What are the 19 Early Warning Signals that the Prospect is Ready to Buy?

What are the 19 Early Warning Signals that the Prospect is Ready to Buy?

Written By Jeffrey Gitomer

KING OF SALES, The author of seventeen best-selling books including The Sales Bible, The Little Red Book of Selling, and The Little Gold Book of Yes! Attitude. His live coaching program, Sales Mastery, is available at gitomer.me.

Question When is the buyer ready to buy?
Answer He’ll tell you if you just pay attention.

Recognizing signals to buy is one of the “art” areas in the science of selling.

Listen to the buyer. He/she will give you signals. When you’re giving your presentation, the buyer will gesture, question, play with your product, or in some way communicate that he is inclined to purchase. As a professional salesperson, your job is to recognize the buying signal and convert it into a sale. Here are a few signals (questions) to look for:

Questions about availability or time.

  • Are these in stock?
  • How often do you receive new shipments?

Questions about delivery.

  • How soon can someone be here?
  • How much notice do I have to give you?

Specific questions about rates, price, or statements about affordability.

  • How much does this model cost?
  • What is the price of this fax machine?
  • I don’t know if I can afford that model.

Any questions or statements about money.

  • How much money would I have to put down to get this?

Positive questions about our business (how old, who are customers).

  • How long have you been with the company?
  • How long has your company been in business?

Wanting something repeated.

  • What was that you said before about financing?

Statements about problems with previous vendors.

  • Our old vendor gave us poor service. How quickly do you respond to a service call?

Questions about features and options (what will it or you do).

  • Is the sorter standard or optional?

Questions about quality.

  • How many copies per month is the machine rated for?

Questions about guaranty or warranty.

  • How long is this under warranty?

Questions about qualifications (yours or the company).

  • Can all of your people answer questions on the phone?

Specific positive questions about the company.

  • What other products do you carry?

Specific product/service questions.

  • How does the manual feed operate?
  • Do you select the person or do I?

Specific statements about ownership of your product or service.

  • Would you provide paper each month automatically?
  • Will you come by each month to pick up my accounting?
  • Suppose I like her and want her to work for me full time?

Questions to confirm unstated decision or seeking support.

  • Is this the best way for me to go?

Wanting to see a sample or demo again.

  • Could I see the fabric samples again?

Asking about other satisfied customers.

  • Who are some of your customers?

Asking for a reference.

  • Could I contact someone you did temp work for using lotus or word perfect? Do you have a list of references?

Statements like…

  • I didn’t know that
  • Oh really
  • That’s interesting
  • That’s in line with what we’ve been doing.

Every one of these questions can be turned into a closing question that will lead to a faster sale if you do it right. How do you answer these questions? Good question! I’ll tell you in next weeks column.

Recognizing a buying signal is critical to your success as a salesperson. You will go past the sale if you fail to recognize them. And many do.

Any question asked by the prospect must be considered a buying signal.


Toward Error Free Positive Communication, from The Sales Bible. Don’t let poor communication keep you from the sale. Just go to www.gitomer.com, register if you’re a first time user and enter the words ERROR FREE in the GitBit box.