Selling face-to-face or via Skype is really a hands-on, interactive process. When your prospect is ready, that’s when you want to strike. But when you want to close a sale, you can’t push too early or you’re likely to encounter resistance. If you attempt to close a sale before they’re ready to buy, you may be going home empty-handed. But what should you look for to decide if potential clients are ready to pull the trigger? Prospects may actually give many cues that they're ready to buy what you're selling—you just have to know what they look like.
1. They Ask Clarifying Questions
When a customer starts to ask specific questions, it may indicate their interest. This may mean that they’re approaching decision-making mode and that they may be ready for you to close a sale. Things like, “How does that work?”, “What will the impact be?” or “Can I use it for this application?” are all great indicators that your prospect is moving in the right direction. Before you move on, you want to make sure your prospect understands what you’re offering. Answer the questions and consider asking for the sale after.
2. When They Ask About the Price
A disclaimer here: If a prospect immediately asks about the price just as you’re beginning your sales pitch, they may be a shopper rather than a buyer. They may not be ready for you to close a sale. But when they ask about the price as you’re nearing the end of the pitch—and especially if your prospects have been asking qualifying questions—then they may be ready to buy.
3. When They Give You the Right Verbal and Nonverbal Cues
A possible sign of interest is having a prospect lean toward you as the sale comes to an end, after they sat back while you explained features and benefits during your sales pitch. They may also express positive interest through the tone of their voice—more upbeat tone, quicker speed, a rise in pitch—signaling that they're primed for you to close a sale.
4. They Make Eye Contact
When someone avoids making eye contact with you during sales pitches, that may mean they’re not ready to make a decision yet. Sometimes you can tell a prospect is interested when they're engaged and making eye contact. Now, they may have decided not to buy—at least not right then—but at least you know where they are in the process. If you combine eye contact with a positive tone and the right nonverbal cues, then you may be close to landing that sale.
5. They’re in the Right Mood
Step back and assess your prospect’s mood. Are they happy and upbeat? That’s a great sign. Are they negative and curt? Not so great. You may be able to shift a prospect’s mood a little if you develop a great rapport, but a positive outlook from the get-go is a good sign.
6. They Filter out Distractions
Pay close attention to what your prospects do while you’re giving your sales pitch. Do they let the phone ring, or is the phone silenced? Do they check email? Respond to texts? If your prospects are focused on you and leaving their email and phone for later, you’ve done a great job of engaging them—and they may be more likely to buy what you're selling.
7. They Are Responsive to Your Questions
Since we already know that you should be asking at least as many questions as you answer, you can tell a lot by how your prospects respond. Do they give detailed answers? You may just have them on the hook!
8. They Mirror You
As you’re assessing nonverbal cues, check to see if your prospects mirror your actions. Do they fold hands when you do? Lean back when you lean back? If prospects mirror your body language, they may feel a connection, a trust that makes them feel comfortable.
9. They Use a Possessive Tone
If your prospects change their words to terms like “mine,” “our” or “my” when they’re talking about what you’re selling, then that’s a pretty clear sign they’re visualizing themselves as having made the deal. If you’re talking in person about a physical object, if a prospect keeps touching the product, they may be envisioning it as theirs already.
Timing is absolutely critical when it comes to closing a sale. When you see a few of these signs during your sales pitch, this may be your cue that you can indeed close a sale. Ask if they’re ready to proceed, and make this deal into a reality. The more sales pitches you make, the better you may get at evaluating your prospects —and you may improve the number of sales and deals you close for your business.
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