It’s Easier to Listen Someone Into Buying

by Bob Poole on October 2, 2012

How do you know when someone is ready to buy whatever it is you’re selling? Like most things in the sales process, they’ll tell you – as long as you’re listening. Too many people fail to listen to the questions the prospect is asking and instead of recognizing them as signal that they are ready to buy; the seller just keeps on talking. Quite often they talk the prospect right out of the sale.
So, what type of questions should you be alert for? Actually, any question on the part of the buyer signals their interest. However, some of them signal stronger interest than others.


  • That ask to see something again or to explain something again
  • About what other customers think of whatever it is you are selling
  • That ask for reference availability
  • About delivery – how long would it take to get it?
  • About price, fees, anything having to do with the cost or even the financing/affordability
  • Asking for guarantees or ways to take away risk
  • About the validity of your statements, your company, or yourself. They are looking for proof that what you say is true.

If someone isn’t interested in buying what you are selling they will have very few questions. Buyers have lots of questions. That’s why I have always taught my clients that it is easier to listen someone into buying something that it is to sell them something.

“It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.” ~Dick Cavett 

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Bernd Nurnberger October 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

Yes, well put. “But can it do X?” is another question that signals readiness to buy, yet destabilizes some salespeople. When selling electronic measurement devices, I made it a point not to say anything like yes of course, but to offer proof, look it up in the catalog for the customer or if I could not find it, admit I did not know and get (at least promise) a quick answer from the technical specialist.
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Bob Poole October 2, 2012 at 3:00 pm

Great question, Bernd. In fact, I’m going to use it as the basis for my next post. Thank you.

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