The ultimate goal of every salesperson is to make that sale. It is the only factor that decides if all their hard work has paid off.
It’s not easy either. It requires you to listen to your prospects, understand their pain points, overcome objections and explain all the features and benefits in a way that helps them accept your product or service.
More than 36% of salespeople say that closing is one of the most challenging parts of the sales process. No doubt, sales reps are under a lot of pressure when it comes to closing a sale. But if they know what to expect, and prepare accordingly, it won’t be that challenging.
Here are some tried and tested techniques to help you prepare and easily seal the deal.
1. The “Now or Never” Technique
This is a traditional sales closing technique that invokes a “fear of missing out” amongst customers. When your client is having a hard time making a decision, you can use this technique. You can even create a sense of urgency by adding “special, limited-time offers.” This incentive will give your client that extra nudge needed to move to a “yes.”
For example, you can tell them that only a few items are left in stock, and since it is a limited edition design, they won’t be able to buy it later.
I should let you know that we have a special [X%] discount available for those who signup within this week. I wouldn’t want you missing out on that.
2. The Options Technique
In this sales technique, you offer your client all the possible and available options. It prevents the client from giving a binary yes-no response and allows them to explore options. Instead of offering a single product or a service, you can ask them to choose from multiple options. In that case, you will make a sale irrespective of which program the client chooses.
For example, you can ask the client if they would like a 3-month, 6-month, or 1-year subscription. However, do not ask if they want to buy a subscription or not, which will invite a binary response.
Instead of pushing a customer to make a purchase, provide them with other options that they may be comfortable with.
Considering all your requirements, I think these two products would work best for you. Would you like to go with [X] or [Y]?
3. The Assumptive Close
This sales closing technique assumes that the client has given you the green signal to proceed with closing the sale. When the client has checked all the boxes, this technique gently nudges the prospect to move forward. This method prevents the client from thinking about the reasons why they should not get the product.
For instance, you can directly ask when they would like to get started with the paperwork.
When should we get started on implementation?
When should I have this delivered?
Do you want to go with [X tier] or [Y tier]? Send me [X financial information], and I’ll get the paperwork ready now.
To whose name should I make the invoice? Do you want [upgrade] with this, too?
4. Providing a Discount
Discounts are the age-old trick for closing a deal. Good deeds do not go unnoticed. Giving a discount will surely give them an extra nudge to say yes. Everyone likes freebies, which is why this technique works.
If you commit today, I can get you an additional [X%] discount.
If you sign up today, you can take priority in the implementation queue.
5. Being Inoffensive
Some clients can be difficult to handle as they do not want to give up control. They stay stubborn with their “no,” but you can move that no to a “yes” with the right set of questions. Some clients prefer to take their time and process all the information. They do not want to make a purchase abruptly.
With the correct conversation, you can guide them into saying a yes and closing the deal. For instance, you can reiterate the pain points of your client. Even after if you will get a “no,” ask if your product or service will meet their needs or not.
Continue the conversation by asking them how they wish to address those pain points and how you can help address them. Try to take feedback about how you can tune your product or service to meet the demands of this customer.
As you can see, our [product/solution] is the right fit for your [problems/challenges]. And that’s how [other clients] got over that hurdle. I recommend you do the same, and you’ll always be glad you did. So, shall we go ahead and get you signed up?
6. The Sharp Angle Close
The Sharp Angle Close is also known as the “If I – Will You Close” technique. This technique is applicable for clients who want to say “yes,” but on a condition. Usually, this condition is not a part of the deal. For example, the client asks for an extra five percent reduction on interest rates for the house payment. This discount may not be a part of the deal, but you can close the deal by asking for something else in return.
You can say that you will provide this offer only if the customer agrees to finalize the purchase today. This method allows the prospect to feel like they won the deal. It also gets you a sale. However, make sure that you talk to your superiors before you provide such discounts.
If we give [freebie], would that convince you to sign the contract today?
If you sign the contract today, I can guarantee we can do [special request the buyer asked for]. How does that sound?
