These are different experiences with one common denominator between an average customer experience or a great one: 

A person’s facial expression!

In the above scenarios, a person is either present and pleasant, or absent and annoyed. Their facial expression communicates whether or not they are happy to help or feel it’s a hindrance to do so.   

In the emotional intelligence world, this communication is referred to as “emotional expression.” It is a person’s ability to connect and relate to others using verbal and nonverbal skills. A picture paints a thousand words and a salesperson’s face tells a prospect or customer one of two stories: 

  • I am really engaged OR
  • I’m just here, checking off the conversation boxes. 

Salespeople conduct sales meetings in a variety of ways. Video calls or a combination of video, telephone and face to face. Regardless of the medium, it’s easy to make a common mistake in sales.

Salespeople forget to bring their face to the sales call.

During coaching sessions, sales managers focus on what a salesperson is going to say and do. Often, they forget to focus on the salesperson’s facial expression.

For example, I’ve observed sales calls where a salesperson has what my colleague Julie Hansen calls, “resting video face.” The salesperson was taking notes, not smiling or changing their facial expression even after a prospect shared a pain point. This selling behavior lowers rapport, which decreases trust and close ratios.

What can you do to improve your “resting face?”

#1. Practice. All. The. Time. When standing in line at the grocery store, practice having a pleasant look on your face. Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” Practice being an excellent communicator. Practice looking friendly and approachable.  Practice being present.

During your group sales meetings, practice. Practice being present and attentive to your team members. Stop answering emails and texts. Don’t let the comfort of knowing your peers allow you to collapse into resting face mode. 

If you are attending a sales training course, practice having an attentive face. More than once, I’ve asked participants if the face I was looking at was the same one they brought to sales calls. Because if it was, no amount of skill training is going to improve their sales!

#2. Incorporate the use of proper facial expressions into your sales role plays. Instead of just listening to the verbal conversation, see if the salesperson’s facial expression is congruent with what they’re saying.

For example, when a prospect shares a pain point, does the salesperson’s facial expression and tonality change to reflect true concern and empathy? Or do they look like a robot when replying, “That has to be difficult.”

The salesperson might be saying all the right words. However, their facial expression and tonality shout, “I don’t really understand or care.”

Bring your face to the sales call. It’s an important skill that increases rapport, trust and closed business.  

Good Selling!


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