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

Paul Archer is the founder and Managing Director of Archer Training Ltd, a specialist training provider that brings practical sales and coaching skills to financial services firms. Paul has published 8 books and is a regular blogger and YouTuber - and can be contacted at

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