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Shhhh, advisors: Understanding buying signals

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Professional salespeople are so elegant, they “listen” people into buying. This not only means you effectively probe for needs and wants; it also suggests that you pay more attention to how the prospect reacts to what you say. Some of those reactions are cues from your prospect that they have heard enough and want you to move to the next stage of the process. Sometimes these cues indicate they want to buy.

Most sales are a complete accident. They occur because you happen by chance to stop talking and the prospect coincidentally is ready to buy. If you know how to listen, while also possessing some product knowledge, all you need is to stop talking.

As simple as this seems, 70 percent of your sales are lost because you don’t know when to close. Knowing when is more important than knowing how. If you have done a good job of gaining your prospect’s trust, he will usually close himself. Sometimes, you just have to be sharp enough to ask “What do you think?” and then listen. They will often say, “Sounds great.”

But if you try to talk your prospect into submission, you’ll find yourself manipulating. When you do that, you’ll gain short-term sales and long-term losses. Your customer will ask for a refund a few days later. Prospects will show you innocuous but obvious cues indicating when they want to buy. If you miss any one of those cues, you’ll miss the sale.

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Kerry Johnson, MBA, Ph.D., is a best-selling author and frequent speaker at financial planning and insurance conferences around the world. Peak Performance Coaching, his one-on-one coaching program, promises to increase your business by 80 percent in eight weeks. To see if you are a candidate for this fast-track system, click on and take a free evaluation test.