Which superpower do you feel is the most valuable in the world?
Invisibility? Flying? Talking to animals? Seeing the future? Changing the past?
Being a total, all-round badass?
For us, the answer is persuasion.
When you can persuade and convince anyone, you can bend the world. You can be, have, and do what you want. And you can likely do it without needing to fly, changing what's happened, or knowing what's in store for you.
It makes sense then why persuasion is a core skill for salespeople. If you have mastered the elegant art of persuasion, you can turn a big-pocket prospect into a client even when you're a new business in the market. You can turn the tide on even after a disastrous sales call. You can close more deals in a limited time because you know the right questions to ask and answers to give.
However, if you struggle with the art of persuasion, worry not. We'll share a few sales closing techniques that will seamlessly lead potential customers to sign on that dotted line.
The importance of sales closing
We tackle the why before delving into the what, when, where, who, and how. So- why focus on sales closing? Why craft special sales closing techniques?
Because that's how your business generates revenue and you complete your quota.
Sales closing is the full circle point of all that you've worked for. It is the culmination of all the effort you put into prospecting, lead qualification, sales calls and demos, proposals, and negotiations. If that sales cycle peters off into nothing, all the time and effort put in by sales reps and sales managers would've been wasted.
Laying the groundwork
If you intend to use a sales closing technique to seal the deal, then you need to lay the correct foundation for it right from the start. Here are 3 things questions you need to answer to for that:
Who is the customer?
Unless you know your customer in the most holistic way possible, you cannot sell to them. To the extent that it is possible, find out their pain points (immediate and long-term), their priorities, their objectives for a particular quarter/ year. This information can be uncovered through conversations with the customer or through social media channels like LinkedIn and Twitter where they might have a presence.
Having and depicting knowledge about the customer helps them to trust you. This initial trust-building is crucial if you want to keep the sales process going and create a chance of success with the sales closing techniques.
Who are the decision-makers?
For the purpose of closing a sale, you need to be aware of two people: the decision-maker and the person influencing the decision-maker.
The primary decision-maker does not get involved at the beginning of the sales process. Instead, the ‘influencer’ does the vetting and narrowing down of vendors. When the time comes, they guide the decision-maker on who would provide the best solution fit for the company.
To use sales closing techniques effectively, you need to know who you’re dealing with at any moment. This will help you use the right technique at the right time. For eg. you don’t want to make a hard close (explained in the next section) to the influencer before the primary decision-maker has been involved. Instead, soft closing techniques would be better for convincing the influencer.
What is the temperature right now?
Is the sales cycle with a prospect running hot or cold? Are they getting cold feet perhaps?
It's important to continuously check the temperature of your client dealings so you make adjustments accordingly. This might mean changing your approach to the sales process or accepting that the client is not the right fit for the company.
An easy way to check the temperature is to observe how often things play out smoothly and how often there are hiccoughs in the process. What is the prospect's reaction to both? Keeping an eye on the temperature this way will give you hints about whether the prospect is worth investing time and effort into or not.
7 effective sales closing techniques that seal the deal
All of the 7 techniques listed below are time-tested. They produce results but only when applied at the right time (which we tell you about of course). Mix them up as you wish and get those deals closed!
1. Assumptive close
Confident, bold, and sure- these are the underlying tones of the assumptive close. You as the salesperson assume that the deal is pretty much closed. You act plus speak from that place.
The right time to implement the assumptive close is right after you've finished highlighting the benefits of your product. However, you need to make sure that you aren't coming across as aggressive or insensitive. Do this by being hyper-attentive to the customer and their responses.
When to use it? When you're assuming nothing as you go through the sales process and are convinced you can make the sale because you're doing your absolute best.
Example phrases for assumptive close:
- 'So, how many orders would you like to make?'
- ‘When should we have these delivered to you?’
- ‘If there aren’t any other concerns, I think we can finalize this deal.’
2. Take away close
You're dangling the carrot, but not in the way they expect it.
Instead of giving them reasons to make the purchase, you offer opposite suggestions: how they might need to sacrifice some benefits of your product to save costs, how your product might not be the best fit for them, or how they might not be a qualifying company for your service.
The possibility of losing something they want that was always within their reach will spur the customer into action.
When to use it? When the prospect has indicated clear interest but hasn't made the purchase yet.
Example phrases for take away close:
- ‘Could it be that your needs actually don’t fit with our product offering?’
- ‘Adding those features will incur extra costs per month. What would you like to cut down on them?’
- ‘It looks like even after multiple conversations and your interest, there is still some hesitancy from your side. It looks like something isn’t clicking and I would hate to waste more of your time. Let’s close the door on this one?’
