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You’ve put in the time prospecting and nurturing your leads, made follow-up calls and well-timed emails. You’ve put together tailored solutions and led buyers through demo after demo.
After all of that hard work, it all comes down to one final moment of truth: closing the deal. And as such, it’s understandable that even experienced salespeople can struggle to perform under that pressure.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to close a sale, highlighting closing techniques and some tips from the pros.
How to Close a Sale with the Right Closing Techniques & Strategies
Because salespeople are measured by their ability to generate revenue as efficiently as possible, there’s a lot of advice out there for effectively nailing this crucial final step.
Traditional sales strategies focused a lot on playing mind games with buyers—applying high-pressure tactics to persuade customers into signing the dotted line. While closing still requires sellers to tap into the prospect’s headspace, the approach has shifted.
According to a Salesforce report, 59% of customers say that engagements informed by past interactions are an important factor in making a buying decision.
You want to show buyers that you care about solving their problems and that you have solutions that can make their lives better in a tangible way.
Some sales tactics are better suited to certain buyers and situations than others. The challenge here is, it can be difficult to identify the right closing technique because the possibilities are seemingly endless.
Below, we’ve outlined a few proven strategies for how to close a sale based on what today’s buyers expect from the sales process.
Treat it Like a Done Deal
Often called the “Assumptive Close,” this approach relies on believing you will definitely close the deal and using language that affirms that belief. For this to work, you’ll need to read the room carefully, gauging the buyer’s interest to determine whether you’re both on the same page.
As the call comes to a close, finish answering any lingering questions, then without hesitation, launch directly into the next steps. For example, you might try something like this:
“Let’s get this set-up by [X date]. We’ll go ahead and schedule your onboarding and training for [X date], and you’ll be up and running by the end of next month. Does that work for you?”
This strategy can be tricky to pull off. It depends on projecting confidence and positivity without coming off as pushy or arrogant. The goal here is to make the buyer believe that the answer to their problem is as obvious as it is to you.
Keep in mind, this strategy only works after developing a relationship with the buyer and determining that the solution really is the right fit. In other words, you’re telling the truth when presenting this “no-brainer solution.” If you don’t know much about the buyer, this strategy can backfire and cost you the deal altogether.
Try Taking a Softer Approach
The soft close takes a completely different approach than the assumptive model outlined up top. Here, your goal is to get the customer to be open to the possibility of moving this deal forward.
For example, you might say, “If I can increase X and reduce Y, is that something you’d be interested in learning more about?”
Here, you’re highlighting specific benefits without making any demands from the buyer.
The benefit of this approach is, you’re removing the need to lock in a commitment on the spot, allowing for more time to put together a solution better-suited to their business needs.
Bring Up the Opportunity Cost
Opportunity cost is a term that refers to what you lose by not doing something.
As a closing strategy, leveraging opportunity cost focuses on what the prospect will lose if they don’t implement your solution.
This strategy is best used during buyer interactions where you’re working to overcome objectives. Here, the buyer may be on the fence about whether this is a smart investment, or they don’t yet have a clear sense of the ROI they stand to gain.
Your job is to highlight the productivity gains, cost savings, and so on, that prove that your solution is more valuable than the amount they spend on your product/service.
As such, you might use something like this to drive the buyer toward closing:
“I’d hate to see [negative consequence] happen to your company because you didn’t have the right tools. Would you like to take the next step to prevent that from happening?”
Try a Rebound Close
The rebound close is a technique in which sellers promise to fulfill a special request after the buyer signs the contract to incentivize them toward taking action.
Try something like this when you go in for the close:
“If you sign on today, I can guarantee we can include [special request]. Does that work for you?”
This strategy helps speed up the decision-making process by eliminating a potential objection with a special favor that competitors may not be willing or able to grant.
Of course, this strategy hinges on being able to make good on your promise in a reasonable time frame.
Ask Buyers to Give it a Try
Sometimes called the invitational close or the “puppy dog” close, this approach is all about letting the buyer try out your solution before they buy. The idea is, if you give someone a puppy for a few days, they’ll fall in love, and won’t want to give it back.
This approach works best for products that you can easily “test drive” like a free trial for an online tool. If you have a physical product, you might ship them a demo model with a return label to make things easy on the buyer.
In this case, you might approach your “ask” like this:
“If you’d like to try [product] for 30 days for free with no obligation to buy, I can send one out to you by [x date] If it doesn’t work for you, just send it back. What do you think?”
The key here is that you position your offer as giving your product a chance, removing the need to lock in a commitment. This strategy can increase buyer trust and removes much of the risk that comes with buying.
Finally, sometimes the best approach to closing a deal is to just go ahead and ask for it.
“Will you commit to a deal today?”
