How do you know when a prospect is ready to buy? How do you know…

There is an internet marketing guru I’ve been following for some time. I’ve always done business online and this guru is one of a number that I follow. I needed some help with a project and so contacted his office to set up a consultation.

After an exhaustive amount of hard work trying to reach someone in his customer support team to set up the consultation I did finally manage to reach ‘Mary Anne.’

I told ‘Mary Anne’ that I’d been a fan of The Guru’s for quite some time and then said: “How do I set up a consultation with The Guru?”

‘Mary Anne’ started her pitch. She told me The Guru was an internationally-renowned expert. He’s in great demand. He speaks all over the world… and on and on and on…

Meanwhile, there I was with my credit card clutched in my hand…

When ‘Mary Anne’ paused for breath, I foolishly asked her some questions. I say, ‘foolishly,’ because she never actually answered my questions she simply started pitching again. The questions I asked were: “Should I send material in advance for The Guru to review?” and “Should I book more than one consultation to start?”

These are the type of question that sales trainers call “Buying Signals.” “Buying Signals” are things that prospects say that tell a listener that the prospect is ready to buy. Statements like, “Should I send material in advance for The Guru to review?” or “Should I book more than one consultation to start?” definitely fall into this category.

Instead ‘Mary Anne’ continued her pitch. She told me that The Guru is smart, he’s resourceful and he’s a problem-solver…

I finally interrupted ‘Mary Anne’ and attempted instead to move her to the next steps involved in setting up a consultation. (I say, ‘attempted’ because I may or may not have a consultation lined up with The Guru.) Not all prospects will be that single-minded in trying to buy when they are being blocked by a pitching representative. They might, reasonably be turned off.

So, what are the sales lessoned learned here?

Lesson #1: Listen to what your prospect is saying. I was telling Mary Anne loud and clear (“How do I set up a consultation with The Guru?”) that I was ready to buy. She just wasn’t paying attention.

Lesson #2: If you keep talking at your prospect when they have very clearly indicated they are ready to buy, (“Should I book more than one consultation to start?”) you run the very real risk of them changing their minds. Take the money when your prospect is offering it.

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