Here’s something I noticed about good salespeople. During their presentation, in particular when they are delivering their prescription to address the challenge, a good salesperson will have the awareness to recognize buying signals, warning signs, and objections. It’s these signals that will lead us into the next phase of the sales process, the dialogue.
These buying signals are anything the buyer says or does, or doesn’t say or do, that indicate that they might be interested. These could be anything from body language to voiced questions. Even something as simple as, “Tell me more about this. Expand on this a little” from the buyer can be a sign of interest.
Now, as a salesperson, you need to be on the lookout for these buying signals, but you also have to go further and verify the signal. A buyer could be sitting right across from me, nodding and yessing away. But I need to get verification. Is this person really interested, or is she just a fantastic listener with great people skills? When the buyer rubs his chin, is he contemplating my offer, or did he suddenly realize he needs a shave?
Our job isn’t to read minds. Instead, we need to be able to objectively determine the prospect’s level of interest based on what we see and what we hear. And we need to tread carefully when assessing their interest level.
The Challenge for Salespeople When Assessing Buying Signals
Here’s the pitfall. As salespeople, we have a tendency to have what’s called attribution bias. We look for those contributing factors that would cause bias to what we’re selling, and ultimately ignore reality. In other words, we look for facts that support our beliefs.
Chip Heath said it best in Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard: “The error lies in our inclination to attribute people’s behavior to the way they are, rather than to the situation they are in.”
And this is where salespeople have to get out of their head and put their “stuff” aside. Typically, salespeople don’t like to see and challenge warning signs. And we don’t like asking a prospect to verify possible buying signals. We simply want to set up the conversation in a way that we’re moving forward with the deal.
But in reality, anytime anyone makes a decision on anything, they mentally create a pros and cons list. Then, they weigh out all the reasons for making the purchase against all the reasons against it. It’s those cons that we must identify and portray in such a way that they support moving forward with the deal.
Establish Your Credibility Before Assessing Buying Signals
Salespeople are blind to this many times because we just want to get in the mix and start selling. We measure our success by reaching the sales close and our efficiency by how quickly we get there. We don’t want to hear anything that might get in the way and decrease our efficiency. And that causes us to lose the high ground when we get to the closing stage.
That’s why it’s crucial to establish your credibility throughout the sales process through how you look, how you act, what you say, and how you say it. When you can establish yourself as a credible person they can do business with, then you can verify those buying signals and challenge the cons with confidence as you lead your prospect into the dialogue stage.
You’ll find more ideas on identifying buying signals in your sales process in Lance Tyson’s book, Selling Is An Away Game available on Amazon. Get your copy today!