Sales closing, or getting a prospect to agree to a deal and sign a contract, is how reps make their quota and how businesses grow revenue. This article will help you know how to close sales and seal the deal any time.
It represents the culmination of all your efforts. You put in the time and made a strong case for why your solution can alleviate the prospect’s pain points.
Now that you’ve popped the question with a (sales) proposal, it’s time to find out if this prospect is ready to commit. Getting to that yes takes a lot of patience and persistence. Knowing how to close sales is very important to all salespeople.
What is sales closing?
Prospects will often say no to offer their support before they are able to say yes. Many salespeople give up before they get to that yes.
We’ll explain why sales closing is important, but it’s not the only stage. Either you close or not. It can be one of the most stressful aspects in selling. But it doesn’t have it to be.
Jay Camp, a strategic accounts director for large enterprises at Salesforce, stated that closing a deal should be the most straightforward part of a sales cycle. To close a deal, there are several key milestones that you must reach. Closing is easy if you have met all the key milestones.
Traditional Sales Closing Techniques
Traditional closing strategies usually employ some psychological tricks designed to give that final nudge. Here are the most common.
1. Now or Never Closes
This is where salespeople make an offer that includes a special benefit that prompts immediate purchase. For example:
- “This is the last one at this price.”
- “We’ve got a 20% discount just for customers who sign up today.”
- “If you commit to buy now, I can fast track you to the front of the implementation queue.”
This technique works because it creates a sense of urgency and can help overcome inertia when a prospect wants to buy — but for some reason isn’t pulling the trigger. It’s also a tried and true method for closing a sale over the phone because you have the person’s undivided attention in real-time.
Of course, you should always establish value before offering a discount or promotion.
2. Summary Closes
Salespeople who use this closing technique reiterate the items the customer is hopefully purchasing (stressing the value and benefits) in an effort to get the prospect to sign. For example:
“So we have the Centrifab washing machine with brushless motor, the 10-year comprehensive guarantee, and our free delivery and installation service. When would be a good time to deliver?”
By summarizing previously agreed-upon points into one impressive package, you’re helping prospects visualize what they’re truly getting out of the deal.
3. Sharp Angle Closes
Prospects often ask for price reductions or ad-ons because they know they have the upper hand — and they also know you expect it. If you have approval from your sales manager to do so, try the sharp angle close technique to catch these prospects by surprise.
When they ask, “Could you add on a few extra hours of onboarding at a discounted rate?” reply, “Sure. But if I do that for you, will you sign the contract today?“
It’s likely they won’t be expecting this response — first, because you agreed to their request, and second, because you’ve proposed closing today.
Modern Sales Closing Techniques
These canned techniques probably seem a little old-fashioned. Perhaps they strike you as a little too “salesy,” particularly in light of the rise of inbound sales.
In particular, the idea of closing itself needs to encompass any and all incremental agreements you secure throughout a sales process —not just the moment of final purchase.
In a sales engagement, reps should endeavor to:
- Discover customer needs.
- Effectively communicate how specific products or services offer an affordable and satisfactory solution to those needs.
If these two requirements are properly achieved, then there should be no barrier to closure. The closing question can be asked directly at that point.
Be sure to track all of the information you collect at this stage in a free CRM. The data might not seem immediately useful, but keeping track of objections from a prospect can help you organizationally improve and close more deals in the long run.
4. Question Closes
To achieve these two foundational goals, it’s imperative that reps ask prospects probing questions. Effective salespeople focus on closing a sale as soon as a conversation with a prospect begins. Through a series of questions, they develop desire in the client and eliminate every objection to purchase.
One can even close the sale in the form of a question which allows the rep to address outstanding objections while gaining a commitment at the same time.
For example: “In your opinion, does what I am offering solve your problem?”
The closing question allows you to discover whether the prospect is sold on your product while keeping the door open for further selling. If the answer is ‘no’ it remains their opinion (not yet the truth), thereby allowing you to continue to sell. If the answer is ‘yes,’ then signing on the dotted line is the next step.
Here’s another question close: “Is there any reason why we can’t proceed with the shipment?”
This question asks either for closure or more information as to why the customer isn’t quite convinced. It’s win-win.
5. Assumptive Closes
This closing technique draws on the power of positive thinking. If you believe, from the first piece of email outreach, you will close this deal, it can have an incredible effect on the rest of the sales process.
What’s important here is to closely monitor your prospect’s interest, engagement, and objections throughout. After a sales call or meeting, ask, “Did this presentation align with your expectations?“
If you’ve just provided them with new information about your product or service, ask, “Does this sound like something that would be valuable to your company? Does this meet a specific need or pain point?“
By keeping your ear to the ground — and assuming good intent from the start — you’ll bring an authority and direction to your sales process that wouldn’t be there otherwise.