3. Now or never close
This technique is meant to create a sense of urgency for the customer and tap into their FOMO (fear of missing out).
If they seem to be stuck in a state of decision paralysis, you pull them out of it by telling them about a limited-time offer that you have. This offer might be a discount, an add-on benefit on the service, or additional features that don't won't be available outside the window.
The most important thing is to establish and communicate the value of the product/ service consistently. You shouldn't be offering a defective product or a low-value service.
When to use it? When the prospect seems afraid to commit and needs an incentive to move.
Example phrases for now or never close:
- 'If you sign up today, I can offer you a 15% discount.'
- ‘We’ve added the benefit of 3 personalized calls with this purchase till next week.’
- ‘If we close the deal this week, we can complete the deliverables a week earlier.’
4. Puppy dog close
This is a juicy sales technique that will close more deals than you could've anticipated. The strategy comes adoption centres that let you keep a puppy for a week before you take a decision to adopt or not. More often than not, before the week is over the puppy has a new human and you are totally in love.
Similarly, what would happen if your customer could take your product/ service home and trial it with no commitment? If it offers true value, they will likely fall in love with it. You'll have their signature on the bottom line in no time.
When to use it? When you have a product or service that the customer can test drive, trial for free, and use with no strings attached.
Example of a puppy dog close: - A simple ‘You can try our service for free for a week with no strings attached’ works wonders.
5. Question close
This technique uses the power of the right questions to close the deal at every step. The salesperson probes and attempts to read between the lines so that they can eke out the prospect's true desires and deeper inhibitions.
The trick is to use questions that are not surface-level. 'Are we ready to finalize this now?' is not a part of the question close. It's too direct of an ask from the customer and it doesn't offer you additional insights into their state of mind. 'Is there anything stopping you from ordering our product?' is the more appropriate question. Not only does it force the prospect to indicate where they stand, but it also allows you to address their objections
When to use it? When the prospect seems to be dilly-dallying and being non-commital or vague. It’ll help you uncover their hesitancies while also leaving the room open for the commitment to be made.
Example phrases for question close:
- ‘Why would you not proceed when everything here seems to be exactly what you’re looking for?’
- ‘Now that you’ve tested our solution, does it seem to meet all your requirements?’
- ‘Is there something about our solution that you are still unconvinced about and that’s stopping you from closing the deal?’
6. Soft close
As the name suggests, you approach your prospect softly with this technique- with offers and requests that don't ask much (or anything) of them.
The focus is on showing benefits, not being pushy, and continuously building a rapport. As a result, the prospect doesn't feel pressured to purchase at any stage, and when they do decide to sign on the dotted line, it is of their complete free will. Or so they think ;)
When to use it? During the early stages of the sales process when you're still establishing rapport and trying to discern customer needs.
Example phrases for soft close:
- ‘Our yoga mat is built with special material that supports your back. Would you be interested in learning what protection it provides?’
- ‘Would you like our help in solving your company’s persistent internet bandwidth issues?’
- ‘What do you think should happen next?’
7. Hard close
The techniques above all attempt to make a sale without making it obvious. The hard close does the opposite. It's fearless, here-to-get-it-closed, and in-your-face (literally, too).
The customer knows you are selling to them and you're doing nothing to hide the fact. Many sales professionals hesitate to use this technique and rightly so. It requires courage, confidence, and a charming kind of cheekiness.
When to use it? Not too early in the cycle and only when you've laid it all on the table with nothing to lose.
Example phrases for hard close:
- ‘Are you ready to buy this today?’
- ‘Are we ready to finalize this now?’
- ‘What can I do that will convince you to close the deal asap?’
It doesn't end at the close
Because it's only the beginning! So pop open that metaphorical champagne (a physical, top-of-shelf bottle works, too), and follow up the celebration with these steps:
- Log in the deal in the sales software
If it hasn't been recorded somewhere, does it really exist? In legal and corporate terms, probably not. So, make sure the deal and its particulars have been recorded by the sales team in the CRM that your company uses.
- Make the appropriate introductions
The heavy-lifting of the sales team generally ends with the signature of the dotted line. It is then time for onboarding and customer support. So, make the necessary introductions via call and email so the customer can smoothly progress to getting what they paid for.
- Follow up with the customer in a few days
How is the customer feeling about their association with you? Are they happy with the purchase? Do they have any initial feedback? Are there any problems they anticipate? Your attentiveness will be appreciated and will earn you points in prioritizing customer needs even after the deal has been closed.
You now possess the secret sauce(s) to 'always be closing.' Ready to be the ace sales professional?