The 7 Closing Habits of Highly Effective Tele-Sales Reps (Habit #2: Recognizing Buying Signals)

Highly effective closers are acutely tuned into buying signals.

A buying signal is anything that a prospect says that indicates a legitimate interest in purchasing the product. Buying signals are sign posts that indicate if the call is on the right track.  Closers follow the signs.

Buying Signals 101

Okay, here’s the skinny on buying signals.  First of all, buying signals don’t necessarily occur at the end of the call.  Depending on the situation, a client can indicate interest at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the call. So what that really means is that you have to been tuned in 100% of the time. Missing a sign post at the beginning of a call may take you away from your final closing destination.  Following at buying signal at the beginning of a call may act like a secret path and take you to the close immediately

Next, buying signals come in hot, medium and mild.  In other words, some buying signals are stronger than others. When the client speaks as though she has already taken possession of the product, you have a hot signal. On the other hand, if the client simply says, “That’s interesting” in a non-committal manner, it’s mild. Highly effective closers understand this and can separate the two.

Third, a lack of a buying signal doesn’t necessarily mean the client is not interested but your spider senses should be tingling.  Great closers will actively solicit a buying signal to assess where they are on the trail.  (More on that in Habit #3: Trial Closes)

And finally, buying signals over the telephone fall into two categories:  verbal and tonal.

Verbal Buying Signals

Verbal buying signals are questions or statements from clients that indicate specific interest.

“Will that integrate with my current software?”

“So there is absolutely no charge for the trial?”

“That would be easy for us to implement…”

“What sort of support do you provide?”

“That sounds interesting…”

“That’s a neat feature!”

“Can it be leased?”

“How long does implementation typically take?”

Another verbal buying signal is when the client speaks as though he or she has already taken possession of the product or service.

“So, when we are ready, you’ll do the training, right?”

“How often will I get updates?”

“So, we’ll get unlimited access to the resource center, correct?”

“I’d need to speak to our IT guy to see if there’s room on the server.”

“So after you give the training you can show us how to coach?”

Tonal Buying Signals

Tonal verbal signals are “sounds” that prospective buyers make that indicate interest or value.  Unfortunately, trying to provide a tonal example in a written format such as this article is a bit of a challenge but I think you know what I am talking about, don’t you?

For example, suppose you make a key point and you hear a positive “Ohhh…”  This suggests a sense of delight or interest. It’s a buying signal.  Similarly, if you hear a thoughtful “hmmm…” chances are the prospect is contemplating the benefits of ownership.

The effective closer listens for these indicators because she doesn’t have the benefit of face-to-face contact.


Highly effective closers are keenly aware of buying signals. Of course, it is not enough to recognize a buying signal.  You need to do something with it. Leverage it. Shape it. Use it.  And that’s where the third habit kicks in.  A great closer uses trials closes to make the most of the signal. See the next article in the series.

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3 Responses to The 7 Closing Habits of Highly Effective Tele-Sales Reps (Habit #2: Recognizing Buying Signals)

  1. that’s good approach, i would like to add on for more filtration with verbal – while talking to some one try to understand person word selection, we can categorize into two part, action word or emotional word, what kind of preferences he/she use(action word:- i did, do, action centric senses, and emotional words: sensing, visualization, imagination senses, i see, i want, try, heard). this can help you to sequence your approaches.

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