Keep in mind, for this to work, the salesperson needs to have a good read of the situation and an existing relationship with the buyer—much like the assumptive tactic we’ve included above.
Another variation might look like this:
“If you’re ready to move forward, I can send the contract right now. How does that sound?”
In this case, you’re reducing the friction in the buying process by giving prospects a sense of forward momentum.
Sales Closing Tips from Sales Leaders
Familiarize yourself with the competitive landscape
Understanding where you stand in the competitive landscape can help you nail down that quick close.
According to Tim Riesterer of Corporate Visions, the overlap between you and your competitors could be as much as 70%. As such, he recommends looking for the “value wedge,” and focusing your strategy around what makes you different.
The value wedge needs to meet the following criteria to be effective:
- It’s 100% unique to your brand
- It’s valuable to your customer
- You have the data to prove your claims.
Continue to Assess Buyer-Solution Fit
While establishing fit is something that your lead generation strategy should have already covered, you’ll want to continuously check the buyer’s pulse as they make their way through the pipeline.
Before getting into negotiations, ask yourself whether this solution really is right for this buyer—otherwise, it won’t matter if you’re offering a great deal.
As such, it’s crucial to dedicate a good chunk of time to learn about each of your deals.
What pains are they dealing with, who will be using your product, how will it improve their situation?
Be on the Lookout for Red Flags
Beyond ensuring the prospect is the right fit, be on the lookout for red flags. You might be working with someone that genuinely likes your solution but lacks the authority to make the purchasing decision.
Maybe they’re locked into an existing contract with another vendor or don’t have the budget for this solution. In any case, you’ll want to continuously scan for factors that could make closing impossible so you can spend your time working qualified leads.
Solve with Empathy
According to a global Salesforce study, nearly two-thirds of sales professionals now report that customer satisfaction is a key reporting metric.
By placing the emphasis on helping customers solve problems, you set the stage for more authentic interactions, and down the road, happier customers.
Tell a Story
According to sales expert Jill Konrath, sellers should share examples of how they’ve helped customers solve problems in the past. What challenges have others faced before them? What kinds of results did your solution deliver?
Ideally, you’ll be able to point toward specific metrics that make your product’s benefits more tangible than a series of bullet points. You might also consider using video to tell your customers’ stories in a more compelling way.
Questions to Ask to Close a Sale
Customized solutions depend on setting a solid foundation—you’ve done comprehensive research into the buyer’s industry, asked questions, and listened carefully to their answers.
When you go in for the close, you’ll want to embed some of those initial findings into the final pitch, offering specific ways your solution addresses the buyer’s exact situation.
That said, continuing to ask questions at this stage can help you uncover what it takes to get buyers to commit.
Here are some examples of questions that can help you move the deal forward:
- Are there any roadblocks preventing this deal from happening?
- How well does our product/service meet your needs?
- What do you think is the logical next step for solving [key challenge?
- If we can find a way to resolve (x objection), could you commit to a deal by (date)?
- Unless you have any additional questions, it sounds like you’re ready to get started.
- You mentioned you’d like to get started by [date]. If you sign up by [date], we can finish training and onboarding by [date]. Does that sound good to you?
Sales Closing Quotes
- “Prepare more questions. Salespeople spend too much time preparing what they want to say to a customer and not enough time thinking of the questions they should ask. The best sales presentations are the ones never given, because the salesperson and the customer are having a discussion around the questions being asked.” – Mark Hunter, The Sales Hunter
- “If you can’t provide more value to the buyer than your website, how are you helping?” -Andy Paul, B2B Sales Expert
- “What it comes down to is whether you’ve identified the customer’s true need and motivation and whether your product or service offers the right solution. If you can demonstrate to the customer that your solution is the best way to address their need, the customer will be ready to make the decision.” – Inna Semenyuk, InnavationLabs
- “I like to create urgency at the very beginning, tying incentives that benefit the buyer directly.” – Samantha McKenna, LinkedIn
- “I get busy prospecting through various media (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google, Snapchat, Newspapers), all of which provide strong leads that can be converted into deals!” – Khan Mohammed Kareem, Mobily
- “The most important change I’ve ever made about negotiation and sales is to set myself up as the one who can live without the deal,” – Preston D. Lee, Milo.
- “Monitor your sales. Figure out what’s working and what’s not. This includes looking at your marketing channels to see which are most effective. Use data to make enhancements and tweaks to your product or service, as well as your sales approach.” – Miranda Marquit financial journalist and expert.
Becoming a skilled closer is the most important strategy that a salesperson can master.
As you work to improve this skill, experiment with different tactics and questions, taking note of how buyers respond and use the insights you gather to fine-tune your strategy.
Beyond perfecting the close, modern sellers need better tools for learning more about potential customers and their pain points. Click here to learn more about how Drift’s conversational marketing tools can help you close more deals in less time.