One of the most common questions I get from salespeople is, “How do I know if the prospect is definitely going to buy?”
Of course, the reality is that no one can predict the future.
But prospects do have a pretty consistent set of buying signals that demonstrate they’re likely to buy—you just have to know what to look for.
In this video, I’m going to show you 5 signals that mean a prospect is going to purchase. Check it out:
1. They share real challenges you can solve.
There’s a lot packed into this first buying signal. When it comes to identifying signals a prospect is going to purchase, this is one of the most important. Does the prospect actually have challenges that you can solve? Of course, everyone has challenges in life. But if the prospect has the specific challenges that you can solve, and they’re willing to share those challenges with you, that’s a huge buying signal.
Again, just because a prospect shares real challenges you can solve, that doesn’t mean they’re 100% going to buy from you. Still, it’s a strong indicator of fit. When a prospect opens up and shares their challenges that you can solve, make sure you work hard to get below the surface—go deep. Are they willing to tell you more about those challenges? If you can get the prospect to really open up about their challenges, it’s a great sign that they’re going to purchase.
2. Their objections don’t show complacency.
All prospects have objections of some kind; there’s always at least one concern. But some prospects will have objections that show complacency, and complacency objections are a bad sign. When a prospect says, “You know what? The timing just isn’t right,” or “Maybe we should revisit this down the road,” what they really mean is: “I’m not seeing it. I don’t feel enough value in order to move forward.”
On the other hand, if your prospect is giving you objections that don’t show complacency, that’s a good thing. In fact, when the prospect’s objections show that they’re engaging with the offering, or discussing small details here and there, it’s a really strong buying signal. It shows that they’re considering the idea of using your product or service. So if a prospect gives you objections that don’t show complacency, take it as a signal they’re going to purchase. But if you’re hearing complacency objections, then recognize that you’ll have to do some real digging to get out of the hole you’re in.
3. They have good questions.
Good questions show intent. If your prospects are engaging with what you’re talking about, asking interesting questions about how they might use your product or service, that’s a great buying signal. Like other signals a prospect is going to purchase, it doesn’t guarantee anything. But it’s a powerful sign when prospects are engaged enough in the conversation to ask you meaningful questions about how your product or service might fit into their future professional world.
4. They agree on next steps.
In the Sales Insights Lab, one of the strategies we always talk about is becoming next step obsessed. What this means is that you must always schedule the next step with your prospect while you’re in the current meeting—whether that’s face to face, over the phone, on Zoom, or any other form of meeting. Willingness to consistently schedule next steps is one of the strongest signals a prospect is going to purchase. On the flip side, if your prospect is unwilling to schedule next steps, that’s really problematic. Either they don’t see enough value, or the timing’s just not right, or something else is very wrong. Become obsessed with scheduling next steps and pay close attention to how your prospects react when you try to get them on the calendar for that next meeting. This is a powerful buying signal that can tell you whether the prospect sees enough value to spend more time with you and continue the conversation.
5. They follow your lead.
This is one of my all-time favorite signals a prospect is going to purchase. When a prospect is following your lead, letting you take them through your process, it’s a powerful sign that they’re going to buy from you. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are prospects who act cagey, evade your questions, and aren’t willing to follow your process. That’s always a bad sign that things are not going according to plan. So, when the prospect is willing to follow your lead, it means that they’re engaged enough to be considering the potential solution you’re offering, and they have enough respect for you to go in the direction you’re taking them.
Of course, if prospects are following your lead, then you’d better be following a strong sales process in the first place. Make sure you’re asking the right questions, demonstrating insight, and showing your prospects that you can solve their top challenges.
More Buying Signals to Look Out For…
Do you ever find yourself in a selling situation where you think all signals are a go…until suddenly it’s over? Turns out, those signals you thought you saw weren’t buying signals, after all.
You’re convinced everything is going great, but then, at the end, the prospect says something like, “I’ve got to think about it…” or, “The timing just isn’t right. Can you reach back out in five or six months?”
Misreading signals can be so frustrating in sales. Often we’re so eager to see proof that the buyer is going to buy, that we end up noticing sales buying signals that aren’t really there…
But prospects are consistently giving us buying signals if they’re feeling positive about the sale. So, in this video, I’m going to show you 7 sales buying signals to look for. Check it out:
6. Real challenges.
When it comes to looking for sales buying signals, most salespeople are actually looking for the wrong signals altogether. The majority of salespeople are searching for signals that show the prospect has interest in the product or service being offered—but that’s actually not a strong buying signal. Rather, you should be looking for a sign that the prospect has real challenges that you can solve. That’s the ultimate sales buying signal.
