Only 19% of sales close, so you can have lots of selling conversations and the best closing skills but still not win new business consistently. That’s because there is more to closing a sale than asking for the business.
Not all prospects are a good fit for your product or service. And if your potential buyer isn’t ready to make a purchase, then your odds of successfully closing the deal is dead. That’s why you need to recognize your prospects’ buying signals.
But this isn’t only about identifying when your leads are ready to buy your product or service. These signs occur throughout the buyer’s journey.
So, you need to watch and listen for buying signals during prospecting calls, discovery calls, demos, and every other prospect engagement. This includes phone calls, emails, social media interactions, data within your sales tools and video calls.
But what are buying signals?
Definition of the term ‘buying signals’
Buying signals are verbal and non-verbal cues, signs, or indicators that tell you when the lead is either ready to buy or interested in moving forward in their buying process.
You will often see buying signals from your prospect when a lead schedules a discovery call or when an opportunity responds to an email you’ve sent requesting additional information. In both cases, the prospect is giving buying signals indicating their interest in moving forward even though they aren’t ready to become customers yet, by signing on the dotted line.
Buying signals are like road signs, helping you recognize how to proceed with each prospect. A lack of buying signals might even mean not advancing them through the sales process.
Why are buying signals essential to recognize?
Spotting these buying signals is more critical than ever because sales reps are getting less time with prospects. For example, B2B buyers currently spend only 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers. And if the prospect is considering multiple solutions, your time with this potential customer drops to as little as 4-5% of the time it takes for them to make a buying decision.
This lack of face time with your leads gives you less time to pick up on indicators that the lead is interested in buying or moving forward with the sales process. So, it’s essential that you learn to quickly recognize buying signals as they happen so you can respond appropriately. Reading the prospect’s buying signals can also save you time by allowing you to disqualify potential customers too. You want to disqualify potential buyers because you don’t want to spend precious selling time with prospects who aren’t a good fit for your product.
They are less likely to close or may take longer to close and are more likely to be dissatisfied or churn. Churn is when a customer cancels their subscription to your product after a short period or chooses not to renew.
Ultimately, by spending your time with highly qualified leads who will most benefit from your solution, you significantly increase your close rate.
What are buying signals in sales?
Buying signals can be verbal or non-verbal, and some are more subtle than others, but with practice, you can learn to recognize all the different buying signals communicated by your prospects.
Here are some examples of positive buying signals or signs when a prospect is interested in buying from you:
Non-verbal buying signals:
- Nodding, direct eye contact, and paying attention during your conversation or presentation. This is a sign the lead is interested. If you can’t see the other person, listen carefully to determine if they are fully engaged in the conversation.
- Smiling and appearing excited about your product or service is undoubtedly a positive sign. If you cannot see the person, you can listen for a positive tone in their voice.
- Involving others on the buying committee in meetings, calls or email communications indicates the prospect is seriously considering taking the next step in the buying process.
- Responding quickly to email communications shows the prospect is interested in continuing the conversation with you.
- Quality of email responses is a buying signal, too, since a prospects willingness to provide detailed and timely responses to email inquiries reveals their level of interest in advancing through the buying process.
Open Communication buying signals:
- Openly discussing the needs, challenges, and problems the lead want to solve shows that the prospect is intent on finding out if your product is the best solution.
- Telling you about problems or issues with their current vendor is a transparent buying signal from your sales lead revealing that they are unhappy with the solution they are using. This enables you to learn more about the potential customer’s preferences.
- Sharing their goals, ideal end-state, or desired results is also an indicator that the prospect wants to give you the information needed to determine if your product or service will meet their needs.
- Expresses an interest in future communications like scheduling another meeting, a discovery call, demo, or proposal. Or if the potential buyer asks when they will hear from you again. This is a buying sign demonstrating the prospect’s interest in advancing the buying process.
- Repeating or confirming attractive benefits indicates what the prospect is most excited about or interested in.
Questions that are a buying signal:
- Asking questions during a demo or presentation instead of waiting until the end is a sure sign the buyer is interested in learning more about your product or service and its ability to meet their needs. When the lead asks questions like “how quick can we get started” you know you’re close to getting a contract signed.
- Questions about payment methods are a strong indicators the lead is close to making a buying decision. The lead being proactive about the price means your deals are on track.
- Prospects picturing themselves using your product or service is a strong buying signal. This is seen when potential customers ask questions in terms of ‘When I use the product, will…?’ or ‘How quickly will I see an improvement?’ or ‘Will I see X that quickly too?’
- Asking about delivery, installation, or on-boarding procedures and timing are strong buying signals since the prospect is wondering how soon they can benefit from your solution.
- Requesting general pricing information is a buying signal that shows a prospect is interested.
Requests that are buying signals:
- Wants to know more about your company. A request from the prospect indicates they like your solution and are trying to determine your company’s longevity or its financial stability.
- Requesting case studies or research reports by a prospect in a complex sale shows how interested they are in your product or service
- Asking to speak with existing customers demonstrates that the prospective customer has a strong interest in moving forward
- Asking to try the product before they buy is a strong buying signal. Prospects who are interested in taking the time to try a product during a free trial are seriously considering buying. If you offer a free trial, be sure to check in with the prospect at previously agreed-upon intervals to ensure everything is going smoothly.
- Requesting a quote is a buying signal, but it’s essential to present the pricing to the prospect, so you have the opportunity to get feedback from the potential customer. And, in this case, you want to be sure you are presenting to the decision-maker. Otherwise, you may never find out where you stand in comparison to competitors.
Examples of negative buying signals or signs when a potential buyer is not interested in buying from you:
- Unresponsive or reluctant to schedule time to learn more. When a prospect won’t respond to your social media, email or phone messages, or they are hesitant to schedule another call after initially speaking with you, is a clear sign the buyer isn’t interested.
- Indicating they are still looking into other options may mean the prospect isn’t interested. Or, at the very least, it means ‘not now.’
- Reluctance to talk about their needs, challenges or goals is a sign the prospect isn’t presently interested in learning more about your solution.
- Unwilling to share their budget may be a sign that there isn’t a need currently, the prospect isn’t interested, or there isn’t sufficient funding available to make a deal happen.
- Hesitant to identify or introduce the decision-making is a negative indicator since initial contacts are often not making the final buying decision. If you can’t find out who is making the final decision at the prospect’s company, you are wasting your time.
- Telling you, they are not interested is a sure sign that this prospect will not become a customer… at least not now.
How to get better at spotting buying signals
An excellent way to develop your ability to recognize buying signals is to record your phone and video calls. Then review each call to see which buying signals were displayed by the prospect. Next, identify the ones you didn’t recognize in real-time during the live call, so you don’t miss them next time around. Doing this consistently will help you hear and see buying signs more quickly until it becomes automatic.
Even the most skilled reps don’t close every prospect. It doesn’t matter how well your sales and marketing team have done, the buyers purchasing intent is down to you to understand.
But the better you get at recognizing buying signals, the more time you’ll end up spending with highly qualified prospects. This increases the percentage of prospects that you close. And it prevents you from wasting valuable selling time with leads who aren’t a good fit for your product or service. This makes it easier to hit or exceed your quota targets and increases your number of sales.
So, learn to identify buying signals, revisit all your calls to figure out which signs you missed, and you’ll soon become proficient at knowing when to progress the sale to a close.