Watch out for these mistakes in your sales talk

The sales talk went very well, but then the customer suddenly jumped off. Sounds familiar? Maybe you should learn to recognize buying signals.

If the line is jerking, an angler knows immediately: a fish has bitten. It’s time to reel him in. There’s no way he’d think of using more bait at a time like this.

But that’s exactly what many salespeople do in a sales talk: in fact, they have already convinced the customer. But instead of making the purchase perfect, they keep on talking in monologue: they emphasise this detail or praise that advantage – and miss the perfect moment to close the bag. Anyone who is not dealing with customers who are thoroughly determined to buy at such moments will certainly drive them away.

Recognizing buying signals by listening

In order not to miss the perfect moment, one thing above all helps: listening. “But this is one of the most overlooked aspects of sales,” writes sales professional Joe Girard in his book “Closing the deal safely”. The man knows what he is talking about: according to the Guinness Book of Records, he is the best car salesman in the world. Girard believes that every salesperson can benefit from listening properly. But he says that many people are so busy babbling that they don’t hear the signals to buy.

When Girard talks about buying signals, he does not mean any signals that the customer unconsciously sends with his body. Crossed arms, a pluck at the earlobe, scraping feet, beads of sweat on the forehead – these are not clear purchase or non-purchase signals for him. They leave far too much room for interpretation. In his opinion, at best psychology professionals can interpret them correctly. The rest are in danger of drawing the wrong conclusions.

Alarming sentences

Girard understands by purchase signals, sentences from customers that reflect their clear interest. The sales professional lists the following as examples:

  • “What are the monthly instalments?”
  • “What colors is it available in?”
  • “This will please my husband/wife.”
  • “What happens when I press this button?”
  • “How does it work?”
  • “If I bought it, how much would I have to pay now?”
  • “Which do you recommend?”
  • “What is the difference between this model and the more expensive one?”
  • “That’s a good point. I see what you mean.”
  • “Can I take it home to try out?”
  • “Will you take something in trade?”
  • “Oh, now that’s a great detail.”

All these questions signal that the customer is really interested. He worries about the details, considers in which variant he should buy the product and how it will come to his home. In such moments a good salesperson should concentrate fully on this question or statement. For example:

The customer: “If I bought it, how much would I have to pay now?”
The seller: “If you want to take it now, I’ll give it to you for X Euro and take it directly from the warehouse for you.”

These questions are like “salesman penalties”

The german sales trainer Thomas Bottin has a similar opinion on his website. He considers the following two types of questions to be the two clearest buying signals.

Questions of uncertainty:

Whenever the customer hits again and wants to hedge, this is a clear buy signal. Typical uncertainty questions are:

  • “The battery really lasts six hours?”
  • “You really give a two percent discount?”
  • “If I have a problem, can I actually ask your customer service for help anytime, free of charge?”

The task of the seller is then: to take away the uncertainty and answer the question as concretely as possible. Under no circumstances should you then list all the advantages again.

Detailed questions

  • “Does the bike come in black?”
  • “Do you have that closet in a different size?”
  • “Do you deliver to the second floor?”

Bottin writes: “These detailed questions are definitely salesmanlike penalties. You simply have to transform them. A customer who asks questions like that has already bought in his mind.”