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  • Writer's pictureDr Raewyn Sleeman

How to Win Customers with the Right Body Language: A Simple Guide for Micro Business Owners

Updated: Oct 18, 2023

Running a business is all about connecting with customers. But did you know that what researchers call "nonverbal dominance" can make a big difference in winning customers over?

This term might sound intimidating, but it's not about being bossy or overbearing. It's about showing the right mix of confidence and warmth through things like body language, the way you tilt your head, or even the clothes you wear.

Recent research by Lasarov, Wassili, Ulrich R. Orth, Jochen Wirtz, and Mirjam Holm (2023) in the Journal of Business Research explores this concept, also known as nonverbal dominance. They found that finding the right balance in how you present yourself can make a big difference in persuading customers. Here's what they found and how you can apply it to your micro business.

Understand Your Audience

If you run a tech repair shop, your customers might value competence more. Show them you know what you're doing by speaking confidently and using technical terms they understand.

Train Your Team

Hold a workshop to teach your café staff how to stand tall and make eye contact with customers. This can make them appear more confident and capable without seeming unfriendly.

Adapt to Different Customers

If you own a spa, you might use a softer tone and more relaxed body language with a couple on a romantic getaway, but a more authoritative tone with a business client booking a team retreat.

Use Social Media Wisely

If you run a daycare centre, use warm and friendly images and language on your Facebook page to show that you provide a loving environment for children.

Monitor and Adjust

If you have a small clothing store, ask customers for feedback on your sales approach. If they feel pressured, you might need to dial back the dominance in your sales pitch.

Consider Digital Tools

If you have a website chatbot for your gardening business, design it with a friendly tone and helpful tips. It should reflect the caring and knowledgeable service you provide in person.

Be Mindful of Cultural and Gender Sensitivities

If you run a multicultural hair salon, recognise that different cultures might respond differently to assertiveness. Train your stylists to read customers' cues and adapt their approach accordingly.


The key takeaway from the research is that how you communicate nonverbally can make a big difference in persuading customers. For a micro business owner, this means understanding what your customers value and finding the right balance in how you present yourself and your business.

Whether it's through body language, social media, or even a chatbot, the way you communicate can help you connect with your customers and grow your business. It's not about being the loudest voice in the room; it's about being the voice that resonates with your customers.


Lasarov, Wassili, Ulrich R. Orth, Jochen Wirtz, and Mirjam Holm, (2023), “Exploring the Nonlinear Influence of Nonverbal Dominance in Marketing Communicators: Instrumental Outcomes, Social Outcomes, and Persuasion”, Journal of Business Research, forthcoming.


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