Buying Signals

How often do you fail to hear a buying signal, a sign that a prospect is ready to become a customer?

Here is one of my favorite stories about how a major architectural firm nearly missed a major commission because they failed to interpret a buying signal correctly. It describes what happened when Rev. Robert Schuller went looking for an architect to design the megachurch structure known now as the Crystal Cathedral:
"... Mrs. Schuller called her husband’s attention to an article ... illustrated with photographs taken at [a] project designed by Philip Johnson. Neither of the Schullers had ever heard of Philip Johnson, and at the time they assumed him to be a landscape architect. But a week later, back in Anaheim, Schuller read a magazine article that listed Johnson among the world’s leading architects. Schuller was looking for an architect to design his new church ... and the coincidence of coming across Johnson’s name twice in one week seemed reason enough to call him up. He did so the next time he was in New York, but Johnson was out of town and [his partner] Burgee was out to lunch. Schuller left a message with Burgee’s secretary, saying that he would like to talk to them about a job. When Burgee got back from lunch, he assumed that Schuller wanted to come to work for the firm, and he told his secretary to dodge him. But Schuller turned up at the office without an appointment, and Burgee discovered that the “job” was a multimillion-dollar church." Excerpt from New Yorker.

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