Recently, I handed over my email address to a sales technology company and much to my annoyance, my phone number, name of my company, title, and headcount – to download an e-book of “sumthin’ or other” (it was so memorable, I couldn’t tell you the details of what or why I opted in). The promise of information piqued my interest but the technology solution did not. Shortly thereafter – as in 60 minutes, I got a call from Joe from that very company. He started the conversation like this,
“Hi Shawn, this is Joe from XYZ company. I see you downloaded our e-book on ‘Sumpthin’ or other’ and I wanted to know if you had any questions about our product or we can discuss which pricing plan might be best for your company.”
Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, Slow your roll, Joe. I just downloaded content. I didn’t express any real interest in your company or product.
It felt like a dating scene gone wrong. I had given him my phone number and he jumped right to setting a date for the wedding!
After I politely explained to Joe that I was really only interested in the content at this time, he kindly offered to walk me through a demo. He’s clearly not listening to me, just going through the steps he’s supposed to hit. I realized, even though I had handed over plenty of prequalifying information, I was going to have do the work here and pre-qualify myself out of this situation.
“Joe, let me just be clear. Is your solution a good fit for sales teams of 20 people or less? Because I’m building sales teams of 10 or less right now.”
To which he replied, “No” which had me shaking my head in wonder. Why would he call me to move to close when I gave them the sales team size of my company? There are a dozen other moves he could have made to test my level of interest, engage me, or bring more value to my experience. What a waste of time and energy – not just on me, but probably dozens of nonqualified leads every day.
This is a Big #SALESFAIL.
Joe’s company has a problem. There’s a giant hole in their sales process. They have the tools, the opt-in content, and they have the people, but they’re not building and responding correctly to buying signals.
Whether you’re an online software company, a retail store, or a service business, your potential customers are out there sending up signals every day about their intentions. As buyers, we make small, bite-sized decisions, to lower the risk of making a bad choice. We rarely go from phone number to wedding bells in one big jump.
The question is, are you Looking, Listening, and Learning for all the buyer signals or hoping for that big red neon sign that says “YES, I’ll BUY!”
In my experience (as a seller and lately, as a buyer), most sellers are overlooking all the small and modest buying signals or trigger events that happen before a prospect is ready to see a proposal or sign the deal.
The events they are looking for are the buyer lurching for the pen to sign, the customer clearing their schedule, or asking “When can we start?”
How often does that really happen in the business to business sales channel?
Buying signals don’t only mean your prospect is ready to purchase. These signals, mostly small, are opportunities to be of value and to help your customers make decisions.
So, if not the glowing neon sign, what buying signals should you consider triggers of interest?
Here are 30 of the most meaningful buying signals you should be listening to and looking for:
- Opened your email
- Clicked on a link
- Forwarded your email
- Responded to email or survey
- Social Media
- Accepted connection request
- Viewed your profile
- Followed you
- Liked your company page
- Liked your post
- Commented on your post/share
- Endorsed you for a skill
- Shared your content
- Responded to a comment
- Post a question in a forum
- Visit your website
- Shared a link
- Request for more information
- Opt-in to newsletter
- Download a resource (case study, white paper, e-book, guide)
- Asking you about (anything)
- Your experience
- Your team
- Showing up
- Attend an event hosted by your company
- Attend an industry event (ahem – in your industry)
- Stop by your booth at a conference
- Attended your webinar
- Walked in to ask for information
Even if you’re not an enterprise sized business or the most tech savvy company – you should recognize most of these triggers as moving parts of your sales strategy and selling process. If you’re missing quite a few of these triggers, you probably have big holes in your sales strategy, like Joe from XYZ company.
Take a look at your marketing messages and your sales processes. Do you have multiple places for your future customers to give you small, low-risk signs that they are considering a solution or a future purchase?
If you do, are you paying attention? Are you closely monitoring those emails, social media, links, downloads, et cetera, to look, learn, and listen for cues to respond?
Your response to those signals is critical to earning trust and helping your customers make buying decisions. Your response should be defined (in your Sales Playbook) and specific for each intention.
Build your sales and marketing strategy around opportunities for your future customers to explore you, get to know you, gather information, and develop trust.
Then look, listen, and learn from your customers and respond to those quiet signals – instead of waiting for those big flashing red signs!
Until next time, stop hoping, start SELLING!
PS – Not sure what to include in your sales process? Let’s evaluate your Sales Playbook and find those opportunities you’re overlooking. Contact us to talk about your strategy or learn more about The Sales Playbook.