Whether you are in sales or marketing, buying signals are crucial to look out for. Some of these signals may be subtle, while others are not so subtle.
Every prospect you deal with will display different buying signals at different stages of the selling process and it’s your job to know how to spot it so you can move closer to making a sale.
Buying signals are not always so obvious but they all indicate purchase intent to either help you understand how to progress with that prospect or to reach out to them when an opportunity opens up.
The following buying signals will be categorised at the prospect level and company level as well as in different communication channels. Knowing what they are will help you to focus on the right prospects and accounts to help you close more deals faster.
Buying signals from prospects when on a call
When on the phone with a prospect, whether it be a cold call, discovery call or demo call, you want to know how to pick up signs that what you are saying is resonating well with your prospect.
But, there are some subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) signs to look out for that indicate they are interested in what you are offering and gives you the opportunity to progress further in the selling process.
1. Asks about the specifics of your offering
Any prospect who asks about something specific whether it be something you said or something you could potentially offer is a strong indication they are interested. Those who ask about the specifics know what business problems they want solving and are digging into how your offer could solve their challenges.
When a prospect asks for specifics, this is a great opportunity to set up a demo call with them to demonstrate specifics in more detail.
2. Tells you about their pain points (in detail)
Some prospects you speak with know exactly what they want to be solved and are willing to share that with you in hopes you have a solution for them. Others may not even be aware they have a problem and will only give you vague answers in fear that you may know too much about them.
But when a prospect tells you the pain they are going through and is willing to explore that further with you, this creates urgency and pushes them to want to solve the problem.
Whether they already know their pain or you have to uncover it, the better they describe a particular pain point the more likely they are to buy from you.
3. Wants to know about your post-sales services
After hearing about your solution, if your prospect starts asking questions about the onboarding process, account managers, on-going support, etc, this tells you that they are satisfied with your solution and are now asking what it’s like being a customer of yours.
They are trying to find out if they will be treated well as a customer or if they will be left on their own to figure things out.
If you can remove these doubts and ensure that they are in good hands, they could very likely become your customer.
4. They are curious to know more
Prospects who show curiosity are paying attention and want to learn more.
This can be shown in a number of ways such as researching you before your call with them or coming prepared for a call with a list of questions they want answered.
They are excellent prospects as they will often work with you to see how your solution can solve a pain they are facing or how you can help them reach their business goals.
5. Asks about payment plans
When a prospect asks about payment plans, this shows they are in buying mode and just need to plan their cash flow accordingly.
Generally, the prospect would be happy with your solution, terms and conditions and price so they may be asking about payment plans as a form of negotiation to ease their finances. Payment plans usually will not be a deal-breaker as they should already be committed to the price of the solution.
6. Asks about discounts
Depending on where in the buying process the prospect asks about discounts can indicate interest in buying from you. Typically, it’s best to discuss discounts after the demo call and when an offer has been presented to them.
If they ask about discounts too early in the buying process, the prospect is usually just interested in getting a cheap solution and too focused on the cost. However, if they know the value of your solution and they have a need for it then asking for a discount means they are looking to close.
7. Want to speak to your current customers
If the deal size is large or the prospect still has doubts, asking to speak with your customers is a good sign that they want to proceed – but just needs a little more confidence.
Since your customers have already gone through the same process and are now users of your solution, some prospects may want to hear from them about how the post-sales service is and what results they are seeing.
Generally, a prospect wants to speak with your customers to confirm that what they are promised is true and that the company will actually follow through with what they are saying.
8. Asks about your competition
While this at first may seem like they are not interested, in fact, it may just be the opposite. In some cases, your solution may not be the best fit for what the prospect needs and a competitor’s solution may be more suitable for them.
Prospect’s who ask about your competitors are showing interest in the solution but want to know what else is available as other competitors may offer similar solutions at different price points or may have different features.
You should be confident in your solution so that you can point them to a couple of competitors and possibly even help your prospect out by highlighting to them the main differences between them – they would appreciate you being genuine.
9. Speak as if they are already your customer
During your call, be aware of the language they use when referring to your solution. When they are first unfamiliar, they will speak about your solution objectively and talking about it as a standalone product. But, once this changes, they may speak about your solution as if they are already customers.
They may go from saying “so it helps generate more sales leads” to “so we’ll be generating more sales leads with it”. They are visualising what it would be like using your solution and that is a strong buying signal.
10. Questions your terms and conditions
When a prospect asks about your terms and conditions, this tells you that they have already decided to buy from you. By asking about the fine details and legality of the deal, you can be sure they are happy with your solution and they just want to refine or clarify a few things in the contract.
If they bring up the terms and conditions to query something or to negotiate, it is likely going to be about small changes that shouldn’t change their decision to purchase from you.
11. Interested in knowing more about your company
While this may not be the strongest buying signal, it is a sign that they are thinking about a potential partnership with you.
