3 years ago
January 6, 2015

Are You Missing Obvious Buying Signals?

If you miss the buying signals a prospect is sharing, you might be over-selling and losing a deal in the process.

Rhys Metler

recognize-buying-signalsActive listening is an important skill for business and a vital skill for sales, but what are you listening for? Beyond collecting the information you need from a prospect to create value, you should also be listening, and watching, for obvious buying signals. If you miss the buying signals a prospect is sharing, you might be over-selling and losing a deal in the process. Make sure your timing is right by looking for the following buying signals from your prospects.

The Prospect Questions Everything

When a prospect starts asking questions, it’s time to kick your sales pitch into high gear. A prospect who is asking questions is deeply interested; otherwise, the prospect would not be spending his or her time looking for more information from you. The more a prospect questions, the more likely he or she is to make a deal. These questions are buying signals, so pay attention to the number and types of questions a prospect is asking, and adjust your approach accordingly.

The Prospect Hints at Possession

Retailers frequently encourage customers to handle and test merchandise because when a person is allowed to touch and become familiar with an item, it’s easier for that person to envision owning it. While it is not always possible for a prospect to handle your product, there are a number of possession-driven buying signals that you can look out for, including:

  • Handling product brochures and fact sheets when discussing a product
  • Using possessive language, such as “Our process could incorporate that”
  • Talking about the future, as in “If we used your service…” or even better, “We will use this to…”

The Prospect Looks to Minimize Risk

A prospect talking about risk is a prospect who has already committed in his or her mind to owning your product or service, and is looking ahead to what happens afterwards. That internal commitment will not always be apparent to you, but when the discussion turns to ways that the prospect can minimize the risks after purchase you are drawing nearer to the close. Listen for these buying signals:

  • “What is the longest warranty you offer?”
  • “How long after purchase does your free support offer extend?”
  • “What happens if this doesn’t work for us?”

The Prospect Minimizes Physical Distance

Nonverbal buying signals can be challenging to spot on their own but minimizing physical distance is one signal to always watch out for. When a prospect is ready to make a purchase, he or she may move closer to you by either stepping forward or leaning forward in his or her chair. The prospect may even reach towards you to touch your shoulder or, if sitting across from you, your presentation materials. Especially when combined with other buying signals, this is a sure sign that it’s time to close.

The Prospect Revisits Old Ground

Especially in a longer sales cycle, it can be discouraging when a prospect wants to return to ground that you have already covered. Don’t be discouraged – this is one of the most positive buying signals a prospect can send. A prospect who is repeating information and asking the same questions a second time is simply trying to confirm his or her understanding and further reduce risk. The ground that a prospect wants to revisit can also tell you what is most important to him or her, so be sure to provide the information that the prospect needs to feel confident in the buying decision.

Certain buying signals are tough to miss, as long as you know what to look out for. Pay attention to your prospects as they become customers and you will begin to notice the verbal and non-verbal buying signals that almost always appear before a contract is signed. This will help you move your future deals to a close more quickly based on the buying signals your prospects send.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 11+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and two daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day, tropical vacations and cottaging.