Reader Beware

The following is adapted from the book, The Worst Salesman in the World, a compendium of bad sales behavior that all too many of us have practiced or experienced ourselves. Study well what this article has to offer — and learn to do the opposite. Meanwhile, let each “Then Again” box help to point you in the right direction. The wisdom they contain will lead you to happier buyers and increased sales.

Respond Appropriately to Buying Signals

Through a variety of verbal and non-verbal signals, buyers may indicate enthusiasm or excitement about your product. This is what’s called a “buying signal,” signaling to the seller they’re ready to buy. It’s your job to know how to read these signals and respond appropriately as you challenge each signal.


If they say: “Could I see that again?”
You reply: “Haven’t you seen it enough already?”

If they say: “How soon can I get one?”
You reply: “Sorry, we can’t guarantee a delivery date.”

If they say: “How much would it cost for a hundred of these?”
You reply: “Same price times a hundred.”


If they: Lean forward in their chair.
You: Sit back in yours, confident they’ll come to you.

If they: Start writing or making calculations.
You: Ask them to stop, insisting they give you their undivided attention.

If they: Touch their face, feel for their wallet or start looking for their check book.
You: Ask them to stop, insisting they give you their undivided attention.

Then Again...

The moment you hear or see these buying signals, you know it’s time to go for the close. Or at least a “trial close.” Why not try ...

The Ask-For Close:
“You really like this. Why don’t we wrap it up?”

The Take-Away Close:
“If you don’t buy it, you don’t get to have it.”

The Either-Or Close:
“Would you like the blue one or the red one?”

The Add-On Close:
“Like some extra batteries to go with that?”

The Order Form Close:
(Wildly Manipulative) You start filling out the paperwork, or ask them to start.

The Puppy Dog Close:
“Why don’t you take it home, see if you like it? You can always return it.” This is akin to the car-selling ...

Cream Puff Close:
“Take it home, drive it. You’ll love it!”

Joel Saltzman is a speaker, facilitator, and consultant who teaches people in business to Shake That Brain! - for winning solutions AND lots of fun. Look for his latest book, Shake That Brain!, to be published by Wiley 2/06. Joel can be reached in San Diego at (619) 543-9432 e-mail:
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