NLP and body language buying signals


It was on the fourth floor in the Boardroom in Mayfair on a cold November morning. My client was presenting to a small group of buyers and she had asked me to observe and give her some feedback on her presentation skills.

She was fluent, polished, an effective PowerPoint deck visualising the concepts but one thing she hadn’t noticed. The group of buyers were ready to buy. I could tell it, they body language had leaked positively (more about this shortly), their gestures had moved to a buying state. They wanted to buy and my client just continued.

Thankfully nothing was lost, however her continued presentation did spur an awkward question which she managed to salvage. If however, she’d had recognised they were ready to buy her presentation would’ve been much quicker.

I’ve seen it many times where salespeople get caught up in their pitch and omit to look for buying signals. NLP can help.

NLP says that the person with the most flexibility in behaviour will win.

Peripheral vision
This is a technique to practice right now. Most of us use foveal vision in other words we lock onto people’s faces and eyes. This is down to our training. Still give people eye contact of course, match the same amount of eye contact they give you builds the rapport but go peripheral.

To practice this you may wish to sit down comfortably and look at a spot on the wall in front of you. Focus on this spot and let your peripheral vision move your gaze to your left and right. Don’t move your head or your focus but let the brain go peripheral. It has a relaxing side effect as well as allowing you to see all of someone rather than just their eyes.

And you need to do this for the next step – calibrate.

When I meet a client for the first time I’m going to take a snapshot of what they look like, sound like, their normal gestures and posture. I’m calibrating their physiology when they are relaxed, with an inquisitive state of mine maybe. I then make a mental note.

Awful phrase, and I’m referring to physiology leakage. In other words, they’ve changed or leaked from how they normally look or sound. This is where you look for your next steps. NLP says that the person with the most flexibility in behaviour will win.

I have an imaginary traffic light on people’s heads. Leakage causes the traffic light to change. When it’s green all is well and I continue. When it’s amber or green, I’ll pause and enquire if here’s a problem or if they have questions. Naturally I’m looking for leakage to show me their new state of mind.

Positive leakage can be:

  • Slowly learning forward from a backward position
  • Slow head nod
  • Opening up the body, removing folded arms
  • Hands to face in a thinking gesture
  • Pupil dilation – you’ve got to be close for this
  • Voice tone quickens with excitement
  • Smiles and reassuring nods
  • Looking through visual aids and putting them down with a smile

If you see these, or some of them, then the leakage is telling you that they may be ready to move forward, ask them if everything is ok. For visuals ask “how is this all looking” if auditory “how does this all sound” for kinos “how does this feel” for digitals “Does this all make sense”

And if you get a positive reaction to these test closes, close.

If you would like to assess your observation of leakage here is a free resource. Head to:

Watch the video and then you should go to the online questionnaire which can be competed and your results available immediately. Very interesting indeed.


About Author

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Paul Archer is an Online Sales Trainer, Speaker and Conference Host. He’d be happy to assist you in moving your workshops online during this challenging period. Email him on or LinkIn with him at The world of sales development has changed, many have missed this and boldly go on to run courses in the old-fashioned way. You want to develop your people – professional advisers, salespeople, coaches - and know there is a better way. He can help you. Think about music. I mean the music industry. In 2000 music became free, illegally at first with Napster, downloads became cheap as chips and streaming now cost $10 a month. In the same way, traditional self-development is now free. Everything is available online. Music artists and bands now make their money performing live. The live experience is what fans will pay money for. Recorded music is merely to create demand for the live experience. He brings his 35+ years of sales expertise and experience to you in two ways: Online, on-demand, just in time. He doesn’t run “just in case” training courses, they’re a thing of the past. Development should be “just in time”. Curated video, live videocasts and webinars, podcasts — books, articles and blog posts delivered via his Learning Platforms, YouTube or your in-house systems. Live. He can bring his expertise to your teams in live sessions, but these are rare now and need to be exceptional events. Conferences, seminars and events, he can educate, entertain them with my unique speaking style that has been enjoyed by thousands of sale people and advisers across the globe. Forty-five minutes, 2 hours, maybe a day – you choose. You figured there was a better way to develop your sales teams, you are right, and now you may want to make contact with him so you can talk further. You can Linkin with him at, and he’ll start a conversation or head to his YouTube Channel for more at email him at or phone him on +44 7702 341769, and where ever you are in the world he’d love to hear from you. Paul is a prolific writer and blogger – maintaining three blogs, with attracting thousands of hits from all over the world. He has published eight books. His latest tome "Pocketbook of Presentation Skills” was released in January 2020 and is available from Amazon. The third edition of his book “Train the Trainer of the 21st Century” is also available from Amazon.

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