10 years ago
January 5, 2015

3 Nonverbal Buying Signals Every Top Sales Person Looks For

A top sales person has become an expert at detecting the hundreds of different nonverbal buying signals that a prospect might send.

Rhys Metler

nonverbal buying signalsWhen a prospect is ready to buy and is talked out of the sale by an overzealous sales person rather than being helped into it, that’s an oversell. Eventually, all sales people witness an oversell; the inexperienced or unlucky might do the overselling themselves. However, overselling can be avoided when nonverbal buying signals are heeded. A top sales person knows this and becomes an expert at detecting the hundreds of different nonverbal buying signals that a prospect might send. Of all the possible nonverbal buying signals, these three are the most important.

1. Frequent Nodding

In conversation, people nod so often that it might come as a surprise that frequent nodding is a nonverbal buying signal. If you see your prospect nodding frequently, it is a sign that he or she is listening and engaged. However, it can also be a sign that he or she might already be familiar with the ground that you’re covering. Be sure to stop occasionally and ask the prospect questions to keep him or her engaged and included when he or she is sending out this nonverbal buying signal.

2. Handling Documents, Products, or Other Supporting Materials

Handling the product, or if that is not possible, the documentation or accessories to a product, are a clear nonverbal buying signal. This type of handling is a person’s subconscious way of imagining owning the product or receiving the service being sold. This is why many top sales people encourage prospects to touch, handle, and examine things prior to a sale. Once a prospect is exhibiting this nonverbal buying signal, a sale could be imminent, especially if he or she has suddenly focused on one offering to the exclusion of others.

When this happens, pay careful attention to what else the prospect is doing for other nonverbal buying signals. To be a top sales person, avoid the temptation to talk the prospect into taking the next step and wait until the prospect indicates to you what his or her thoughts are. It may be difficult to wait in silence, but occasionally, silence is also a nonverbal buying signal.

3. Consistent Eye Contact

A prospect making consistent eye contact is exhibiting a classic nonverbal buying signal. He or she is engaged in the conversation, interested in what you have to say, and looking to see what you really think or feel about the product or service you’re selling. The prospect also likely feels comfortable with you on a personal level, which a top sales person knows has to happen before a deal can close. To understand how important eye contact is as a nonverbal buying signal, think about past deals that you’ve closed. Chances are that in every instance, consistent eye contact was one of the top nonverbal buying signals your clients were sending.

It has often been said that knowing when to close is more important than knowing how. To know when to close, look for at least two nonverbal buying signals before you move to the next step. Other nonverbal buying signals include smiling, changes in posture, and rubbing chins or noses, which indicates rational thinking. Just by being aware of nonverbal buying signals, which sometimes contradict verbal buying signals that might be sent out at the same time, you can improve your closing ratio and become a top sales person. Avoid the temptation to oversell and let nonverbal buying signals lead your pitch.

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.