Finding the Hidden Message in Your Prospect's Handshake

How to Make a Good First Impression by Finding the Hidden Message in Your Prospect's Handshake

More than just physical contact, a handshake conveys a wealth of psychological information. Read top 10 handshake types and what they reveal about your client or prospect.

More than just physical contact, a handshake conveys a wealth of psychological information.

We walk away from a handshake saying things like, "You know, I just felt real comfortable with her" or "I don't know why, but I simply don't trust that guy."

Most people don't spend time probing the depths of this unconscious communication. They just have a "feeling," or a sense that their "intuition" is telling them something. However, there are things we can use as sales professionals by looking a little more closely at the experience.

Top 10 Handshake Types – And What They Reveal About Your Client or Prospect

1. Sweaty Palms –. When a person is nervous their sympathetic nervous system often becomes overactive, sometimes resulting in sweaty palms. Do what you can to put this individual at ease.

2. Dead Fish - Indifferent handshakes that feel like the person has no bones in their hand often indicate a passive or reserved personality. This handshake ranks as the number two least favored. Individuals with this type of clasp are generally not people-focused. Knowing this, you can tailor your presentation to de-emphasize the people aspect and focus more on the mechanical or thing-focused benefits. Exceptions to this rule might be musicians and surgeons whose livelihood depends on sensitive hands and who are therefore reluctant to open up to a bone crusher.

3. Brush Off – This handshake type is a quick grasp and then a release that feels like your hand being shoved aside. This handshake is a statement of "it's my turf and my agenda that matters, yours doesn't." Listen first to what the person wants before talking about your ideas for them.

4. Controller – You feel your hand being pulled toward the person or strongly guided in a different direction, perhaps towards a chair. People who do this are controllers. This means they want to dominate any inanimate or animate object in the room (and that would include you). If your goals are different than theirs there may be challenges ahead. Do more listening than talking and see if you can find common ground so these individuals can control the situation toward your desired objective.

5. Politician – Your hand is firmly grasped as in a normal handshake. However, their other hand may cover yours or be placed on your forearm or shoulder. Unless the two of you are good friends, this is a form of false sincerity. The person is attempting to communicate that the two of you have a deeper relationship than you actually have. After receiving this kind of handshake, I recommend you check your pockets or purse to see if anything is missing. Similarly, be cautious about relying on this person's word for anything and be attentive in your dealings with them.

6. Finger Vise – When someone grabs your fingers and not your entire hand it is meant to keep you at a distance. These people are often insecure. If they also crush your fingers they are adding a show of personal power, which is also designed to keep you at a distance or at least create some fear of challenging them. I wouldn't recommend becoming submissive, however it will serve your purpose to be somewhat deferential to them.

7. Bone Crusher – The message of squeezing your hand until you cringe is clearly designed to intimidate you. Even when the person may not know how strong they are, there is still a message of intimidation and power behind the grip. You don't have to pretend to be a wimp with them, and, in fact, they may respond positively to you if you present yourself with strength. Just don't get into a hand-squeezing contest when you shake because then it becomes a competition and even if you win, you'll lose.

8. Lobster Claw – Like the claw of a lobster, the other person's thumb and fingers touch the palm of your hand. The person doing this fears connecting at a deep level and may have challenges building relationships. Take your time. Allow them to open up at their own pace. As they become more comfortable with you their handshake may actually change. Once they fully accept you, they can become a client for life.

9. Hand Wrestler – Your hand is taken normally and then twisted under the other person's. This is usually done aggressively. Be very careful in your own presentation as this person is absolutely committed to being on top, regardless of what they say they want.

10. Teacup – This handshake feels normal except that there is no palm-to-palm contact. The other person's palm is cupped, like a teacup. This handshake indicates that the person is hiding something from you. It might just be a serious case of shyness or it could be something more substantial. Always check for missing information when working with this individual.

