In a previous post, I wrote about how I stopped relying on luck to close deals and, instead, learned to look for buying signals. A number of people emailed to ask what kinds of buying signals I was looking for, so I wanted to write a follow-up post.
First, a caveat: many buying signals are industry-specific, so I won’t bother sharing those. You should spend some time identifying the ones that make sense for you. However, some buying signals work across industries. Here’s a list of my 5 favorites:
1) A prospect returns to my website after an extended period without any contact
When a contact I haven’t spoken to in months suddenly visits my website, this is the NUMBER 1 MOST IMPORTANT BUYING SIGNAL I can ever hope for.
Heck… it’s literally the reason we built RocketBolt.
A contact coming to my website on her own is a signal that she’s actively thinking about me and my product. Something in her life or job or company has independently told her she might need what I’m selling, and now she’s reminding herself about what I do to see if it fits her need.
Pro Tip: Send an email immediately. Better yet, if you can, call the person. It’s not a cold call, and people won’t get annoyed when you reach out like this. Instead, they’ll say, “I was just thinking about you… what a lucky coincidence.”
2) My contact opens an email I sent months ago
All my emails include open tracking that tells me when someone is reading them. Open tracking is mainly useful within the first few hours/days of sending an email. But, occasionally, I’ll get a notification that a contact is opening an email I sent months ago.
Just like if a contact is on my website, when a contact is looking back at an old email I sent, he’s thinking about me and my product, and I need to find out why.
Pro Tip: Send a “been a while… let’s catch up!” email that lists possible times to talk. Not only will you usually get a reply within a few minutes, you’ll jump straight to scheduling a meeting.
3) A “change of work” event
Social media isn’t only good for reminding you about your friends’ birthdays. If you connect with your sales contacts on social media -- especially LinkedIn and Twitter -- you can usually learn about things like promotions, new employers, and moving to new cities (meaning a new job in a new city).
These are perfect opportunities to reach out because it means the contact is going to have a refreshed perspective on the value of your product.
Pro Tip: Don’t send a message immediately. Your contact will have an adjustment period at her new position, and that’s not a good time to capture a credit card. Wait a month or two, then reach out.
4) A “company growth” event
Company growth events are similar in potential to change of work events for individual contacts. A growth event means some sort of newsworthy growth has occurred -- a big customer, a large investment, a surge in hiring, an expansion of office space, etc. -- signifying the company will also be scaling spending.
Growth events are more common and easier to spot than you may realize. Before I had RocketBolt for this, I would setup Google Alerts for my top 50 or so companies, and then I’d wait for something newsworthy to fall in my lap. Rarely would a day pass without anything useful appearing for at least one of my target companies.
Pro Tip: When you email your contact at a company where a recent growth event has occurred, include a link to the article you saw that tipped you off. This will show your contact that you’re knowledgeable about the company’s industry and care enough to keep up with it.
5) My contact is going to be in the same place as me
Another great use of social media is to look for indications that your contact will be near you. If you already live in the same city, you’re looking for the person to be posting about specific events they’re attending on social media. If the person is out of town, look for travel plans that might bring her to your city.
Once you find a common location, you’ve uncovered a golden opportunity to casually connect in-person, which is often a good way to push forward a sale.
Pro Tip: If you find a common location, avoid sending an email to suggest a meeting. Instead, message the person directly through social media. This will seem more casual and, quite frankly, less creepy.