Messages from the Masters
21.5 Early Warning Signals that the Prospect Is Ready to Buy by Jeffrey Gitomer

Question: When is the buyer ready to buy?  
Answer: He'll tell you if you just pay attention. 

The link between the presentation and the close are buying signals. 

Recognizing signals to buy is one of the "art" areas in the science of selling.

Listen to the buyer. He or she will give you signals. As you give your presentation, the buyer will gesture, question, play with your product, or in some way communicate that he is inclined to purchase. 

When you hear a buying signal, that's your signal to ask for the sale. As a professional salesperson, your job is to recognize the buying signal and convert it into a sale. Recognizing it is the hard part.

Rule of thumb: Any question asked by the prospect must be considered a buying signal. 

Here are a 21.5 signals (questions) to look for:

1. Questions about availability or time. "Are these in stock?..."How often do you receive new shipments?"
2. Questions about delivery. "How soon can someone be here?"..."How much notice do I have to give you?"
3. Specific questions about rates, price, or statements about affordability. "How much does this model cost?"…"What is the price of this fax machine?"..."I don't know if I can afford that model."
4. Any questions or statements about money. "How much money would I have to put down to get this?"
5. Positive questions about you or your business. "How long have you been with the company?"..."How long has your company been in business?"
6. Wanting something repeated. "What was that you said before about financing?"..."Tell me about the ----- again."
7. Statements about problems with previous vendors. "Our old vendor gave us poor service. How quickly do you respond to a service call?"
8. Questions about features and options (What will it or you do?) "Is the sorter standard or optional?"
9. Questions about productivity. "How many copies per month is the machine rated for?"
10. Questions about quality, guarantee, or warranty. "How long is this under warranty?"..."How long will this last?"
11. Questions about qualifications. (yours or the company's) "Can all of your people answer questions on the phone?"
12. Specific positive questions about the company. "What other products do you carry?"
13. Specific product or service questions. "How does the manual feed operate?"..."Do you select the person or do I?"
14. Specific statements about ownership of your product or service. "Would you provide paper each month automatically?"..."Will you come by each month to pick up my accounting?"..."Suppose I like her and want her to work for me full-time?"
15. Questions to confirm unstated decision or seeking support. "Is this the best way for me to go?"..."What would you do?"
16. Wanting to see a sample or demo again. "Could I see the fabric samples again?"
17. Asking about other satisfied customers. "Who else is using your product now?"..."Who are some of your customers?"
18. Asking for a reference.  "Could I contact someone you did temp work for using Lotus or WordPerfect?" "Do you have a list of satisfied customers?"
19. Making buying noises. "I didn't know that."..."Oh really."..."That's interesting."..."That's in line with what we've been doing."
20. Asking for a test or sample. "Can I try this for a few days?"..."Can you send me a sample I can test?"
21. Asking chicken questions. "Suppose I buy it and it doesn't work?..."Suppose I buy it and it's not the right size?"..."Suppose I buy it and it doesn't work in our office environment?"

One "ask' I did not put in the list, but should be mentioned is when the buyer asks you, "What's the next step?" This is so blatant it's not really right to consider it a signal -- it's more of a hit in the face with a sledge-hammer. 

21.5 Your ability to convert the signal into a sale. Every one of these buying signals (questions) can be turned into a closing question that will lead to a faster sale - if you do it right. How do you answer these questions? Good question! A buying signal. I'll tell you in next week.

Recognizing a buying signal is critical to your success as a salesperson. You will go past the sale if you don't. And many do. 

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Knock Your Socks Off Selling and Customer Satisfaction is Worthless; Customer Loyalty is Priceless. To order Jeffrey's many books and/or audios and videos, go to  (c) 1999 All Rights Reserved.

Provided courtesy of  Jim Rohn International

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