How Can Your Sales Team Recognize Buying Signals?

By Sander Biehn | Aug 9, 2019

Sander Biehn is founder and CEO of Thought Horizon, LLC. After a successful career in sales at AT&T, he founded his company in 2013 helping organizations to build, manage and succeed using social selling.

It is very easy to recognize buying signals when you are offline. You watch for subtle body movements, change in tone, and even signs of hesitation, and bam – you know they are just a few pitches away from buying your products and services. Though they are not really transparent, but sales pros are called pros for a reason. They identify those signs. 

But that’s not how it works with online customers. In the internet arena, buying signals are a bit harder to recognize and very difficult to pinpoint. To make matters worse is the ever-growing fact that recognizing online buying signals is a critical new skill that many salespeople need to learn. 93% of sales reps have not yet acquired formal training on social selling. 

So how does your sales team learn social selling skills that will help them identify online buying signals and strike the iron while it’s hot? Here are some tips and tricks to help you out. 

1. Interactions

Interactions define how users engage with your brand on a social network. Each platform has its own set of rules when it comes to defining social media interactions. While the exercise to get high social interactions is truly overwhelming, getting interactions from the right people on your content is exciting. However, this enthusiasm can quickly turn into frustration when the potential buyer is not willing to take it a step further or switch into offline mode. 

In case you ever encounter this situation, choose to take it slow. Think very hard about what additional content might be of interest. Identify how you can add more value to the users’ experiences and how can you win their faith in your expertise. If someone like your post on new technology, it may be the right time to post and tag the prospect on a few more posts that translate that technology into a market vertical. 

2. Watch For Their Behavior While They Talk

It is too easy for sales reps to get happy ears and interpret prospects’ mild expressions as readiness to buy. That makes the talking game all the more fun. But, there always comes a time when you should recognize signals to take the conversations to a new level. And that means setting an appointment to talk to meet in-person. 

However, you need to take a pause here (and this) into a lot more into consideration. It is important for you to understand that when buyers are in that consideration stage, they are still evaluating their options. Before you finally start persuading clients, watch for vital signs of readiness in their messages. That can include: 

1: Purchasing and financing questions

2: Possessive statements that make their messages appear like they already own the product

3: Expressions demonstrating that your products are desirable

4: Risk-minimization questions that make them feel more comfortable with the purchase

5: Next-step questions

3. Don’t Take Their Ignorance For A No

As mentioned, unless a customer has committed to a brand, he is in the consideration phase. And if you are being ignored, it doesn’t mean that the prospect is not interested. If you are sure that your prospect fits the buyer persona, passive promotion of content is amazing. Churn the content out that they should be interested in, and keep them engaged. Online makes it easy to continue to share new and interesting ideas without being a pest. So, why not just use it?

Take-Home Message

Identifying the difference between mild interest and a desire to buy helps sales pros to align their sales processes to the buyer’s journey. Instead of forcing a sale when the prospect is in the consideration stage or talking to eager prospects out of the purchase, reps can instead time their responses to the prospect’s mindset. And that’s how they get the deals to close.

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