In any sales situation, the more you know about your prospects and clients, the better you can communicate with them. Primed with the information presented here, you can start creating a strong first impression by being aware of your own handshake, and learning the hidden messages in your client or prospect's. Then making a good impression is truly in your hands.

by Dr. Gregory Stebbins
Image by Leloft

Sales Psychology Expert, Dr. Gregory Stebbins has helped 20,000+ sales professionals read their opponents actions and improve their negotiation skills so they can close more sales. In his book PeopleSavvy for Sales Professionals, he unveils for the first time his simple but groundbreaking plan to turning customers into lifetime customers. Get your free sneak preview at

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IDRA Software Review: Live Interior 3D

Edition, developed by 2011 Belight Software, Ltd, is now available from the Mac App Store and has made Apple’s Top 300 applications list. The app was last
The application developer’s description of the application is, “Live Interior 3D Standard is a powerful and intuitive home and interior design application that lets you build the house or office you’ve always wanted right on your Mac.

Released on January 31, 2011, Live Interior 3D and sells for $49.99 USD. The Professional Edition sells for $129.99 USD.  Both editions are perfect for professional designers and architects preparing a presentation for clients.

Below are notes courtesy of the staff at American Consumer News that you may find useful.

2D Floor Plans

The 2D drawing tools in Live Interior 3D are simple to use. Drafting out walls and adding annotations or measurements takes just a couple of clicks. So just map out a floor, export it to an image file, and send it to your architect or designer for review.

✔ 2,700+ Objects and Materials and Google 3D Warehouse

The program comes equipped with 1,200+ 3D objects, including name brand furniture, windows, doors, and much more. Not enough? Just click on the Google 3D Warehouse button to get access to an endless number of objects. Or import your own in Google SketchUp or 3DS format.

Over 1,500 textures gives complete control over the look of each piece of furniture and surface in your project. You can easily glue up new wallpaper, change the floor finish, tack up shingles, and change the upholstery of your favorite recliner.

Realistic 3D Environment

Working in 3D is absolutely no problem. In fact, all changes are made in real time. The 3D environment even contains accurate shadows created from lamps and fixtures. Use the Environment dialog to change the time of day and geographic location to get a precise idea of what the interior will look like at any given moment.

✔ Roofs, Dormers, and Multiple Stories

Putting a roof over your head is as simple as choosing one of 12 roof templates in the Live Interior 3D Roof Assistant. Then add custom segments, change the soffit type, adjust angles, add one of 16 dormer types, and try out one of 200 roofing materials to get the look you want. The Standard Edition of Live Interior 3D allows users to create up to two full stories with a loft (unlimited in Pro Edition).

Share Results

● Export 3D views to JPEG, TIFF, PNG, and BMP (up to 1024 x 768).

● Create a panorama view using QuickTime VR technology (up to 640 x 480).

● Create a video track and export to a QuickTime video file (up to 640 x 480).

Video Tutorials and In-Depth Manual

You won’t feel lost inside of Live Interior 3D thanks to the video tutorial course and the in-depth user manual. While both are available on, video tutorials can also be launched from inside of the program.

NOTE: Live Interior 3D Pro offers more features, including a light editor, wall designer, and the ability to export results in a higher resolution.

Fabulous Modern Israeli Villa by Hilit Interiors

Israeli interior design studio Hilit Interior Design has completed an interior design of a villa in a country region in north of Israel. The project includes an interior design of a villa in a country region in north of Israel.

Interior design work done by Hilit included close escort of the interior design of the house, starts with the stage of planning the skeleton through the interior design, including flooring, lighting, elements made of plaster, kitchen, bathrooms and bedrooms, down to the final styling.

Image courtesy Hilit Interior Design

Hilit Karsh

Hilit Interior Design ©

Photography by Itay Sikolski

IDRA the Agency: Software Review: Olioboard

Featured board by co-founder and member Cole

Architectural Color Consultant and founder of The Painted Room, Jean Molesworth Kee  introduced me to and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it exceeded my expectation. I don't think I've seen anything as clever as this in a while. has come up with a phenomenal way to create fabulous mood board for your clients online. Accounts are free and once they're created you're allowed to shop from thousands of top brands for furnishings, accessories, wall paper, rugs, lighting and more. From potential purchases you can create mood boards to present to clients or for your own use. Boards can be made public or private with the click of a button.

Mood board by member Dante
Here's a neat feature: if you see an item you like on someone else's board, with the click of a button you have access to specs on that item as well!

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