We all know the importance of non-verbal communication, and the body language used throughout your spa or clinic can make or break the relationships you have with your clients. Of course, body language habits should change as the relationship with each client evolves from first-time to regular, but demonstrating warm, inviting body language and facial cues is arguably most important during the initial greeting stages and throughout a client’s first visit.
Even if your words are kind and warm, if your body language is cold and unwelcoming, most clients are sure to sense it, feeling a subconscious air of unease and subsequently not be so keen to return. So how can we impress new clients using body language?
Don’t forget to smile. This is customer service 101, but what type of smile are you offering? Many clients can see right through a fake smile or “Duchenne smile,” where only the corners of your mouth turn upward, and perceive you as disingenuous. So engage those orbicularis oculis, flash some teeth if you’d like, and offer clients a genuine smile they (and you) can feel good about.
Focus on your eye contact. Your goal is to reassure your client that you are interested, engaged and listening to what they have to say. However, avoid staring, as you don’t want to make clients feel uneasy and many people are naturally uncomfortable with eye contact. 60-75% eye contact is an appropriate level for most new clients.
Listening cues are crucial, so your clients know you’re paying close attention. These include nodding, head tilting, and leaning (just a little) towards them. But don’t pay too close attention to what your body is doing, as you may run the risk of zoning out and actually not paying attention to your client!
Keep an eye on your posture. This should demonstrate both professionalism and engagement. Positioning yourself as the confident, attentive leader you are can be done by standing up straight with your shoulders back, with feet and legs flat and weight evenly distributed. Leaning or resting feet across one another can, to some, seem informal to the point of disrespectful. Relax shoulders – stiffness can appear tense and nervous.
Avoid looking restless. Keep your hands from fidgeting, as this can appear that you are anxious, distracted or bored. They should also be kept out of pockets, which can often come across as disrespectful. Avoid touching or playing with your hair, or fidgeting with objects you may be holding such as pens. Sure, you should never appear zombie-like, but there is a sense of quiet professionalism in stillness.
Don’t close down clients. ‘Closing down’ movements include crossing arms and legs, closed fists and pointing. Maintain welcoming, open movements, including open arms and hands, and gestures made with open, upwards-facing palms.
Respect personal space. Nervous clients in particular won’t feel too comfortable in close quarters, so ensure you always respect personal space and leave enough room between you.
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