Buying signals or closing clues are verbal or nonverbal indicators given during a sales presentation that suggest your prospect is moving toward a purchase. While these clues don't always mean the prospect is ready to buy at that moment, they are good signs that he is moving in the right direction. Watching for strong buying signals is important in selecting the right opportunity to close a sale.

Verbal Signals

Common verbal signals include statements of benefit recognition and questions about your product. A recognition signal occurs when you present a value statement about your solution, such as "This product saves our customers an average of 10 percent monthly on utility costs," and the buyer acknowledges the value by saying, "That would definitely be important to us." In some cases, you may have to ask a stoic buyer if he sees the benefit or value. Questions such as "What is your service department like?" or "Can you show me how that part works again?" show a prospect interested in your product and wanting to learn more.

Buying Conditions

Another significant verbal buying signal occurs when a prospect gives you his list of buying conditions. This includes all of the particular features or benefits he needs from a desired solution in order to make a purchase. This is common in customized service scenarios such as group events or lawn care service. When a prospect lays out his specific needs, he essentially signals he intends to make a purchase and is exploring best fits. In this instance, you need to prepare your best solution to match.

Nonverbal Signals

Trained, professional buyers, as well as customers in some instances, try to be quiet and unresponsive to avoid revealing their hands. In such situations, salespeople have to be more observant for nonverbal signals. Examples include a smile, intense look, nod of agreement, forward lean or other gesture that conveys interest or enthusiasm. Strong nonverbal signals such as a smile or assertive nod can work just like a strong verbal clue. However, when nonverbal signs are less obvious, sellers follow up with trial questions or statements such as "Did you catch that?" or "I can see appeals to you."


Though not often considered buying signals, expressions of concern can actually provide good information to sellers about a prospect's motives or interests. The challenge for salespeople is to view concerns as requests for information rather than condemnations of the product or service. If a buyer says, "The price is too high," for instance, a seller can view this as a signal that the prospect needs proof of quality or value to justify the price. A cost-benefit analysis is a common tool for this. A product demonstration is a great counter to a concern such as "I don't believe your product can do that," or "I've heard your product can't do that."