If the prospect has legitimate challenges in the domains you can help them with, then you’ve got someone in front of you who truly has a need for your offering. Let’s say you offer a marketing service. You don’t want to find people who are interested in your marketing service. Instead, you want to find people who have challenges around the marketing of their business. Maybe they’re not getting enough leads, or sales are down. That’s the ideal type of prospect to look for.
Real challenges are one of the most powerful sales buying signals to watch out for. Ask yourself, Does this prospect have real challenges that I specifically solve?
7. Did their homework.
When prospects have no idea who you are…that’s a bad sales buying signal. Have you ever gotten on a call with a prospect who says something like, “So what exactly do you do again? And who are you?” While this doesn’t mean the sale is lost, it’s also not a good buying signal. Try to identify whether prospects have done a little homework to find out a bit about you, who you are, and what you do. Maybe they did a bit of research on your organization before hopping on the phone with you, or they mention something they saw on your LinkedIn profile. These are amazing buying signals.
Now, again, the absence of this buying signal doesn’t mean that you should disqualify them or not talk to them. But if they do their homework on you before connecting with you, you can count it as a strong buying signal right out the gate.
8. Personally driven.
One of my mentors always used to say, “Behind every professional objective is a personal objective.” If your prospect doesn’t feel personally driven to solve the challenges they’ve talked about, chances are they’re not going to be very committed to solving them. There has to be something in it for them—something that really affects their day-to-day life—in order to make a change.
When a prospect is personally driven to solve a challenge, then you know you’re looking at a good sales buying signal. Let’s say you sell marketing services, and your prospect says, “We’re not getting enough leads, and now I’m worried that I’m going to have to start to lay people off. That’s really stressful for me.” Now, you have someone who’s demonstrated that they’re personally driven. That’s an extremely powerful sales buying signal.
9. Talks budget.
There’s really no better buying signal than when a prospect is willing to discuss budget. Conversely, if a prospect is completely unwilling to have any budget conversation, that’s a really bad sign. Now, of course, it’s fine if prospects don’t want to talk budget in the first few minutes of the conversation. But as you get deeper into that discovery conversation, you’ve got to dedicate some time to discussing budget. If they’re willing to have a frank conversation about budget, you know that you’re dealing with someone who’s pretty serious about solving their challenges.
People vote with their wallets. They don’t vote with their interest or even necessarily with their time. They always vote with their wallets. If they’re willing to discuss a budget for solving a problem, you’re dealing with a strong sales buying signal.
10. Next steps willing.
Have you ever been having a sales conversation that seemed like it was going well and then, when you go to schedule the next step, the prospect says something like, “Actually, I have a lot going on right now. Can we just revisit this in a couple of weeks?” That’s a bad buying signal, of course. However, if you have a prospect who’s willing to schedule clear next steps, that’s a great buying signal. The important part is to make sure you do your job of holding the sale together by getting the next step clearly scheduled before ending the conversation at each and every phase of the sales process. If they’re not willing to schedule a next step, it’s a clear sign that something is amiss.
11. Asking good questions.
We all know that it’s important for salespeople to ask good questions of their prospects. But what about prospects who ask good questions of salespeople? This is a really strong sales buying signal that’s often overlooked. If you’ve gone through the sales process with a prospect and you’re finding that they’re asking you good questions, that’s a great sign. It shows that they’re interested, they’re engaged, and they actually have some deeper curiosity about what you’re discussing together.
Now, of course, if they’re just picking your brain and trying to get some free consulting, that’s not necessarily a good sign. It’s important to be able to tell the difference. But especially during your presentation, if they’re asking thoughtful, insightful questions, that’s a good sign. You always want your presentation to focus on the questions that they have, not on what you want to present. If they’re asking good questions, then they’re thinking about how they could integrate your solution into their life.
12. Want to see offering.
Some prospects are just complete tire-kickers. They immediately want to see your demo and your offering and they want to know your prices right away. That’s not necessarily a good buying signal. But if, after you’ve gone through the sales process and given the presentation, a prospect wants to see or engage with your offering, that’s generally a good buying signal.
Look for a prospect who’s really respectful about wanting to see the offering, but also isn’t overly eager just to know your pricing or get a free proposal…which they can then take and bring back to their other vendor. Keep an eye out for prospects who are genuinely engaged and interested in seeing what you have to offer. That’s a good sales buying signal.
With any of these sales buying signals, noticing one of them alone is probably not enough of an indicator that a prospect is definitely going to buy. But when you start to see more than one of them throughout a sales process, that’s when you start to get a sense that it’s pretty solid opportunity.
So there you have it. Now you know the top signals that a prospect is going to purchase. Which of these buying signals are you going to watch out for during your next sales conversation? Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below to join the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.