In some professions more than others, what you say really matters--even when you might not be conscious of it. With its focus on communication with others, sales are a huge sector where what you say--or what your body says when you're not aware of it--matters the most.

Check out the three body language errors salespeople habitually make that make them look really unprofessional. And, if you're a salesperson, learn how to avoid them when you're trying to close your next deal.

1. Slouching

Emotions--especially strong ones--always show up immediately in our bodies. When we feel happy or excited about a product, it's easy to tell without the person saying a thing. Enthusiastic salespeople stand erect, with their shoulders back and back straight, exuding confidence about whatever it is they're trying to sell. Those who are less enthused about a product hunch over more, even slouching as a reflection of the negative feelings they feel about the product or service they're selling. If your body doesn't project enthusiasm to your customers, then they won't feel enthusiastic about buying anything from you.

2. Not paying enough attention

When you're distracted from your buyer, you're detracting from the main focal point of the conversation--the person you wish to convince to buy your what you're selling. Make sure that, through your body language, the buyer knows that you are invested in them. Lean into the conversation and be an active and involved listener. Don't do all the talking! Sometimes, even though you may be acting like you're tuned in, your body language may give you away. When we zone out, we may resort to sporadic kicking or random shrugging to show our indifference. Be careful that your own limbs aren't sending out the signal that you're uninterested in your buyer.

3. Bad eye contact

Purposefully avoiding eye contact is one sign of dishonesty--and your buyers might take it as such if you aren't careful. Salespeople in particular should make clear, direct eye contact with their customers to show their genuine intentions. When you don't, you're sending a clear message to your customers that they shouldn't trust what you say. And, as every salesperson knows, great selling relationships depend on building trust with customers.

Published on: Feb 16, 2017
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.