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The Science of Trust-Building: Using Nonverbal Cues in Online Customer Meetings

Sinem Ünal

Sinem Ünal

24 Apr 2023

A cartoon man confidently holds a clipboard and check mark, symbolizing successful online customer meetings and enhanced relationships.

As we endeavor to cultivate robust client relationships, it is essential to consider the evolution of our key touchpoints with clients over time. Amidst these changes, one constant that remains paramount is trust. The process of establishing trust is a critical component of customer meetings, as it is a pivotal step towards building long-lasting relationships, boosting customer satisfaction, and fostering unwavering loyalty. In fact, studies show that a whopping 81% of customers are inclined to transact with a company that they perceive as trustworthy.

How trust affects customer decision-making processes?

Effective trust-building practices can have a profound impact on a salesperson's success. Consider the following benefits:

  • Closing sales: A salesperson who inspires confidence in their customers can establish a foundation of trust that encourages comfortable purchasing decisions.
  • Customer retention: By providing an exemplary customer experience, salespeople can cultivate a relationship that fosters return business.
  • Reputation: Trustworthiness is a rare and valuable commodity in today's crowded marketplace. Salespeople known for their dependability can attract new customers and generate positive word-of-mouth.
  • Differentiation: Establishing a reputation as a trustworthy salesperson can set you apart from the competition. In an industry where honesty is often hard to come by, a trustworthy salesperson can become a sought-after commodity.
  • Long-term partnerships: Trust is the cornerstone of long-term business relationships. A salesperson who can consistently demonstrate their trustworthiness has the potential to cultivate ongoing business relationships and generate new client referrals.

How to build trust in online customer meetings?

In our current digital era, where physical interactions have become less common, the mastery of nonverbal communication during online customer meetings has become a crucial factor in establishing trust. Research has revealed that as much as 93% of communication is nonverbal, highlighting the significant impact of factors such as body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions on how a salesperson is perceived by their customers. Salespeople who have a firm grasp of how nonverbal cues influence trust are better positioned to foster stronger customer relationships and close more deals. By exploring the role of trust in customer decision-making processes and analyzing the impact of nonverbal communication on trust-building, salespeople can gain valuable insights into enhancing their sales effectiveness.

Use nonverbal communication to build trust

In the current digital era, it has become increasingly necessary to adapt to the new norms of online meetings and hone personal skills to ensure effective communication. A salesperson's proficiency in holding virtual meetings and mastering nonverbal communication skills are now integral components of managing customer relationships online.

When conveying messages through verbal communication is insufficient, nonverbal communication takes center stage. Nonverbal cues such as facial expressions, eye contact, active listening, and body language are vital because they convey genuine emotions and intentions, establishing trust between individuals. In online customer meetings, nonverbal communication is crucial as it allows participants to interpret reactions and comprehend emotions, often before any words are spoken.

The renowned UCLA professor Albert Mehrabian developed a 7-38-55 formula to elucidate the significance of nonverbal communication in effective communication. He categorized communication into three fundamental components:

  • 7% spoken words
  • 38% tone of voice
  • 55% body language

Tips for using nonverbal communication in online meetings

To enhance your online customer meetings, paying close attention to nonverbal communication cues is essential. Here are some helpful tips for mastering the art of nonverbal communication:

  1. Camera presence: Ensure that your camera angle is appropriate and you are fully visible on-screen to create a sense of presence and connection with your customers.
  2. Eye contact: Maintain eye contact by looking directly into the camera, conveying confidence and attentiveness.
  3. Gestures and expressions: Use hand gestures and facial expressions to communicate enthusiasm, interest, and empathy.
  4. Posture: Demonstrate engagement and attentiveness through good posture, which conveys professionalism and confidence.
  5. Tone of voice: Speak clearly and with intention to convey your message effectively without being too monotone or robotic.
  6. Nod and smile: Show that you are engaged and actively listening by nodding and smiling, which helps create a positive and comfortable atmosphere.
  7. Virtual background: Choose a virtual background that is professional and non-distracting to avoid any visual distractions during the meeting.

Remember to be authentic and let your personality shine through, as customers appreciate genuine interactions that help build trust and strong relationships.

Spiky's Nonverbal Cues

Spiky's advanced nonverbal analysis capabilities allow for a comprehensive analysis of customer interactions, incorporating a range of factors such as tone of voice, talking ratio, patience, facial expressions, and emotions. By combining these nonverbal cues with the verbal content of customer conversations, Spiky can provide in-depth insights into customers' underlying emotions, attitudes, and intentions, empowering sales reps to communicate more effectively and increase their sales effectiveness.

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https://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1688093/FULLTEXT01.pdf

https://hbr.org/2012/10/how-to-build-trust-in-virtual

https://tigerhall.com/resources/learning-and-development/client-meetings-make-them-trust-you

https://www.lifesize.com/blog/speaking-without-words/#:~:text=These studies led Dr.,is “nonverbal” in nature.

https://voip.review/2021/02/08/importance-nonverbal-communication-virtual-environment/

https://hbr.org/2022/06/3-ways-marketers-can-earn-and-keep-customer-trust

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