When is a Customer Ready to Buy? Read the Signals!

Customer Buy Signs video
When customers are ready to buy, they send out signals. You can pick up on these ‘customer buying signals’ and close the deal if you know what to look for. For example, a customer may start asking questions about pricing or product features, or express interest in learning more about the product.

Buying signals can be obvious, which is great when that happens. However, not all signs are so apparent, which makes recognizing them an important skill to learn.

Why it is Important to Identify Signs a Customer is Ready to Buy?

Paying attention to signals that customers are ready to buy can help you close more deals and improve your overall performance. It enables you to home in on the correct emotional response, which can help you get to the decision-making part of the process more quickly.

For example, many salespeople, both experienced and inexperienced, love talking about the features and benefits of their products. However, a buying signal indicates that you should stop talking and ask for the sale.

There are more comprehensive benefits as well. Knowing why people buy can help businesses to:

  • Better understand what their customers want and need,
  • Tailor their marketing and sales strategies to suit their target audience better,
  • Improve their overall customer service.

By providing the right products and services at the right time, businesses can keep their customers happy and coming back for more.

How Do You Recognize Customer Buying Signals?

There are a few key ways to recognize customer buying signals.

  • Body language: If a customer is leaning in, making eye contact, and nodding, they are likely interested in what you’re saying.
  • Verbal cues: When a customer says things like “I need this,” or asks questions about your product or service warranty, or starts asking about delivery or installation, they indicate that they are ready to make a purchase. Pay attention to the words they use and look for clues that they are interested in buying something.
  • Physical cues: If someone starts reaching for their wallet or credit card, that is a good indication they are prepared to buy.

Paying attention to these signals will help you close more sales and provide a better experience for your customers.

Examples of Customer Buying Signals

The Head Nod Bob

I think that we have all been on a date. During that date, our senses are honed to look for signs that the person is interested in us or not.

Selling is not much different. If your prospect shows you the “nod/bob” and maintains eye contact, you know they are tracking with you.

We would label these ‘non-verbal buying signals’, that are obviously are more difficult to recognize online than in person. This makes it even more essential to pick up on these buying signs.

They’re Asking Questions

The old and new school classrooms are similar in that interested students will usually sit close to the front, raise their hands and ask questions, take notes and even stay awake.

Interested prospects in the buying classroom are not much different. They will be soaking in all the information that you are giving them. You want them to ask questions even during your presentation. Questions during this time indicate that the prospect is engaged with you.

Questions are clear verbal buying signals. Questions such as:

  • “Could you take me through this again?”
  • “What feature do most customers prefer to have?”
  • “Can your product do (this or that)? “

Sharing Issues and Information

The more they share, the more they care – which is good for you. When the buyer shares their issues with you, you can respond by offering a solution to their pain points.

Unprompted information sharing indicates they’re interested, and it’s a good sign that informs you that they’re close to making a decision.

When information is shared about a potential customer’s need, it shows a buying intent. Better still, if a prospect complains or shares frustrations about their current provider or service, that clearly indicates they are looking for a new, better solution. This is one of the most important signals to look for and to be acted upon. Use this opportunity to make sure that you articulate just how your product or service compares with some of your competition and show them a couple of customers’ success stories.

Request for a Follow-up meeting

Another buying signal is when a buyer wants to set up a follow-up meeting. Any verbal or nonverbal indication of this needs to be acted upon immediately. So, be prompt in replying and scheduling the next get-together.

The Emotional Buying Signal

When a prospect takes emotional ownership of your product or service, your prospect will refer to things differently. For example, if your product is a lead generation tool, they may go from saying, “so it helps generate more sales leads,” to saying, “so we will be generating more sales leads with it.”

In their mind, they have already purchased your product. All that is left for you is to ask for the sale.

Buying Signals Over Email

In the B2B world, much of the business happens through email communications where you don’t see the prospect’s body language. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t notice when your future buyer gives you a buying signal.

One way is to track your email engagement, paying attention to the email open and reply rates.

Email Open Rate

Email open rate is the percentage of recipients who open an email. The email reply rate is the percentage of recipients who reply to an email.

Tools such as Hubsell help track this information and more specific data such as how many times they open the email. You can get an idea from this as to when to respond. For example, if your email has been opened three or more times, I suggest you get on the phone immediately with this buyer.

Email Reply Speed

Another way to determine a customer’s interest in your offering is to look at their email reply speed.

Depending on the type of communication, the deal, or the individual you are trying to close, a prompt answer to your email communication could be anywhere from 1 hour to 1 day.

Prospects who delay their response could be looking for opinions from other stakeholders or are having doubts. At the same time, genuinely interested customers will be sure to prioritize your emails, ensuring you receive all the required information to move forward to the next stage.

A firm buying signal is when a prospect replies with detailed information and understands what the seller needs to progress the deal further.


Recognizing and responding to customer buying signals promptly can help close sales and reach the business goals you work so hard to accomplish.


This is the final article in our series on selling skills for small business owners. Other articles in this series include:
How to Improve Your Sales Skills as a Small Business Owner
The Power of Relationship Selling
Advanced Selling Skills: Customer Focused Sales
Advanced Sales Techniques: The Skill of Asking Questions
Advanced Sales Techniques: Educate and Collaborate
Close a Sale with Communication and Coaching
7 Outdated Sales Tactics That No Longer Work

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