What it tells you is that they are somewhat satisfied with your solution and want to dig deeper in getting to know you better to help remove any doubts they may have. If a prospect asks about your current customers, source of funding or how long you’ve been in business, they want to see how reliable you are.
Especially if you are a small company or if they have not heard of you before, they may ask about your company to confirm your financial stability or to gain some additional social proof.
12. Shows a sense of excitement when hearing about your solution
This may be a little hard to spot as most prospects will not easily show they like what they hear in an effort to hide their cards. Those who tell you they like what you are saying is obviously a great buying indicator but the rest may be a bit more subtle.
Generally, if your prospect does not actually say they are interested in your product, they can show this with small inflections in their voice or subtle signs of agreement after you mention a specific feature.
When a prospect hears something they like they usually follow up with a statement of surprise such as “oh really” or “that’s interesting”. Rather than continuing on with your presentation, you could go off-track a bit by diving deeper into that specific topic since that’s what resonated with them most.
13. Repeats a question that has already been answered
Repetition is a great sign of buying interest. Especially when giving a demo, repetition tells you what stood out for them.
They may repeat something you said to confirm it or they may repeat a question they asked earlier for more information, either way, they are trying to reassure themselves. Such questions may include “could you go over your features again?”, “and that’s also included in the deal?” or “how much does it cost again?”.
Repeating questions or statements show they want to know more about a specific topic. Helping them to understand these areas in more depth or clarifying certain information will push them in the right direction and progress the deal further.
14. They are making an effort to buy from you
In sales, it can be quite challenging to have to keep the prospect interested and excited about your solution in fear that they may walk away.
However, some prospects can actually help you make the sale. Although it does take effort to attend a call to speak with a sales rep, some prospects go a bit further by sharing with you lots of information about their company and their situation. They may also be willing to sell the solution to other internal stakeholders to get them on board as well.
These prospects are generally very helpful when communicating with them and quite honest about their financial situation to help you gauge how likely they are to go ahead and make the purchase.
15. Asks about how to switch to your solution
At times, your prospects may already be using a similar solution or have other tools in their tech stack that they use.
Having to relearn new software can be quite frustrating as it disrupts productivity. But when a prospect asks how your solution compares with a similar solution they already use or how it integrates with their existing tech stack, this is generally a good sign that they want to move forward but are wary about how difficult the switch will be for them.
If you are able to clearly convey the benefits of your solution, that it integrates or fits well with their tech stack, and are able to ensure them the switch will be smooth, you may have a potential customer on your hands.
16. Shows interest in a specific use case, feature or product
Some companies have a range of products or services that can be used for many use cases. Those companies may have to present a high-level view of what they offer to see what the prospect would be interested in.
Even for a smaller company, a prospect may pick a specific product or feature that they resonate with. When they engage with you like this, it can be a good sign as you have met a need or pain point they may be experiencing.
It’s good to dig deeper into what they focus on as you will uncover their true intentions and desires for what they are looking for in a solution.
17. Wants to know the next steps
Whenever you speak with a prospect, it is always advisable to plan and agree on next steps. But, If the prospect is the one to ask what the next steps are, then this is a strong indication of interest in your solution.
If you hear the prospect being eager to move forward, you may have the chance to skip a few steps in the selling process and potentially go straight into proposing a deal to them.
Buying signals in your cold email outreach
We all send different types of cold emails with different call-to-actions. Some may send a calendar link for the prospect to arrange their own call, while others may suggest a date and time for the prospect to agree to it or not.
But without the obvious “yes, I am interested” reply or the prospect directly booking a call with you, here are some buying signals that can be displayed by a potential customer.
19. Engagement with pre-sales emails
When you are prospecting via email, until the recipient replies to you and tells you they are interested you have no real way of knowing – unless you track your email engagement.
The two key metrics for email engagement are email open rate and email reply rate. Looking at email open rate, using tools like hubsell can help you track not just if someone opened your email but how many times they did. Someone who opens an email more than three times is a strong sign of interest and it’s advisable to just pick up the phone to reach out to them.
Email reply rates are also a good indicator since it shows the prospect has first read your email and second taken the time to respond to you. Even if they reply with a “not interested” or “we have this covered” still opens the door to start a conversation and discover how they could do things better or re-engage in the future.
Buying signals during post-call email communication
You may have had a successful discovery call or even demo call and you now require either some extra information from your prospect or to plan next steps with them. However, it can be quite difficult to get a response from them.
Decision-makers are busy people but it’s still important to stay connected to ensure the deal continues to progress forward as the interest in your solution can fizzle out. While some prospects will state when they are no longer interested, others may not say this out of politeness. Here are a couple of buying signals to know if they are still interested.
20. Speed of replying to emails
A great indicator to see how interested someone is to progress in the buying process is how quickly they reply to your emails. Depending on who you are communicating with and the type of deal you are trying to close, a prompt reply can range from an hour to a same-day reply.
When someone takes a long time to reply, it could be that they are busy or seeking a response from a more senior stakeholder. But most of the time they are having doubts and are not excited about purchasing your solution.
