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Buying Signals | Are You Overlooking the Obvious?

Several weeks ago, I arrived early for a meeting with a client and caught myself mentally evaluating a salesperson who appeared to be winding up his presentation.  During a lull in their conversation, I heard the prospective buyer tell the agent he was ready to go to contract.  “I really do like what I’ve seen here,” he said, “I love the floor plan, the golf course is perfect, and I can’t imagine a more ideal home site.”

Every new home salesperson I know dreams of a client like this one!  This man gift wrapped the sale of a $600,000 home and handed it to the salesman!

I pretended to compose a very long text in anticipation of a close I could hardly wait to hear, but rather than move the sale to its obvious conclusion, the salesman continued his presentation, discussing warranties and providing additional community information, then furnished a brochure and strongly encouraged the man to return when he was ready to purchase!

Still staring at my phone, trying to process what had just happened, I watched the would-be buyer leave the sales office and wondered what he must be thinking.

Clearly, this salesman didn’t recognize a buying signal when it fell into his lap!

Know What to Look For and How to Identify it

Be aware that some buyers give more subtle, non-verbal clues such as a smile when you mention a feature or leaning forward during negotiations.  These signals can be easily missed.

Any time a prospect asks a question during a presentation it’s a good sign.  But questions such as, “What is your build time?,” or “What kind of warranties do you offer?” are especially strong buying signals because they show that the buyer is beginning to take emotional ownership of the home.

If you find it difficult to differentiate between objections and buying signals remember, objections are most often presented as statements.

For example, the prospect might put forth a buying signal by asking, “Could you take another $10,000 off the price?”  Whereas, if the buyer used price as an objection, he would most likely phrase it in statement form, “Oh, that price is at least $10,000 over my budget.”

The Most Obvious Buying Signals

  • They walk into your sales office
  • They make and keep an appointment with you
  • They go out on the property with you
  • They give you their contact information
  • They ask about your incentives
  • They return your calls

Less Obvious Buying Signals

  • Smiling or nodding
  • Positive statements (“I like that.”)
  • Excitement (about any feature or detail)
  • Openly planning/furniture placement (“I could do this with that room.” “Your chair can go here.”)
  • Asking about time frames
  • Asking about next steps
  • Indecisive about options
  • Questions about warranties/HOA fees
  • Customization questions 

Clues From the Quiet Ones

  • Look for nodding – even small movements
  • Increased eye contact
  • Making calculations
  • Fingers drumming on table – indicates boredom or frustration
  • Leaning forward – indicates interest
  • Picking up or playing with a pen – may mean they are ready to sign

Learning to interpret body language is essential when working with more reserved buyers or those who worry that they may not get the best deal if they show interest or excitement.  Few people realize that even if they say nothing at all, their body language speaks volumes.  This skill helps top salespeople determine how clients are receiving their presentations and assists them in deciding when to attempt a close and when it’s best to slow down.

Recognize and Utilize

Allow your buyers to tell you what they want, how they want it and when they want it.  Pay close attention.  Learn to read body language and to recognize and utilize buying signals.  Listen with your eyes as well as your ears.   Once you begin to close more sales, you’ll never overlook the obvious again.

“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say.  I just watch what they do.”

~ Andrew Carnegie

Until next time,