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Fun fact: Did you know that 57% of a buying decision is made before a sales representative is even involved? Sell to others as you would like to be sold to! The first blow is "half the battle". Funny, sales needs a war quote!  

A Chinese proverb:

...... Tell me, I may forget.

...... ...... ......  Show me, I will remember.

...... ...... ...... ...... ...... ......  Involve me, I will understand.

Why customer experience is so important? If you've spent time segmenting your leads as ToFU, or BoFu its time to unstack! Learn and unlearn. Focus on who is involved. But what does "involved" mean?  What does it mean to be "emotionally involved". Ever wondered why car salesmen ask you to test drive their cars? It's an emotion!  Why do you think people throng at product launches & block-buster flix?

A good read is Joseph Sugarman’s “The Adweek Copywriting Handbook”. He once opened up a conversation with a master salesman who worked at a TV appliance store.

"....... On the off chance that they approached a TV set and began turning the handles, I realize that I have a 50% chance of selling them. On the off chance that they didn't turn the handles, I had a 10% possibility of selling them… "

Brilliant! This small insight the TV salesman shared is more valuable than any podcasts by any marketer perhaps! Translate the process with your startup business. Are you clients involved? Is he/she is trying out your service/product trails? Are they exposed to a options that enable them make a purchase decision? A long story short, conversion will soon follow. Keep calm & work on your sales funnels & focus on conversion killers.

Don’t Sell What’s Already Sold

If you a closer, and go ahead on talking more, in spite, the client giving a clear buy signals like "Hey, I’m ready to buy this." And, sales representatives don’t need to talk anymore, but to get to signing the  If sales closers would just recognize buying signals, all your SDRs need to remember is the 80:20 rule of sales - Talk 20% and listen 80%.

Let's focus on first buying signal. If your prospect is nodding their heads whenever you are doing your pitch, explaining any product/services, you’re asking questions, or demonstrating products, and your client agrees, its a buying signal. Or, your prospect is touching merchandise/product or wondering how features differ bucket-to-bucket, playing with product features, combinations, any sales development representative should recognize such buying signals.

If your buyer is not interested in the product, he/she may would perhaps say, "Okay." Nope, but when a prospect says, "Okay, let me see that". "Hmm, that’s interesting, wow, okay." That’s a real buying signal. So, that's buying signal number one, when you’re prospect is nodding their heads, or their checking out your merchandise.

Buying signal number two, when your prospect is asking about a specific product. Example, let’s say your sales representatives man the showroom floor, and your prospect asks, "So, what size do you have?", "Does it come with black?", "Does it come in blue? "How many units do you have available?" Anytime they’re asking about your specific product/service, the prospect is interested to buy perhaps, and it’s an indicator of buying interest.

Number three, the use of possessive statements. If your prospect engages in usage of statements/comments about how their life would be impacted after they own, and after they buy the product/service.

Example, let’s say you own a furniture store, and sell sofas, beds. A couple walks in, and they end up passing comments, like “You know what, "this would look very good in our living room.” And, right there's your buying signal. As a prospect, their minds are perhaps already busy, visualizing what it’s gonna be like if they have such particular product/service, a sofa in their living room.

If you are offering training services, and meet a client at a conference, they might say something like, “Hmm, you know what, I think I’m gonna send a dozne of my sales interns to this training.”  That’s a buying signal for your services. Although, they haven’t put down the money as a payment, they have indicated their intent of purchase, and are already imagining their future with the product.

Another example, they might say something like, “Well, you know what, this software would really help me in our company, and make our life so much easier.” That’s clearly a buying signal for your startup product/services.

Number four, when your prospect is asking you about price, it’s an indicator that they want to buy. Now, a prospect might ask price in different ways. Sometimes all it begins would be a question, “How much is it?” That’s a very common way of asking it, but sometimes prospects ask something like “Do you have any financing available?” and keeping their mind occupied about how they can we make the finance work.

“Do you offer any discounts? "Do you offer any volume discounts?” Such questions clearly signals potential interests a prospect wants to buy a lot. “Is this the best price that you could give me? "Is this your last price you can give me?” Again, all those things, whenever your prospect is talking and asking about price, they want to buy.

Buying signal number five, when your prospect is asking about delivery and start date. So, they may ask you questions like, “So, when can we start this? "How soon can we start this?”. “How long would it take for the item to arrive to my home, or to my office?”  “Do you offer any express delivery?”  Right there, when your sales listen to that, its a no-brainer.

Buying signal number six, when your prospect is asking you risk minimization questions. Here's few common buying questions - “What’s your return policy? "How long is warranty? "What about your support system? "How good is your customer service support? "What does your product look like? "If I send an email, if I need help, how soon do you usually get back to me?” That’s another buying signal. If your prospect's buy questions are fear-based, it probably shows their concern.

Although such questions may feel like a sales objection, the usual question SDRs have is “Why is this prospect asking about guarantee, and return policy?” Does that make them a bad client? But chances are such fear-based "objections" signals their voluntary interest in buying product/service, except your prospective clients have some general concerns before purchase.

It’s just that maybe they’ve had a bad experience in the past, and prospects want to make this purchase again, it’s like, “I’m not so sure.” So, that’s why they’re asking about that. So, scenario like this, if you can make them feel comfortable, if you can make them feel at ease, they would buy. And if assuming your products and services are good, and you are able to over deliver, then they would be a loyal customers.

Ways To Recognize Buying Signals

".. 90% of the B2B purchases happens before sales get involved." How do you involve your prospects? Don't plant the idea of selling your product in the first place. That never works! Originality matters in sales. Your customer's involvement with your product can be an experience. Crowdsourcing can be very powerful & exponentially more valuable than just creating demand. It bonds influencers to your brand. Few companies gamify that experience. Talk to them! Ask them what they want to know. Simple as that.

A recent visit to one large mobile showroom left me wondering why would a company invest so much for "experience". Noticed a lot of sales boys guiding prospective buyers how to use their products. There was VR, fitness, simulation, hands-on devices, IoT, and an in-house cafes serving lattes. And, all this for what? To get you involved in an immersive experience, perhaps!

Even a small review, or a simple guest-blog makes a big difference for any business. Involve user-generated content. If the content is engaging and if you can find a way to reward the customers then it's good motivation for them to create content for you. User generated content is gold for any company.

Remember, prospects like buying, but they don’t like being sold to. Prospects can be creative. Some of the best brands in the industry have been built by the shoppers who love to get involved. Make your customers "first". It's lame to ask for feedback when you have a new product or service offering. It's not a fair game to put an irrestitable offer that tweaks their buying decisions. Involve the customer earlier in the design process so you don’t waste time building the wrong thing. What's the point of starting a upscale cafe serving cold-coffees in ladak?

When was the last time you invited sales, marketing, the management board, your customer support folks to your meetings? Sales enablement must involve all of these stakeholders, or every process will be unsustainable. Whether you are a marketing expert or a sales maverick, its an obligation for each to work on demand generation and represent the brand/business. So, as an organization, be it sales or marketing, a high level of commitment is called on for. In business, you need to create a sense of demand, not wait for "demand". Nobody calls you for offer their money! Every person involved in the decision making needs to be aware of your value to them.

Get your prospects involved. Share the life-cycle of your products & talk about your products can solve their problems. If your sales isn't relentlessly focused on what is useful, you become a  forgotten branch. When you involve your customers and clients in a continuous discovery process, you can build them what they need to solve their problem instead of the one they want. Business strategies are dependent on market demand, business goals and budgets. Those things are fluid. So, don’t plead or demand: Involve!

Keep hustling folks. Stay Motivated, Always.