8 years ago
April 13, 2016

How To Tell If Your Prospect Is Ready To Buy

When you’re working on closing a sale, your prospect might give you any one of a multitude of buying signals.

Rhys Metler

prospect ready to buyWhen you’re working on closing a sale, your prospect might give you any one of a multitude of buying signals. These signals can be direct or indirect, but a careful sales person is always listening to pick up on these valuable flags that indicate that a prospect is ready to make a commitment. Closing a sale is much easier when you know what to watch out for.

Direct Signals A Prospect is Ready to Buy

Closing a sale is easiest when the prospect is clear that he or she is ready to make a purchase, but the prospect won’t usually come out and say, “Where do I sign?” It’s more likely that he or she will use one of the following signals to indicate that closing a sale is imminent, which are direct enough that few sales people will fail to miss the hint.

  • Questions about price. Questions about price indicate the prospect is sold on what you can do for them, and is now focused on determining whether or not they can afford it.
  • Requests for a recap. If a prospect asks you to go over territory you’ve already covered, you know that the prospect is not only deeply concerned on a particular aspect of your product or service, but that that aspect will be key to closing a sale.
  • Asking about next steps. A prospect who asks about the next steps is well on his or her way to closing a sale with you. Taking firm steps towards that next step by scheduling a meeting, ordering a sample, or doing whatever else you have to do to keep the process moving will help ensure that a prospect who is ready to buy makes that commitment.

Indirect Signals a Prospect is Ready to Buy

Indirect buying signals can be more difficult to detect, and they are not always foolproof. Some prospects simply want to cover all of their bases with their own superiors and might not be thinking about closing a sale. However, an equal number of prospects will let you know that they are ready to buy with these same signals, so it’s best to be prepared to move forward when any of these indirect buying signals come up.

  • Discussing problems with previous suppliers. If a prospect is willing to tell you about problems with previous suppliers, you know that you’ve successfully built the trust you need for closing a sale. Letting the prospect see how your company will help them avoid the types of problems experienced in the past will lead to that close.
  • Asking for references. When a prospect is asking for a reference, it’s a sign that he or she is probably comfortable with the offering and with the price, but wants to make sure that you and your company will deliver as promised before closing a sale.
  • Making positive comments. A prospect making positive comments might say things like, “That’s interesting,” “I’ve never seen that before,” or even more clearly, “We could use that!” Any positive comment indicates an interest and is an opening for you to hone in on the prospect’s most pressing concerns to close a sale.

Unfortunately, it’s usually much easier to tell when a prospect is not ready to buy than to tell when they are ready to buy. Every sales person has had high hopes for closing a sale, only to find that when the time comes to move ahead, his or her calls, e-mails, and visits go unanswered. There are many cases, though, when successfully picking up on signs a prospect is ready to buy at the time they occur can help you avoid that endless cycle of follow-ups and lead directly to closing a sale.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ 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 daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.