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Buying Signals

What do you consider to be "buying signals" and how soon do you try to close after receiving one? :o

For instance, if I'm the middle of a presentation and I ask if the customer likes a given benefit and he/she says "yes" is that a buying signal and should I close right then? :confused: - by Mikey
What do you consider to be "buying signals" and how soon do you try to close after receiving one? :o

For instance, if I'm the middle of a presentation and I ask if the customer likes a given benefit and he/she says "yes" is that a buying signal and should I close right then? :confused:
IMO, if you get a buying signal in the middle of a presentation I prefer a trial close where you give them the opportunity to say "yes" to your proposal if they are ready to make a decision, but keeping the door open for you to continue your presentation if needed. Something like "There are more features to this product I am going to explain in a minute, but at this point is this product something you think you might purchase?" If they say yes, you know you are well on your way. If they say maybe or no, then you know you still have your work cut out for you and it wasn't a real buying signal. The good thing is you leave the door open to continue your presentation because you didn't ask for a definitive answer. - by Doc MC
Ok, so use a "Trial Close" after receiving a "Buying Signal." When should you close then? After one, two, or three "Trial Closes"? :confused: - by Mikey
Ok, so use a "Trial Close" after receiving a "Buying Signal." When should you close then? After one, two, or three "Trial Closes"? :confused:
You close when you are done your presentation. Trying to close to early can be a disaster because you haven't gone through all the features/benefits of your product or service. Obviously there are exceptions, but generally I don't like to cut my presentation short. - by Doc MC
IMO, you should always deliver your "core" presentation before asking for the purchase decision. Even if the customer appears ready.

When I say "core" I'm talking about the "absolute minimum" that your customer "needs" to know about your product/service.

This is not "overselling" but merely ensuring that the customer clearly understands what you are offering.

Failing to deliver this "core" information can lead to unrealistic expectations, misunderstandings, and hard feelings. - by Houston
IMO, you should always deliver your "core" presentation before asking for the purchase decision. Even if the customer appears ready.

When I say "core" I'm talking about the "absolute minimum" that your customer "needs" to know about your product/service.

This is not "overselling" but merely ensuring that the customer clearly understands what you are offering.

Failing to deliver this "core" information can lead to unrealistic expectations, misunderstandings, and hard feelings.
Exactly.:) - by Doc MC
Excellent advice from Doc and Houston. You cannot sell "beyond the close" if you are mking it a point to be thorough.

Mikey, I'm curious. You are asking about the when of your close. But what is your close? Your post almost implies that you have some sort of ready device and that you just need to know when to put it on the table. - by Gary Boye
But what is your close? Your post almost implies that you have some sort of ready device and that you just need to know when to put it on the table.
I'm not sure I understand what you mean. :confused:

I've heard/read many times that you should close after noticing buying signals. I was just wondering "when" was the right time.

It sounds like anytime I receive a buying signal, after giving my core presentation, I should ask a "trial close" and if the answer is positive then I should ask for the order. Does that sound right? - by Mikey
Mikey, I'm assuming you close with words. You refer here to trial close and close, but surely there must be something you say to the prospect. That is what I meant. What do you say that would actually be the close you refer to? If you mean by "close", asking for the order, how do you ask for the order?

If you will agree with me that closing is a matter of some words coming out of your mouth, and you are asking when those words should come out of your mouth--then it all falls into the category of saying the right thing at the right time. "Close" is just an esoteric label in selling. What do you say? If you can tell us, it would be easier to determine if those words are right and when is the right time to actually say them.

If you are willing to give some thought to that--and answer the question, I'll point something out to you that you may find interesting. - by Gary Boye
What do you say that would actually be the close you refer to? If you mean by "close", asking for the order, how do you ask for the order?
Here are some examples of what I say when asking for the sale;
  • Are you prepared to put your home on the market today?
  • Lets go ahead and get your home on the market today.
  • Do you want us to help you market your home?
- by Mikey
Here are some examples of what I say when asking for the sale;
  • Are you prepared to put your home on the market today?
  • Lets go ahead and get your home on the market today.
  • Do you want us to help you market your home?
Bingo, Mikey! You just said the word I was looking for.

