We all have fantasies. Wouldn’t it be great if during your presentation the prospect said: “Stop talking! I’m ready to buy! Where do I sign?” We know real life isn’t like that. Prospects do give us certain clues they are ready to buy.
Why is this important? Because we need to know when to stop presenting (selling) and start closing. We’ve heard about people who “talked the prospect into a sale but talked them out of it because they kept on going!
Five Clues Prospects Give Us
You’ve heard all about body language. That’s only one element in the process. There are others.
- Leaning forward. That’s a body language clue. It means they are engaged with you and paying attention. It appears they want to get closer, signaling “I’m in.” At the other extreme, if they rock back in their chair, they are creating distance. Crossed arms convey “You haven’t convinced me yet.”
- Nodding. Here’s another body language clue. If they are looking at you, nodding and smiling, the message they are conveying is “I’m paying attention.” Nodding can also imply “I’m agreeing with you.”
- Responding to trial closes. It’s great if they are nodding, but what if they aren’t. If we keep talking and talking, it’s possible the client will have thought up a question they want to ask. They are waiting for a moment to bring it up. Unfortunately, they sometimes stop listening to everything you are saying after they thought up the question. We use trial closes to confirm they are following along and give them the opportunity to ask questions. Our advisor will ask: “Does that make sense to you?” She stops talking and waits for an answer. “So far so good?” and “Are you OK with that?” are other examples. Notice trial closes are often worded so “yes” is the logical, comfortable answer. The logic is a series of “yes” answers is rarely followed by a “no” when you transition to closing.
- Asking questions. You’ve heard about the distinction of talking “with” someone vs. talking “at” them. Talking with someone involves interaction. In this case, they are asking questions. An advisor once explained “They ask questions as if they are already a client.” For example, you are talking about an investment that produces monthly income and the prospect asks: “What if I don’t need the income? Can it be reinvested?” It sounds like they are behaving as if they already own it. Time to stop presenting and start closing.
- Providing account statements. You are talking about retirement planning. Your prospect came prepared. The printed statements off their firm’s online system. The dug out tax returns. They put in some time and effort to arrive prepared. This is a good clue they are ready to take action.
Here’s a concern you might raise: “We haven’t gone over the fine print yet. There are things the prospect needs to know.” Good for you. You are a good advisor. When you see the drug ads on TV, you see the fine print at the bottom of the screen and hear the voice over about side effects. Before your new client leaves, you will have time to review those details. This might be when you are explaining what they are signing. It might be: “Here are some things you need to know about… You are a good advisor. You will include them.
Empathize how your proposal specifically addresses their problem. Here’s why: People with a problem are in need of a solution. If they were referred by another client, it’s logical you solved a problem similar to the prospect’s problem. They are looking for a solution. You might have come across the prospect through a different channel and identified a problem they have. Once the problem is identified, it remains a problem until it is addressed. Your proposal might not solve the problem immediately, but it should put them on the path towards having a solution.