6. Take Away Closes
If you have kids, you’ve likely noticed if you take a toy away from them — they’ll want it more than ever. Use this similar psychological practice on your prospects.
If they’re balking on price, remove a feature or service and present the discounted offer to them. It’s likely, they’ll be thinking about the part you removed rather than the discounted price.
7. Soft Closes
The soft close is a way to show your prospect the benefit of your product and then ask a low-impact question to ascertain whether they’d be open to learning more.
For example, “If I could reduce widget maintenance by 25% and increase widget productivity by 15%, would you be interested in learning more?“
You’ve clearly stated the benefits without making any demands or sudden requests.
If the example above still seems too direct, you could ask, “If I told you I could reduce widget maintenance by 25% and increase widget productivity by 15%, would that align with your company goals?“
This removes their need to commit to you in the slightest, and gives you more time to learn about their business needs.
How to Close Sales: Different Techniques
Many business owners know how to close the deal using one or two favorite techniques. But Marcus recommends expanding your repertoire so you can be closing deals with a wider range of situations. Here are several effective ways you can close your next deal.
- Now or never close. This approach involves making an offer with a special feature or benefit that requires an immediate purchase. On the plus side, it can create a sense of urgency, such as a 24-hour flash sale for an online store. But other prospects might push back, considering this a hard-sell approach, and ask for more time or simply say “no.”
- Question close. With this approach, you ask a leading question to try to close the deal. For instance, “If we could deliver this product tomorrow, would you agree to the sale?” or “What would it take for us to reach a deal today?” It’s a technique that can root out any hidden objections and help you determine how serious the prospect is about closing the deal.
- Summary close. For most deals, this is a less risky approach. Rather than putting the prospect on the spot, you simply repeat the key points of agreement. Then you become collaborators in reaching a deal, rather than standing on opposite sides of the transaction. You can also use this technique to help prospects visualize the benefits they gain by making a purchase.
- Demonstration close. If a prospect seems reluctant to close, offer to demonstrate the effectiveness of your product or service. That’s what Marcus did for the owners of an all-natural household cleaners and soaps company after they pitched a major hotel on their products. He was able to close the sale by offering to clean a bathroom with the company’s products, demonstrating how well they work.
- Sharp angle close. Let’s say the prospect likes your product or service but asks for a price reduction. You can go straight to the closing by saying “yes” and asking them to agree to the deal right on the spot. This can be very effective, provided you’ve done your homework and know you can still make a profit at the lower price point.
- Philanthropic close. Many customers have concerns that go beyond their immediate needs, such as the environment, medical research or social issues.
In these situations, you may be able to close the deal by pointing out how your business is aligned with a particular cause. Even better, you could contribute a percentage of the sale price to the prospect’s designated cause in order to close the deal.
- Sweetener close. If the prospect seems reluctant to commit, try throwing in a sweetener that adds value to the deal. This could be an extra supply of the product, an add-on service or something tailored for the occasion. For instance, Marcus helped married business partners expand their North Florida candy store.
Because the store was in a low-traffic location, Marcus suggested moving to the Historic Seminole Club, and closed the deal after agreeing to pay for the building renovations.
- Assumptive close. By carefully tracking the prospect’s responses, you may be able to move smoothly from the negotiations right into the closing. Simply take the lead and close the deal with a signature or a new order.
- Soft close. This is the right approach if you sense that the prospect needs more time. Rather than ask for a commitment, you let the prospect think about the purchase, and follow up at a suitable time.
Bonus useful sales closing phrases
The key difference between the questions above and the sales phrases to help get you to close are that these don’t require your prospect to answer in such a way that you can lead them to realize they want your product; these phrases are better used when you’re quite sure you’re close to making the sale, and ready to ask for it.
Here are some sales close phrases to help get you the final, firm, “yes:”
- “Unless you have further concerns, I think we can get started with the arrangements.”
- “Let’s discuss the costs involved.”
- “This call is scheduled to end in [X] minutes. Please, take as long as you like, but it you’re ready, perhaps we should move along to the agreement.”
- “Are you ready to implement [the product] at your company?”
- “If you can commit to buying today, I can also give you [incentive].”
- “It seems like this solution would work for you, but I understand you need a bit more time. Let’s schedule a meeting for next week when you’ve had some more time to think about this.”
- “It’s fine that you can’t commit today. Unfortunately, this particular offer is only available for [period of time], so I would need a signed contract by [date] to maintain this price.”
So, now you know how to close a sale like a pro. Use these techniques and you’ll be able to seal the deal every time. Remember to handle objections confidently and get the commitment from your customer so they walk away happy and satisfied. Good luck!