The life force of every sale that is made is want. In sales training jargon, they use the word desire, but desire is not a word that actually surfaces too much in a sales interview.

Put this into the perspective of your original excellent question which was: What do you consider to be "buying signals" and how soon do you try to close after receiving one?

The lens that we see through, that prompts your question, is that selling is a step-by-step linear process. That's only natural, because most of us have learned selling in linear fashion. You know, contact, qualify, present...etc. Listing elements is a terrific learning tool. But people don't buy linear. They buy at the point when the conditions are met to get what they want. The life force that will determine the outcome, which is called want is sometimes uncovered as early as 45 seconds into the sales process.

Once that want is uncovered, regardless of what stage of the interview you are at, the closing process engine starts automatically. In other words, the rest is details. That means reinforcing the satisfactory conditions for the sale which happens to be the true description of what trial close means.

So--the answer to your question is that a close is not a point in time. It is not a coup de grace or a climax to the story. It is the process, from start to finish, of meeting the satisfactory conditions once the want has been determined, uncovered, observed, answered, or as you mentioned, "signaled". Most of the prospect's buying signals will appear in the very questions they ask. The beauty is that those same questions will usually also reveal the conditions that must be met. - by Gary Boye
Hello Mikey, thank you for your welcome note.

I've been reading your notes from the previous threads. I think that there is probably no one better able to judge the right time to close, than you. You'll know when the time is right, let your subconscious tell you when the time is right, learn to trust your instinct.

Let me share my secret, I hope you can adapt it to fit your style.

I sell business people on the idea of having their fire extinguishers maintained and tested by mayfair fire protection.

I use a conversational style of selling. I collect several buying signals along the way simply because I find them helpful to make the final decission to buy all the more emphatic.

I never try to rush the customer into an early decission but some times the customer does try to rush me!

When someone makes a very early decission to buy I say "thank you for choosing us, shall we complete the paper work?".

When the customer is half way through completing the contract I make a habit of stopping them, on purpose.

Then I'll say "Joe, you seem like the kind of peron who really knows what he wants and i'm really pleased that you are choosing to do business with me, but I just want to check that you are choosing me for the right reasons" "You know that when I've gone ther is bound to be someone who says they can do this either better or cheaper. What reasons will you give them for staying with me?"

The customer nearly always does a better selling job on himself than I could ever do.

Occationally they will throw up an objection to completing the sale.
I don't know about you but I'd rather deal with this now than after the sale.

It's OK if they jump the gun.

Of course I don't sell every prospect I meet but I never have a customer change his mind once he has signed the contract. And I generally get a glowing reference too!.

I imagine that I'm adding strength to my character by allowing the prospect to breath a little, I'm showing that I am genuinely more interested in the transaction being right for him than simply making a sale at any cost.

This builds trust and raport and people remember me not for my personality but for my honesty and my integrity. If I see that the deal won't benefit the prospect in some valuable way then I dont make the deal, even if the customer wants to! There's no room for unhappy clients in my conscious.

One of the greatest influences on my selling style can be found in Neil Rackhams book "the spin selling fieldbook" ISBN 0-07-052235-9 $17.95 USA.

When you sell with integrity making the sale becomes as effortless as breathing.

Lessons I've learnt for myself?
Stop trying to sell, trust your instinct, make sure your product is right for the client, stop worrying about price, never discount, sell from your heart.

