Looking Out for Buying Signals

Last Updated Nov 4, 2008 10:19 PM EST

Okay, best I fess up straight away. I started my working career as a used car salesman.

Trust me, I was honest. No really.

While this was quite some time ago (Stevie Wonder cleaned up at the Grammy Awards that year), I learned some skills that continue to serve me well. One was to always be aware of buying signals.

Buying signals are signs that may just indicate your prospect is close to making a purchase.

Here are some classic examples which may help you recognise them when they come your way:

Visualising language abounds
In the car business this came across with phrases like: "I wonder what my neighbours will make of the colour?" or "I can just see the kids in the back."

Going over things more than once
This may be repeating something that's just been discussed or getting you to go over precisely how your fees are charged. "Can you break down exactly how much it was again, including all costs?"

Nudging your boundaries
Questions that challenge aspects of your procedures often indicate pre-sale playfulness. "You asked for a deposit of $2000. Would you accept $1000?"

The cheesy salesman's response would be "If I did, would you take delivery on Thursday?"

Almost all references to money
If your prospect tells you it's too much, surprisingly this often indicates a near-readiness to buy ... subject to some more convincing on the basis of value.

Your response to questions of this kind may be something like "If my involvement resulted in a three-fold increase to your bottom line, would that be good value?"

Questions about timing
When the talk shifts to start times and program duration you're pretty well home and hosed and the magic words "What do we do next?" is a good indication the sale is in the bag!

So what do you make of this and what signals do you have to share? Post a comment and let's here it.

PS. Know anyone that wants a 2006 Subaru Forester? One careful lady owner (and a slightly crazy husband).

  • Robert Gerrish

    Robert Gerrish is a coach, author and professional speaker and the founder of Flying Solo (www.flyingsolo.com.au), the Australian online community for solo business owners.