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As a Salesperson do you recognize when the lights change from Red to Green

September 19th, 2012

Studies have shown that 62% of sales presentations end without the salesperson asking for a buying decision due largely to a lack of sales skills training and a focus on product training.

In this guest article Brett Burgess from Sales Impact Group discusses buying signals

One of the key skills for any salesperson is in recognizing buying signals.

The average person can talk at approximately 260 to 300 words a minute. It’s estimated that most people can absorb that same information at six or seven times that rate. That’s why you can go home after a long day at work, turn the television on, read the paper, have a conversation with your spouse, eat dinner, find out how the kids did at school and think about the sales meeting you have at 9 am the next morning … all at the same time.

We all have the capability of mentally multitasking.

Now here’s the big question. As a sales person, are you really listening for your prospects or customers buying signals, or are you just selectively hearing what you want to? Is your mind wandering, or are you just listening to respond and filtering out important buying signals?

If you don’t listen, you’ll never know. If you let your prospects or customers talk without interrupting, they will tell you everything you need to know about their needs and give you a roadmap on how to sell to them. They will also, through verbal buying signals, let you know when and how to ask for the business. Timing is everything. But you have to listen – pay attention and listen.

While it’s not profound, it’s painfully true. You can’t listen for verbal buying signals if you’re always talking. It’s been said that if a salesperson is talking more than 20 percent of the time, he or she is talking too much. It’s not about us! It’s all about finding out how you can help them.

Ask an open-ended question; actually listen to the answer and concentrate on it.

It’s important to pause. Salespeople feel uncomfortable allowing a pause to continue, but from the standpoint of listening to buyers, sometimes that pause is essential. They’re considering something and formulating their answer. Don’t jump in. That small uncomfortable pause is an opportunity to listen for verbal buying signals that may give you the key for closing the sale. Take the pause and, instead of making it a comma, make it a period. It’s also important to take notes. If you’re taking notes that means you’re listening and focused on what the prospect is saying. The faintest ink is greater than the fondest memory.

Listen for loopholes. When a prospect starts asking such questions as, “Do you have anything a bit less expensive that I can work into the budget?” or “Do I pay now or can you bill me later?” – those are all verbal buying signals. That means they are interested in spending money with you. Now it’s just a matter of working a project into their budget. It’s not if, it’s how and when.

In many cases, customers hold up a big sign saying, don’t trip over the obvious customer interest that is coming your way, but salespeople don’t always recognize those signals because they have a tendency to talk more than they listen. Listening for buying signals is really easy to do badly and really hard to do well.

Quote of the Week:

As you travel down life’s highway….whatever be your goal
you cannot sell a doughnut without acknowledging the hole

Harold J. Shayler

This article was supplied by Brett Burgess who is a sales trainer and programme developer for Sales Impact Group based in Hawkes Bay.

To find out more about Brett visit his website by clicking here

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