Key learning outcomes:

  • Recognise the verbal and non-verbal signs that indicate a potential buyer may proceed with a sale.
  • Understand that signs of an imminent sale may be subtle.
  • Acknowledge the benefits of listening carefully to the potential buyer and not focusing only on your sales pitch.
  • Develop strategies for dealing with potential customers’ objections.


Too often the reason a salesperson is not successful is not because of a lack of opportunity but a lack of skill. One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is to keep selling after the potential buyer has made the decision to move forward. They miss what are known as “buying signals” and run the risk of talking themselves back out of the sale.

Buying signals can be subtle – you need to be alert to them throughout the sales process to ensure you are not missing opportunities. In this article we will take you through some of the common verbal and non-verbal signs that indicate your prospective buyer is getting ready to say “yes”.[wlm_ismember]

Non-verbal signs

Great salespeople will tell you that there is much more value in what is not said than in what is. They watch for non-verbal clues that their potential customer may be about to give them their business. Following are some of the key signs to look for:

Verbal signs

It would be easy to assume that all salespeople can pick up verbal signs that a potential customer is ready to buy. However, in many cases the salesperson can be too focused on what they have to say rather than listening effectively, so they simply miss the buying signals that are being put out. Remember in most cases a prospective buyer is unlikely to just come out and say “I am here to buy”, they will expect you to work for the sale and they will test you along the way to ensure they make the right choice. The following are some common verbal signs salespeople should look for when they are in a sales situation:

Is it time to close?

It is important to remember that even a strong buying signal might not mean that it is time to close the deal. It is always a positive sign, but you do not want to push too hard, only to have the person pull back because they thought you were too aggressive. Great salespeople are able to pick the right moment. They are able to use each positive buying signal as a step forward in their sales process, confirming and using trial closing questions to move the customer closer to a sale. We have a large number of articles in the “Sales and Customer Service” section of the website that will help you fine-tune your closing and objection-handling skills.[/wlm_ismember]

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