Episode 46: Body Language Expert Nancy Ganzekaufer

Having trouble closing sales with potential clients? It may be because you’re gazing towards their nose more than their foreheads. (Whaaa?) Today we’re psyched to bring you business coach and certified body language expert Nancy Ganzekaufer, whose tips on using body language – and reading body-language – will open your eyes to the hidden meanings behind seemingly insignificant behaviors.

Episode 46 Show Notes

Key Takeaways:

  • [6:13] The unique business model of interior design calls for a coach that is specific to that niche but at the same time, a lot of the principles apply to any service-based business. Niche is rich, broad is broke!
  • [6:51] A lot of our listeners are in the process of thinking about transitioning from one career to interior design. With that, we asked Nancy Ganzekaufer to share her career transition to coaching
  • [7:15] Out of college, she went right into banking and rose through the ranks to first vice president managing three different departments
  • [7:43] Soon after, she started having kids which we all know can derail our lives quite a bit. After her second child, she decided to get out of the banking industry and become a stay-at-home mom for 2 years
  • [8:13] She then went back to Hofstra University and became a personal fitness instructor. She started a business training other moms in her gym basement for about three and a half years until she got pregnant with her third child
  • [11:21] Two years after, her mother, an artist, sent her all her artwork. She started holding art parties at friends’ houses asking them to invite their friends and families. She would work 60 hours and not get paid a lot. But it was fun and it’s what eventually led to her lightbulb moment of working with interior designers
  • [12:45] One day, an interior designer who went to one of the parties told her one of her clients would love one of the art pieces. She realized her ideal client are interior designers and honed in on that niche
  • [14:07] Finding and identifying your ideal client is only the first step. How you get into the conversation is the key. You have to be where they congregate and where they search 
  • [15:30] After running her art, framing, and accessories business for over 17 years, she stopped and really thought about what people were coming to her for. As she thought back to all the times she gave advice to designers on hard topics, she had another light bulb moment
  • [16:01] She realized that with her skills in sales, marketing, and running profitable businesses, she can teach interior designers and other service-based entrepreneurs how to run their businesses 
  • [18:39] When dealing with naysayers, it’s all about having grit and tenacity and turning it into motivation
  • [20:42] However, others feel like they need permission to do the things that they want and that is very much rooted in real-life experiences. It takes a lot of deep digging and shifting your mindset, but it’s something that everyone can unlearn
  • [22:15] A great thing about coaching is that when you’re coaching other people, you’re reinforcing the message to yourself 
  • [23:39] We send social signals to other people all the time, not just through facial expressions but your full body language – hand gestures, where your feet are facing, what your hands are doing, where your eyes are looking, whether you’re smiling or tilting your head 
  • [27:43] Body language can put you at an advantage when you’re dealing with clients 
  • [28:12] It goes both ways – understanding body language is helpful in reading other people to know what’s in their minds but it’s also important so that you can present yourself in the best way
  • [28:57] Eye contact is very important. When you’re looking into someone’s eyes you are connecting with them. Start to see which you default to and whether it’s serving you well in your life. There are three types of eye contact: 
    • [30:00] The social gaze: Designers tend to default to this one. The “I want to be your friend” gaze, which is when you look in their eyes and you let your eyes wander in a downward triangle to your eyes
    • [31:18] The power gaze: Your gaze never floats below eye level, you let it float upward to the tip of the forehead. Doing this will subconsciously put you in a leadership and power position with the person you’re speaking to
    • [32:01] The intimate gaze: This starts at the eye level and the triangle goes down all the way to the base of the neck
  • [33:51] Notice how you’re gazing but also encode your own body language on other people
  • [34:08] You want to see how other people are looking at you. Often men are power gazers to women and men they’re negotiating with. You want to take note when someone’s power gazing at you, you want to power gaze back. You’ll be more likely to close a deal using this too
  • [35:16] There are ways to equalize height differences. You can ask them to sit down, step back further, turn to the side or even leaning up against the table
  • [36:51] When designers complain about clients making them jump through hoops, you have to remember that you are in charge of the process. Your clients have to come in to your process and not the other way around 
  • [37:25] There’s oxytocin released when you make eye contact with someone. You want to make sure you make eye contact within the first 5-10 minutes you go into a client’s house 
  • [37:50] Make sure your feet are facing them. If you want to see if someone wants to get out of a conversation with you, check where their feet are facing 
  • [38:36] Haptics, or the power of touch, was key prior to COVID. For example, if a waiter would touch a patron appropriately while asking if everything was okay, oxytocin would be released
  • [39:14] If you can’t shake someone’s hand, make sure to give them a wave. Have free hands when you walk through a door. Make sure that you’re not walking in carrying a lot of things
  • [39:28] Trust indicators start with your hands
  • [40:11] Though, you do have to baseline people and take a look at the circumstances before you make assumptions 
  • [41:32] When you’re meeting a client and you’re coming in carrying a lot of things, leave it at the door or set it down immediately once you’re inside. When they open the door, wave and smile to establish trust
  • [42:24] The most watched TED Talks have 465 hand gestures. The least watched have 272
  • [42:39] Part of being attractive in video is being lively. You can’t just sit there and talk at the camera — use your hands
  • [43:15] When you enumerate options, hold up fingers to count them.  Even when talking about your “good, better, best” use the appropriate hand gestures to show the levels with your hands. This allows them to cognitively absorb what you’re saying
  • [45:27] If your hand gestures are not congruent with what you’re saying, you’re confusing people
  • [47:14] When it comes to detecting red flags, be careful not to assume people are lying if they do certain gestures. You have to remember to baseline people
  • [48:22] If you’re handing them your contract or proposal in person and they take it and look at it but then put it down on the table and push it forward, is a sign of subconsciously rejecting it 
  • [49:17] If they hold it down or press it down and keep it close to them, that means they’re pretty happy with it
  • [50:29] Another example of congruency to watch out for: If someone is saying “no” their head should be shaking right to left, but if they’re kind of nodding is a red flag
  • [51:55] Body language is helpful with dealing with clients but it applies to so many other areas in your life too. You can study it through watching politicians on the news, or even dating shows 
  • [53:24] You have to be careful not to make decisions based on only your first time meeting someone. People’s body language could also just be personal habits
  • [55:05] Learning how to read people and body language appropriately is a piece of the puzzle that you can use to your success

Resources Shared



Hey Designer! Grab Your FREE Mini Business Toolkit to run your business like a rockstar.

DGC_JeffJonesPhoto-110

Get Your FREE Mini Business Toolkit

Inside you'll find an Install Day Box Checklist; a handy reference guide with Typical Design Project Hours; our favorite design and business tools we use, and more. Grab it right here - you'll also get in on our weekly emails with info about the latest podcast episodes.