7. The Backward Close Technique
The Backward Close technique works after you have already closed a deal. Salespeople use this technique to get more prospects and close deals. It involves asking a customer to refer other customers they know.
The intention is to make good use of the positive feelings after creating the new relationship. When you are asking for referrals, you are not trying to sell anything. You can work back through the qualifying stages and how closing this sale has been beneficial for the organization.
I hope you’re happy with our [solution/product/services]. Do you know anyone else in your network who could benefit from this solution? And to express our gratitude, we would like to offer you [reward/referral bonus].
Recently, we’ve launched a referral program in which we’re offering incentives to our referral partners.
I invite you to share your referrals who can benefit from our [product/solution/service].
8. The Needs Close
When you see that your product or service directly addresses some of the major pain points of the prospect, then a close is imminent. However, before you make the call, let the client tell their needs. Once you have that list, check off the ones that your product/service can help with.
Then you can ask how much they can save or how much ROI they will get by partnering with you. It is an easy way to show that your product has value for them.
If we implement by [X date], I estimate you can start seeing ROI by [Y date]. That means we’d need to close by [X date]. Is that enough time for you to make a decision?
I know you said you need to have a solution in place by [date]. Working backward from that day and factoring in implementation and training time, it looks like we’d need to have a signed contract by [date] to meet that deadline. Can you commit to that signing date?
9. The 70/30 Rule
The 70/30 rule states how much the healthy balance of conversation should be. The customer should do 70% of the talking while the salesperson should do the rest. Listening is the key to making good sales. It helps you understand the pain points of the customer. Although the 70/30 rule is not quite a closing technique, it can help you pick the right one.
Also, note that closes are phrased as questions and not statements. For instance, sentences that start with “I’d like to” or “Maybe, we can” aren’t closes. But questions that start with “Are you,” “Can you,” or “Will you” are. So be wise in the wordings you choose.
10. The “Ask for Opinions” close
In this technique, the sales rep asks the prospect about their opinion of the product. Probing for opinions is an effective way to sway the client towards a yes. Moreover, it can also be a great way to discover issues in the product or the service.
For example, you can ask them what they think about an insurance policy they have been looking at. Asking about opinions makes your client feel invested in the brand.
On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to purchase our [product/service]?
[Answer from prospect]
(If the score is close to 10)
That’s great. Would you mind sharing what’s preventing you from giving it a perfect 10?
(If the score is very low)
That’s disappointing. Would you mind sharing some inputs on where our [product/service] seems to be lacking?
Listen to what your prospect thinks about your offering. If there’s any misunderstanding regarding features/solutions, clarify that. Otherwise, if everything else checks out, but the score is still too low, understand that your product/service may not meet their requirements. If the score is close to ten, propose the values that they get from your offering and other solutions that can resolve their problem as a whole.
11. The Question Close
A similar technique is a Question close, where you try to uncover the client’s objections and create solutions for them. It builds upon the process of qualification of the lead. It also helps sales reps deal with leads that are close to them.
You can ask questions like, “Now that you have seen this property, does it solve all the requirements you have for your home?” If it is a yes, then you can move to close the sale. If it is a no, then you can ask how your solution fails to solve the challenges.
Did I answer everything you wanted to know?
Do tell me if you have any other questions.
No? Okay, great. Welcome aboard. I know you’re going to enjoy this as much as my other clients do.
So, how would you like to pay for this today?
12. The Objection Solicitation
A closely related closing technique is the Objection Solicitation technique. However, in this case, you ask questions that bring out any objections that your client may have. Here, the salesperson asks very specific questions regarding the product. It helps the prospect to openly talk about the issues they may have with the product.
This technique is helpful for customers who have stalled the purchase process because of apprehension regarding the product.
[Name], do let me know the reason why we shouldn’t proceed with this deal. If there’s anything I could do to help you decide, I’ll be happy to do so.
Let your prospect speak, and once you are sure that they have understood everything about your product, try to close the deal by asking them if there’s any other concern that’s preventing them from signing up.