Prospects who are genuinely interested will make sure to prioritise your emails over other work tasks to ensure you have all the necessary information you need to progress to the next stage.
21. Quality of their email replies
Similarly to the speed at which a prospect replies to your emails, the quality of their reply is just as important. Those who reply with very little information or give a vague answer are not helpful and only drag out the back-and-forth of emails to get the information you require from them.
When a prospect provides low-quality information, this may be a sign they are no longer interested or that you are moving too quickly with the deal.
A strong buying signal is when a prospect replies with detailed information and understands what the seller needs in order to progress the deal further.
Buying signals from company insights
As companies strive to be more competitive, they can go through many changes which open up new sales opportunities for you.
Although some of these changes may not directly demonstrate purchase intent, they can be used to identify which companies may be in a position to purchase from you.
22. Major recruitment drive
Using LinkedIn or other platforms that provide company insights, you are able to see if a company is recruiting heavily in general or in a specific department.
If you see a company has many new positions open, it is safe to assume that a new directive from management is given to grow a particular part of the business or to focus on solving a specific problem.
With potential signs of a large financial investment being made and a larger budget put in place, it is a great time to reach out and present your solution to them to help reach their business goals.
23. Recent successful funding round
A very strong buying signal that a company is ready to buy is if they have recently raised a large amount of funding. Since investors want to see signs of growth fairly soon, the company will be very active in recruiting new talent as well as investing in software that can help them to achieve their growth goals quicker.
Platforms like Crunchbase can be used to find such information to help you target companies that have recently raised funding. Since you would know they have a bigger budget, they should be much more likely to welcome new business and their purchasing decision is likely to be more focused on the benefits instead of the cost of the solution.
24. New leadership appointed
Whenever new management enters a company, it usually means change is coming.
As new leadership enters a business, they will want to make a big impact. It’s a great time for them to review their current tech stack and other business processes to help cut out things that are slowing them down and explore new ways to be more efficient and productive.
Reaching out to new leadership can offer great opportunities as they are typically allocated a new budget and are open to exploring new ideas and solutions to help them achieve their business goals.
25. Launch of a new product or service
If you are following a company’s social media page or website and see posts of a new product launch, this could be a good opportunity to connect with them.
The launch of a new product or service can potentially mean they have received funding but have also invested a lot too and will want to get to profitability quickly. Offering a solution that could help them support their launch whether it be in sales, marketing, or logistics, could really be sought after.
26. Gap in their tech stack
Using social media or other tools such as Wappalyzer you can see if a company has a gap in their tech stack or are using your competitor’s solution.
Having such information can help you tailor your outreach message and target companies with a direct need for your solution. Such messages can point out the benefits they will gain or the advantages your solution has over their competitor’s one.
By personalising your outreach you are much more likely to hear back from your prospects as you have shown to have done your research.
Buying signals from their website behaviour
Prospects who visit your website are not all going to be potential customers. But there are a few signs that could indicate they are interested in your solution.
The following buying signals should be acted upon quickly as you are catching someone who is actively looking at your solution to possibly purchase.
27. Starts a live chat
By itself, starting a live chat is not a buying signal but is a signal of interest. When someone takes the effort to connect with a customer support rep, they are likely to be qualifying the company to see if they fit the requirements they are looking for in a solution.
Depending on the reason for their outreach, you could direct them straight to a sales rep or collect their email to send them marketing emails.
28. Downloads gated content
Your website may have a blog to attract people to your website and provide visitors with educational content displaying your authority on a key topic.
However, you may also have other content such as ebooks, reports, whitepapers, infographics or a newsletter for visitors who want a more in-depth understanding. Typically, these pieces of content are downloadable and thus visitors would need to provide their email address to access these.
Those who do download your gated content are likely to be potential customers as their knowledge is more advanced than the casual reader. Reaching out to those people to discover what they are looking for can likely result in progressing them further along the buying journey.
29. Signs up for a free trial
Someone who starts a free trial of your solution is showing strong buying intent. Although signing up for a free trial may seem like no investment is made on their part, however, out of all the other possible solutions to trial, they decided to invest their time to learn about your solution.
Those who do start a free trial are showing that they are happy with the solution you provide and willing to learn more about it. Connecting with these people to understand what they are looking for will likely result in having a new customer.
31. Engaging with other competitors
Being competitive in your space often requires keeping tabs on what your competitors are doing.
A good way of doing this is to see how people are engaging with other companies. It could be from commenting and liking social media posts to asking questions and having open discussions on forums.
By chiming in with valuable content or even directly messaging the prospect, you are able to connect with people who are actively searching for a similar solution you offer. Such places to look at can be on Linkedin, Quora or Twitter where you can follow relevant accounts and be alerted when certain keywords are used.
For those that are unfamiliar with hubsell, we provide an end-to-end B2B prospecting solution with on-demand generated B2B data and multi-channel personalised outreach automation software to generate sales qualified leads.
Book your discovery call today to see how you can scale your opportunity generation.