TIP 7: Avoid Eye Contact.

Everyone knows eye contact is a sure sign of flirtation.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned's Hand Over HIs Eyes

“In my peripheral vision, I can see that a customer needs my attention — but I’m busy doing my own thing. Besides, I don’t want to get involved in some lengthy conversation with him or spend a lot of time looking for his item in the storeroom. If I avoid eye contact, he may even go away. How great for me, right? That means I can go back to reading my magazine and texting my friends.”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“Have you ever gone on a date with someone who avoided looking at you? I bet it didn’t end well. Making eye contact establishes a connection. In order for someone to trust and believe in you, you must look that person in the eye. Having eye contact also shows self-assurance, which gives the customer more confidence in you and your company’s product or service. If your eyes are constantly darting around, the customer does not feel like her needs are important. She certainly will not feel special or cared for and will likely find it tough to trust you.

Whenever you meet new people, observe their eye contact. Many people have wandering eyes. While you talk, pay attention to whom you’re talking. Is she making eye contact with you, or is she looking at every other person that walks by? If she can’t focus on you for a few seconds, she probably won’t focus on your needs as a client. Eye contact and focusing on the person you are speaking to are crucial in building relationships and trust.”

A Real World Example

I was on my way to conduct a seminar in New York, and I checked into a hotel after a day’s long flight across the country. When I walked up to the counter, the clerk continued to stare at his computer screen. After a few seconds, and without looking up, he asked, “Checking in?” I turned around to make sure no one was behind me — how could I tell if he was talking to me? We proceeded through the entire transaction without ever making eye contact. I felt neglected, unworthy and unwelcome. Although he wasn’t hostile, I sure didn’t feel like he cared about my business. After I checked out the next day, I asked the shuttle-bus driver about that individual. It turned out that the employee who checked me in the previous day was the front desk supervisor! Based on his unacceptable behavior, I couldn’t help but wonder what the rest of the staff was like. You can bet I won’t be staying at that hotel when I return to New York.

Moral to the story: If you want to alienate your customers, avoid looking at them.

Strategies to Turn This Around

Make eye contact.

  1. Make eye contact throughout the transaction.
  2. If you must look away for an extended period of time, inform the customer that you have to look away, but you’re still paying attention.
  3. If you feel uncomfortable looking in customers’ eyes, look at a point between them. It’s close enough for the purpose of establishing contact.


Remember: Eye contact builds trust. Do it!

“Good eye contact cuts physical distance in half.”

— Debbie Bailey

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

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