Happy reading Mikey,

Dave Bowen
Mayfair Fire Protection
Birmingham (U.K)
- by David Bowen
Question for David Bowen:
David, I'm curious. How are you able to merge the methodology of "trusting one's instincts", with your devotion to Neil Rackham's SPIN concept for selling. Neil developed a very worthwhile step-by-step procedure and overview for an effective selling process? Quite frankly, I've studied his work pretty thoroughly and it appears to be 180 degrees opposite from winging it with instinctive thinking. What am I missing? I know that there is no "best system" for selling, but in looking at your two suggestions, I'm not sure that it can be had both ways. - by Gary Boye
Lessons I've learnt for myself?
Stop trying to sell, trust your instinct, make sure your product is right for the client, stop worrying about price, never discount, sell from your heart.
I like this summary...:) - by RainMaker
Question for David Bowen:
David, I'm curious. How are you able to merge the methodology of "trusting one's instincts", with your devotion to Neil Rackham's SPIN concept for selling. Neil developed a very worthwhile step-by-step procedure and overview for an effective selling process? Quite frankly, I've studied his work pretty thoroughly and it appears to be 180 degrees opposite from winging it with instinctive thinking. What am I missing? I know that there is no "best system" for selling, but in looking at your two suggestions, I'm not sure that it can be had both ways.
Thank you Gary for a question that has really made me think about the influence that Rackhams ideas have had on my style of selling.

First of all I looked at what I really mean't by Trusting My Instinct. My instinct is to treat the customer the way I like to be treated. That is to say with Honesty, Integrity and Openness. I never sell it unless the customer has a real and genuine need for what I have EVEN if they jump the gun and give me the order without understanding exactly why.

Rackham simply gives a methodology which allows people like me to understand how conversational style selling works and how it is good for both buyer and seller.

Through Rackham I learned the importance of probing beyond the first buying signal to reach the real and most compelling reasons why someone should buy my solution.

Having a conversational map or framework to follow helps give me confidence and helps me relax, you know, slow down a little. Finding real needs is not a race, it takes a little patience but with practice it becomes part of your instinct.

From this perspective I am able to look with the customer to see whether or not there is something of real value for him.

It's like paning for gold with you holding one side of the sieve and the customer holding the other. You are both looking for the same thing and working together in order to find it.

In the book NLP AT WORK by Sue Knight (ISBN 1-85788-070-6 $17.95 U.S
there is a metaphor which I think relates quite well to the way in which Rackhams ideas lead us to sales with integrity.

It goes like this.

There was once a man who found a horse by the wayside.
Several days later and after many miles of walking he returned the horse to it's rightful owner who had loved and cared for it since it was a foal.

"How did you know that the horse belonged to me and how did you know where to find me?" asked the owner.

"I didn't" said the man, "I simply put the horse on the road. Each time he left the road I brought him back to it until eventually he lead me to you. I can tell from his body language and yours that you belong to each other."

Rackham provided me with a road. To sell only what the customer truely needs I needed to figure out a good way of finding a customer's real and most pressing need and then help him to uncover, for himself, the implications of those problems and to search through my solutions to see if there was one that was really right for him.

Cha - ching ! SALE !

So you see Gary, I don't see rackhams ideas as being out of line with my core values ( my instinct ). My instict to sell is not based on impulse but on a genuine desire to help people solve the problems that I've already found solutions to.

The hard part for normal sales people is that the product or service is not all that great, there's no real benefit to the customer, so they try to shoe horn the guy into the sale... Rackham shows us another way.

What do you think Gary?

Warm regards

Dave Bowen - by David Bowen
What do you think Gary?
Dave Bowen
I think that your post reveals you to be a leader. - by Gary Boye
Gary, I'm flattered by your last remark.

Leading, however, is not my forte but exploration, discovery and sharing with others, has, become a passion.

Why not look at all the people in the forum as if we were scientists, chemists maybe, working side by side in the ether to discover those truths, however intangible, that help us connect with people and gather reward from providing real and tangible value to some aspect of their lives.

It's Frontier Psychology!

Thanks for your input Gary, I've really enjoyed being challenged to think more clearly about what I do and the way I share what i've learned.

I'm sure I'm going to meet you at the edge on many occations.

Warm Regards

Dave Bowen - by David Bowen
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