Spotting Signs of Interest (and Disinterest) in Prospects

I recently shadowed my client, a loan officer, in a first-time home buying seminar. She had a group of prospects interested in getting pre-qualified with her, but she was bound and determined to get through every single piece of her presentation before moving on to next steps.

A disinterested man on his phone - signs of interest and disinterest

She went through slide after slide—I’m not exaggerating when I say she had 20 slides of testimonials—and the longer she took to get through those slides, the more her interested buyers were showing signs of disinterest. But because she was so locked into finishing her presentation, she wasn’t paying attention and didn’t see any of it.

In the end, nobody moved forward with her. As we were chatting after the meeting, I told her point blank exactly when and how she lost them. She was totally bewildered! She couldn’t believe she had missed the cues. It’s so important in a presentation or meeting with a potential buyer that you pay close attention to their body language. These people went from holding their pens in their hands ready to sign to putting their pens on the table and crossing their arms, showing no interest whatsoever. And it never once registered with her.

The Importance of Body Language

As a salesperson, it’s vital that you know how to read people’s body language. You have to be able to spot the difference between (and understand the meaning of) leaning forward and wanting to hear every word that comes out of your mouth versus leaning back with arms crossed because the last thing they want is to hear your voice for one more minute.

So what are some of the physical markers that can clue you in to how your pitch is landing with a prospect? Compare these buying signs to those of disinterest.

Signs of Interest (Buying Signs) :

  • Leaning forward
  • Looking genuinely happy
  • Repeatedly shaking their head in agreement
  • Checking their calendar for dates
  • Asking direct questions about pricing, dates, or the contract
  • Saying positive things about your product

What to Do When You See Signs of Interest

When you’re steadily seeing these types of signs—whether you’ve completed your presentation or not—it’s time to close the sale! I had a client who sold gym memberships who told me that in the middle of a tour, prospects would often show clear signs that they were ready to sign up. I told her to end the presentation at that moment, take them to the counter to sign up, and then come back to finish the tour and show them how to use the equipment.

Don’t keep going with your tour or sales presentation just because you feel like you have to. Be flexible; you can always come back and fill in details later. If they’re ready to buy—stop talking, and close the deal!

Signs of Disinterest:

  • Leaning back
  • Crossing their arms
  • Looking at the clock, their watch, or their phone
  • Sighing
  • Standing up
  • Turning their body towards the door
  • Shuffling or arranging their paperwork

Learning to spot these types of signs can be absolutely make-or-break for your closing ratios. Is your inability to recognize when someone is interested or disinterested taking you off the radar? Because never forget—you can literally talk yourself out of a sale. In order to recover, the moment you see signs of disinterest, you must immediately change course. Don’t waste any more of their time (or yours).

What to Do When You See Signs of Disinterest

If you feel like the interaction has gone south, but you’re not ready to throw in the towel just yet, you can even say something like, “Hey, I’m getting the feeling that this probably isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.” Then let them talk! You might find that they’ll change the direction for you. Instead of both of you walking away frustrated, you’ll be given an opportunity to see if you can provide them with what they actually want.

Keeping your eyes open and working on being finely attuned to the physical reactions of your prospects can quickly take your sales potential to new heights. So train yourself now to balance stellar presentations with keen observation, and you’ll be crushing your goals in no time.

Until next time—go sell some stuff!


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