How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
When buyers are ready to buy, they will tell you, but not with words. They will, however, send loud non-verbal signals. All you need to do is be able to read them.
When customers come into your sights, whether it is a retail store, at an exhibition or in any other environment, they will be sending you signals.
The signals that they send will include:
When a customer is not ready to buy, it does not mean that they will not buy, but it does mean that you will need a different approach. Do remember also that if there are many customers around, spending a lot of effort selling to one customer may mean that you miss out on a lot of other easier sales.
Avoiding eye contact with you
When you look at them and they immediately look away, they probably do not need assistance right at this moment. Do watch what they are doing, because they may need some help soon.
If they are handling a limited range of products, spending time looking at things, then it may be a good idea to stand nearby, relaxed and ready to help (not anxious and ready to pounce). When they look at you with a longer glance, move toward them. If they keep looking, keep moving in and start the sale.
Making 'not now' excuses
If they say 'just looking' or otherwise indicate that they don't need help, then make an encouraging remark to keep them looking and back off. Still keep an eye on them to see if their demeanor changes.
Casual handling of the product
If they are casually picking up different products and dropping them back, perhaps not tidily, it can be a big nuisance for you as you tidy up after them (when they have left) but this may well be a symbol of a bored browser. As ever, keep an eye on them so you can move in when they change how they are behaving.
Looking at many different products
If they are wandering around looking at almost random products, spending a similar short time on each one, then they may again be a relatively bored browser.
Moving around quickly
When they are moving quite quickly around the place, they may be scanning for something or may be wandering. If they slow down, watch more carefully and move in when they are showing more signs of interest.
When the person is ready to buy, or at least they are showing some interest, then you should also be ready to pick them up and move them towards the final close.
Spending time looking at one product type
When they are looking at one type of product, and especially if you have a broad range from which they are browsing only a small category, then they may well be interested in buying. Perhaps they need advice, so ask if you can help them decide.
The longer a person looks at one product type, the more likely they are to buy it. They are investing their time, which is a sure sign of interest.
Looking around for somebody to help them
If you see them looking around, catch their gaze, and perhaps raise your eyebrows a little to signal that you are ready to help. If they sustain the glance or raise their eyebrows too, move in to sell.
This is particularly significant if they are holding the product or have just spend time looking at a limited product range.
Asking questions about the detail
If, when you offer help, they get into more detail about the product, then they are likely to be becoming more interested.
If they ask about the functionality of the product, they may well have a checklist of things they are seeking, so ask for details of what they are seeking. You can also ask more about how they will use the product, from which you can advice on the best buy for them.
Asking about price
This is a good buying signal. You can tell them the price or you can ask how much they are looking to spend today. If they tell you, then you can help them find the best value for the money they have to spend.
Using possession language
When they pick up the product, they are getting a sense of owning it. This continues when they talk about how they will use the product -- which is a good reason for encourage this talk. Look for 'I' language. Get them to use it. Ask how they will use it. You can even talk about it as if they already own it, although be careful of being unsubtle and pushy.
Asking another person’s opinion
When they ask another person what they think about the product, they are likely thinking about buying the product and are seeking confirmation.
You might thus find yourself selling it to the second person also. Think about this when you are making the initial sale -- include whoever else is there in the sales talking, though do watch for whether the main seller wants to be the main focus or appreciates others being included.
Body state changes
Any transition in non-verbal communication will typically signal a change in mental state that may well indicate readiness to buy. If they suddenly relax after asking questions or discussing the product, this may well signal that they have changed mental state. Other signals includes changes in body position, gesture, skin tone, style of talk and so on.
Touching the money
If they touch their wallet or purse and especially if they get out cash or credit card, this is a very strong signal for you. Get to them and ask if you can help. If they say they want to buy, just take their money (and do beware of 'unselling' the product by your over-zealous and non-needed sales patter).