If you had to choose, would you say your success rests on your ability to answer the phone and take orders or appointments? Or do you make more money based on your ability to nurture leads into paying, loyal customers?

Think about how you know when a prospect is ready to buy.

What signals or signs stand out? Do you have to do some digging to make sure you’re reading those signals correctly? Or do you take things at face value, hoping people are ready to buy?

What about the leads that take a little more nurturing? How do you handle those? Do you have the tools in place, like a quality customer relationship management (CRM) system with integrated communications tools? (More on how to get your hands on a system like that later.)

Effective small business owners are great listeners and observers. They guide each conversation with finesse, knowing the right questions to ask and when to stay silent and let prospects do all the talking. Then, they nurture relationships after the fact, tracking their progress and using what they learn along the way to earn new and repeat business.

Today we’re launching the first in a series on how to use lead nurturing techniques to grow your business.

First up – an in-depth look at buying signals.

The Problem with Ignoring Buying Signals

You’re busy. Your team’s busy. And answering the phone, responding to online inquiries, and greeting walk-ins probably isn’t anyone’s full time job at your small business. So it’s easy to get into a rut of treating leads more like items on a to-do list and less like opportunities to nurture lasting business relationships.

Could you be guilty of this?

Some of the most common lead nurture mistakes:
  • Being short or speaking too quickly
  • Interrupting or making assumptions
  • Transferring a phone call to voicemail because you’re “too busy” to take it
  • Ending a conversation early so you can get back to what you were doing
  • Dismissing a lead because you have a hunch they won’t convert immediately or soon enough
  • Booking an appointment without first conducting a needs assessment

Don’t beat yourself up. Less-than-perfect phone calls and missed opportunities happen. But there are ways to improve your initial interactions with leads so you can do a better job at lead nurture and convert them into prospects and ultimately loyal, paying customers.

One of the best ways? Learn how to identify the most common buying signals.

The Importance of Identifying Buying Signals

Unfortunately, leads don’t shoot flares into the sky or send smoke signals when they’re ready to buy. Some don’t even know they’re ready to buy until you say the right thing.

Fortunately, they do send buying signals and display other signs they may be farther into the consideration phase or the purchase cycle than you know. They may even be ready to buy your product or service.

So it’s on you to know how to spot buying signals and when to act on them.

5 Buying Signals to Keep an Eye Out For

Here are some of the top buying signals that should clue you in on a lead who’s (more than likely) ready to convert.

1. They’re asking a lot of questions.

When someone’s asking questions (outside of “Can I speak to your manager,” and “How’d you get this number?”) it’s typically because you’ve piqued their interest. So most questions that aren’t overtly sarcastic or rude should be encouraging.

Better yet, there are a few types of questions that send pretty clear indications a prospect may be deeply considering your product or service.

Questions like:
  • What’s the timing? How long will this take?
  • Who will I be working with on your team?
  • Is there a warranty or insurance? What about post-sale support?

What all of those questions have in common is they assume a sale has already occurred. In asking these questions, a prospect has already mentally prepared to purchase from your business. Now, they’re trying to assure themselves they’re making a smart, sustainable decision. When you hear questions like these, do your best to provide in-depth answers and clarify what their needs are in those areas.

2. They ask you to repeat or clarify something.

Ever wonder why some leads ask you to repeat things more than others? There are two reasons for this.

  1. Again, they’re really, really interested in what you’ve got to offer.
  2. What you said hit a pain point of theirs, so they want to ensure you can deliver a potential solution.

The best way to handle a lead who’s asking for you to repeat certain product features or information about your services is to expand slightly on what you said the first time. Emphasize the value you bring more and more, and talk benefits, not features.

3. They’re sharing reasonable objections or concerns.

Emphasis on the word, “reasonable.” Some objections are an attempt to shut down the conversation, and you already know what those sound like.

But if a lead has made contact with you and hasn’t yet hung up the phone or ended the conversation, any objections they share are just cries for help. So don’t hang up on them just yet!

Objecting leads or prospects want more information or are even feeling bummed out if they think you may not be able to help them. It’s on you to find ways to reassure them you’re the one to get the job done.

4. They bring up price outside of an objection.

If a prospect mentions price outside of something along the lines of, “I don’t have budget for that right now,” that’s a great sign. And if they ask before you get the chance to bring it up yourself, even better.

Pro tip: One of the best ways to put prospects at ease about price is to make what they’re paying sound tailored to their specific, unique needs. Even if you have fixed or flat pricing, explain exactly what goes into what they’re paying for, so they feel they’re getting the bang for their buck.

5. You’re hearing a lot of verbal affirmations like “yes” or “totally.”

This may sound obvious, but individuals who are quick to validate what you’re saying already believe in your offering. If you feel you’ve covered your bases and can solve a problem for them, it’s time to go for the close!

Could You Better Nurture Leads?

Not every buying signal is an invitation to close the deal. And when they’re not, Thryv can help. We not only generate leads for your business, Thryv is the only do-it-all platform that sets you up for success when nurturing these leads. So even if they don’t convert on that initial conversation, you’ll be fully equipped with a robust CRM, text and email marketing and more, so you keep them in the loop.