Joe, a friend of my power messaging coach, found out how things can get really weird in sales, a few years ago.

He had sent his top salesperson, Sara, to close what seemed to be a rather straightforward sale. They were the top-rated agency for the service, and Joe knew the buyer, Paul. Yet, after four meetings, Sara was no closer to making the sale.

So, Joe set up a meeting with Paul, and closed the deal. Over lunch Joe asked him why he was not willing to close the deal. Was there something that Sara missed? Paul’s answer was priceless – “Sara is fine Joe, but she reminded me of my ex-wife!”

Sending the right salesperson to your prospect can make or break the sale. So, do you roll the dice, choose the next available person and hope it works out? Or is there a more reliable way in which you can choose?

Amy Cuddy, in her Ted Talk, explains how striking a power-pose enables you to “fake it, till you become it”. But there was another nugget there.  When you strike a pose, the other person usually takes on a complementing or opposite pose.  And that makes all the difference.

If you present using overtly dominant (or power) poses, the viewer tends to shrink into his chair; and when you use relatively submissive poses, the viewer tends to compensate with a more powerful posture. Of course, if you are very diffident, you will come across as someone not confident in his service or product, and that is not the path you want to take.

But within reasonable range, the pose you strike can influence your counterpart to take a complementary (or opposite) pose. Though NLP practitioners urge you to mimic the pose of the other person, soon people default to the counter-pose.

Amy Cuddy and her fellow researchers found that striking a power pose for five minutes increased the risk-taking ability, as it elevates testosterone and lowers cortisol (the stress hormone). They also found that striking a low-power pose (making yourself small, shrinking in your seat…), elevated the stress hormone while lowering risk taking behaviour and testosterone.

So, if you are sending a salesperson to a prospect who has to change the way things are working in order to buy from you – in other words, take a risk by choosing you – then sending a person who will make them feel more powerful is the way to go.  So, send an introvert, who by their nature, are more likely to win in such situations since their poses make the other party (your prospect) take on a more dominant pose, and increases their risk-taking behaviour.

But if you are sending a salesperson to persuade your client to continue with you, you will be better off sending an extrovert. If you already have a relationship manager, who is an introvert, you are better-off sending an extrovert to anchor the presentation while the relationship manager observes.

It is perhaps a reason why ambiverts are more successful in sales (Dan Pink, To Sell is Human). They have the ability to be introverted or extroverted based on the context, and therefore able to sell in both situations.

What have you observed in your sales calls? Have you seen very quiet people making a sale, where flamboyant people have failed? I would love to hear from you.  Note : This article was originally published on LinkedIn  

Ramesh Dorairaj

Ramesh Dorairaj is consultant, coach and an author. He has 27+ Years of Experience consulting for Fortune 500 companies worldwide. He has groomed 50+ leaders. Has participated in 2.5 Billion $ worth of successful deals.  He is a Certified Executive Coach at Marshall Goldsmith Stakeholder Centered Coaching, Certified Sales Coach and a Certified Proposal Coach.

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