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Decoding Your Prospects
Decoding Your Prospects
How to figure out if they like you

As an agency, we think it’s important to keep in mind that what we do isn’t the end goal. Sure, it’s great if a billboard we created makes someone giggle, or a TV commercial moves someone to tears. But ultimately, if what we are creating isn’t moving someone to buy or donate or at least contact our clients for more information, we are simply having fun at our clients’ expense.

But good or even great marketing can only go so far. You need a strong sales or development team to get prospects to the finish line. Brian Kavicky is a partner and sales trainer at Lushin, a Sandler Sales Training group here in Indy.

We asked him to share some insights on understanding prospect behavior, which as you’ll see isn’t only useful in sales meetings. Any writer or designer who has presented their work to a client can learn something from Brian’s advice; just change “buying signals” to “creative feedback,” and you’ll see what we mean.

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Let’s change the way we think about buying signals.

I’m sure that I’m not throwing out any term that you haven’t heard when I say, “Buying signals.” These are signals that a prospect gives us to suggest that they are going to buy. Typically, sales people think buying signals are phrases like:

  • “This is really great stuff. We are very interested.”
  • “We think we will do this.”
  • “We loved your presentation.”
  • “This has been very helpful.”

The problem is none of these are buying signals. In fact, if you are a sales person reading this, you have heard these things many times and not gotten a sale. So why do things that sound nice to our ears and give us “happy ears” end up not turning into business?

It’s because these signals are designed to make you go away and leave them alone. Positive statements are used by prospects to make you feel like things are okay—so you won’t pressure them or force a decision. Bad salespeople who pressure people taught them that this worked, and now they repeat the behavior all the time.

The only positive buying signal that really exists sounds something like, “Please give me the contract. I am going to sign it right now in front of you and hand you a check to ensure we get started.”

However, we can still decode buyer behavior enough to ensure that they are moving closer to signing the contract. The real signal that a prospect is interested is when they start convincing you to sell them something. They use phrases that sound something like this:

  • “We have to do this, or we will just keep losing money.”
  • “The system that we’ve been using is junk. This system makes so much more sense and will completely improve our productivity.”
  • “The new design is so much better than our old design. It truly represents who we really are.”

These are logical reasons why they are about to act. The “fake” signals are compliments about you or your performance. You will be much better at selling when you can get your prospects to sell you and ignore their compliments. You aren’t doing this to get compliments. You are doing this to get business.