13. The Ben Franklin Close
The concept behind Ben Franklin Close is to make a pros and cons list of your offering with the client and help them understand the benefits while considering their priorities and preferences. Try this sales closing technique when you’re sure that the pros outweigh the cons. The client will make a decision based on which list is longer. This technique is especially beneficial for customers who have trouble making decisions.
There are four steps to Ben Franklin sales closing technique:
- Present the idea of making a pros-and-cons list.
- Let the client come up with a list of pros and cons. Offer guidance wherever required.
- Highlight other valuable pros they might not have considered.
- Ask thoughtful closing questions.
I understand you might want to give this some more thought. And given how important this decision is, I understand where you’re coming from. Still, you must understand whether the benefits of this [offering] outweigh the cons. Can we put together a comparison of those together to help you make a rational decision?
[Carry on the discussion based on points 2 and 3]
I hope we’ve considered all major obstacles. Is there any other reason not to proceed with this deal?
14. The Impending Event
This closing technique gives customers a hard deadline to make their decisions. You can reference policy changes or upcoming regulatory changes beyond your control that may prevent the customer from getting the current offer.
Most salespeople use this technique for closing sales when the quarter-end or year-end is near.
For instance, you can offer additional discounts, features, or services, flexibility in contract terms, and more. But make sure your client gets approval from legal, accounting, and other departments to sign the deal by the said period. Otherwise, you would be making an unnecessary sacrifice for sale.
This offer expires on [date]. Can I get a commitment from you today itself?
I know [resolving the problem] is a really big priority for your team. But I’m worried we won’t be able to offer [product/service] at this price because of [an impending event]. You would not want to miss this chance, and I hope you decide by [date]. I’ll keep the paperwork ready meanwhile.
15. The Summary Close
Finally, the Summary close is a common technique where you list how the product or the service will benefit your prospect before you close the sale. It is helpful for longer sales processes. Often, multiple departments will work on a single sale. So, the prospect will appreciate a summary and will even move closer to a yes reply.
Now that we have seen our [product/solution] covers your [challenges], I hope you’re ready to move forward. I can send over the contract right now. Does that sound good?
Dos and Don’ts of Closing Sales
Before we wrap up, here are some of the basic principles that you should know before you apply any of these sales closing techniques.
Here are the things salespeople should never do.
- Do not have poor communication etiquette. It includes chewing gum on calls, having background noise, or not speaking clearly. These can severely hurt the chances of closing a sale.
- Do not jump to conclusions. If a prospect is unsure, it means that they have not decided yet. It does not translate to a yes or no. You can use the sales closing technique to move them to a yes, but do not assume.
- Do not say you know something when you do not. If you are unsure about the aspect of the product or service you are selling, you can always check and let them know. Customers appreciate honesty.
- Do not be defensive. This behavior is seen when it comes to pricing. Defending any aspect of the product/service may be a red flag for the prospect. A better approach is to highlight the values they get from your offering. You can also give logical reasons on why different customers choose different options.
- Do not be negative. There will be rejections and objections while closing sales. That is why people have come up with different closing techniques. Be persistent and leave the door open for prospects to return.
Sales closing best practices:
- Always target based on possibilities. Your chance of closing a sale increases when you pick the right prospects. Use CRM to understand buyer’s intent, use the appropriate closing technique, and your numbers will go up drastically.
- Always prepare. Sales reps who make it look easy, are actually well prepared. Always check the client’s website, their LinkedIn profile, and other public profiles before you approach them.
- Always Listen. Remember the 70/30 rule. You should spend 70% of the time listening to the prospect. It will help you understand their pain points and even gather valuable feedback.
- Always be honest and ask for what you want. Be transparent about pricing and be truthful with any bad news. Also, share your intentions with the prospect up front. Ask for a sales appointment.
- Always follow up. Assess your meetings with a follow-up communication such as a short phone call or email. Identify where you are doing poorly and keep improving your techniques.
Sales closing techniques are the important items in your arsenal. However, knowing how and when to use them is even more important. As you progress your career in sales, you may even develop your methods.