Buying Signals on the Phone

These are strong signs from your customer that they are thinking about owning your product or using your service.  The thought is in their head.  They like what you’ve said so far, they trust you and your company and are interested.

Traffic Lights

Let’s look at a system to help you gauge the buyer’s  position.  Lots of successful salespeople use an imaginary traffic light in their head.  You know the classic red, amber and green.

The red light indicates stop.  In a car we do this and in selling we should do so as well.  The reason is that the customer is not interested and is showing negative signs.

Our actions should be based around bringing the customer out of this negative point of view, if we can.

Amber indicates caution.  Proceed carefully and be aware of on coming traffic.  In selling we should do the same.  Be aware that we’re not quite hitting their buttons yet and should do some more work on this before going too much further.

Green is go.  So continue as you’re doing.  If you’ve got green towards the end then close and get the paperwork done.  Just do it.

Let’s look at how we can recognise different colours on our traffic lights.

The Red Light

When you notice a red light get out of it quickly

  • “Is everything fine so far?”
  • “What’re your thoughts?”

Or the classic

  • “How do you feel about what I’ve been saying?”

The Amber Light

Usually a sign something is wrong somewhere and we need to investigate.  Ask testing questions to test the temperature.  Listen to their thoughts and reactions and act accordingly.

You can usually recognise amber when you’re not getting green light signals which we’ll look at in a moment and you’re not getting red light signals either.  You’re in the middle.

  • “What’s on your mind Bob”
  • “I can see something is on your mind?”

Sometimes the best thing to do here is to continue.  It could be their way of behaving.  Cautious, nervous could be their natural style.  Listen to their reactions though.  Ask some questions.  Get them talking.

  • “What’s on your mind so far?”
  • “How do you feel about this so far?”
  • “Is this interesting for you?”
  • “How does this compare with…?”

The Green Light

Spotting the green light is very re-assuring isn’t it?  When we are in the middle of the call, it gives us permission to proceed and enjoy ourselves.  Towards the end it allows us to close effortlessly and quickly.

The biggest problem I’ve noticed over the years with salespeople is that some of the more subtle signals are not noticed.  Let’s look at these.

Verbal signals are a little more tricky so listen carefully.  Generally talking faster in a more excited way.

Lots of questions around the product.

  • “When could you get that agreed?”
  • “Can I make changes later on?”
  • “What’s the 24/7 support like”,
  • “What do you think of them?”
  • “I like the way it does that.”

What do you do with their green light?  Close them.  Maybe a trial such as:

  • “If everything sounds right for you…let’s talk about a case that you’re working on then, shall we?

Podcast Version