You’ve worked hard to get this appointment. This prospect has been particularly tough to get a meeting with–but here you are. You’re pretty sure the product fits and it will help them with their business goals tremendously.
Of course, you did all the work. You’re very excited about the call. You ran the numbers, the projected benefits, and all the possible objections–the call can’t come sooner.
This level of enthusiasm is a great thing. Prospects respond well to salespeople who show sincere willingness to help them with their challenges.
However, there are times when this energy can go a little bit too far. You get on the meeting with the prospect, you put all your cards on the table, and you end up talking for fifteen minutes straight. Very proud of yourself for pulling out the big guns, you were surprised when they said no.
The thing is, if you keep pitching while the prospect is already giving you buying signals, you can lose the deal.
Know when to stop selling
Talking too much is a common issue for salespeople. Veterans will tell you that knowing when to stop talking is just as important as saying the right things.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the moment and tell your prospect all the awesome things that will happen after the deal is closed. However, because of your intense enthusiasm, you might never see that happen.
The key is to be aware and very familiar with buying signals.
What are buying signals?
Prospects don’t always verbalize their willingness to buy even when they’re ready to make the purchase. Actually, a lot of times they don’t know they’re ready to buy unless you ask them.
Salespeople should know this. In sales, those who close deals know when to ask–and what do they watch out for? Buying signals. Buying signals are indirect statements of willingness to buy. “Statements” is used loosely here. It could be many things, and not all are verbal. Over the phone, all inside sales rep have to work with is the prospect’s voice. However, there are many moving parts when it comes to listening to the prospect. There’s volume, inflection, tone, and so on.
That said, here are some buying signals that you should be watching out for.
Inquiring about pricing
Only a customer already interested in the product will start a conversation around pricing.
Asking about modes of payment
When customers ask about modes of payment, they already have their current financials in mind and are trying to imagine how your product will fit in with their numbers.
Questions about after-sales services
A prospect who opens the discussion on warranties, after-sales service, return policies, ongoing support, and dedicated account managers, they are trying to get a sense of the reliability of your solution. They are close to buying if you can erase these doubts.
Repeating questions and confirming information
Can you go over the features again? Are you sure this will do what you’re telling me it will? When a prospective client is asking you the same questions or is asking you to repeat the same information you’ve already told them, they just want to confirm the info they’ve understood or something they particularly are concerned about. This deeper interest is a clear buying signal and they are just figuring out if buying is the right decision by going over the points that made them very interested.
Rambling on about two choices
When a customer is shuttling back and forth between two options, they are already willing to buy. They are asking indirectly for your help to figure out which of the two is the better purchase.
Questions about product specifics
Customers asking for more detailed information like product variations and add-ons are already interested and want to know how to optimize your offering to meet their challenges.
Talking as if they are customers
When customers are telling you how the product will work alongside their process, that is a clear buying signal. For example, statements like, “When a rep calls out, he can read straight on the screen without pulling out the CRM, making the whole process quicker.”
Asking about what’s next
A customer who asks about the delivery date and start of service is very close to purchasing. If they ask the magic words “what do we do next?”, you’re already knocking on the door of your next deal.
Statements of surprise
A simple exclamation like “Really? Your product can do that?” and “That is very interesting. Can you tell me more?” is a very subtle buying signal. Although these statements may not be as strong as the other buying signals, it indicates that you’re moving in the right direction.
Asking details about your company
When a customer begins inquiring about company details like how long you’ve been in operation, or who are your best customers, that’s a buying signal. These questions are part of prospect’s internal dialogue about whether it makes sense to do business with your company, the next level of decision-making after they conclude the product fits well.
Talking about other companies you can contact
Referrals. Lots of reps know how to take referrals but somehow miss the very blatant sign that the deal is ready to be closed. This is a 10/10 buying signal.
Asking about discounts
Some reps start to feel sour about a prospect when they start asking about discounts. These reps would argue that no serious buyer would haggle on price. However, price objections and discount requests are clear signs that they are close to making the decision. Since customers are ultimately concerned about their own financials, discounts and pricing adjustments will always crop up. Work through the objection and close the sale.
Talking about your competitors
When a customer compares you to a competitor and paints your product as the better choice, you have a winner.
Asking about terms and conditions
A customer asking for a detailed breakdown of the contract is well into a decision already made. When they are asking for revisions and clarifications, this is a solid sign that you can close soon.
Selling is tough–it doesn’t follow a formula nor is it an exact science. Not all sales will be closed, and often, you won’t have the luxury of knowing exactly why. With constant practice, reps can get at spotting buying signals, effectively improving your win rates. Mastering this skill can drastically improve a sales rep’s productivity and ability to add to the bottom line.
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