How many times have you had a deal fall apart at the very last minute? As a sales professional, that can be frustrating to experience, especially after you’ve spent a good amount of time establishing a rapport with the client. But ask yourself, ‘how much thought did I put into my closing conversation?’
Relationship and brand-building are important aspects of the sales process, but closing the deal is the end game — often a struggle for many salespersons. This article highlights the proven sales closing techniques that you can master to help heighten your chances of success and achieve sales consistency.
What does ‘closing’ really mean?
Closing, in the context of sales, refers to the stage of the sales pipeline where a deal is finalized and an agreement is reached between the buyer and the seller. It is the point at which the customer agrees to the terms and conditions involved in making the purchase or signs a contract to solidify the deal.
The sales closing process involves addressing last-minute objections and remaining questions that might prevent the client from purchasing.
Despite its nature, sales closing should not feel like a transactional process. It should appear as a natural conclusion to the sales conversation. This step is a pivotal part of sales rep performance and marks out the threshold for success.
Steps to go through when closing a sale
|Review the customer’s needs||A good salesperson takes their time before attempting to close the sale. To build up towards the question, gather important facts about your prospect and their company, review their needs and uncover their motivations. These factors will help you prove that your product or service is indeed the right fit for the prospect.|
|Address any objections||Prospects often bring up last-minute objections and concerns before agreeing to a deal. You have to anticipate and address all of them. Provide clear and convincing reasons as to why making the purchase is in the best interest of the prospect.|
|Make the final presentation||Do a little summary of your product or service’s best features and key benefits. Create a final presentation to help the client understand how it meets their needs.|
|Ask for the sale||After taking care of all last-minute concerns and presenting all the possible benefits, clearly and directly ask the customer to make the purchase or sign the contract.|
|Handle the close||Once the customer has agreed to make the purchase, review the details, answer any remaining questions and finalize the sale.|
|Follow-up||Once the sale is closed, it’s vital to follow up with the customer to ensure they are satisfied and to help build a long-term relationship.|
The most popular sales closing techniques
If you want to execute the sales closing process like a pro, you have to master these industry-standard effective sales closing techniques:
1. The assumptive close
This technique is often called the ‘smooth close’ as it involves assuming that the sale has already been made and moving forward with the next steps, such as finalizing paperwork or setting up the delivery schedule. For example,
‘When can I come by to conduct the complimentary software training session?’
This statement will spark a sense of urgency and put pressure on the prospect to make a decision. But it needs to be executed with care. If you bring it up before your prospect has had a chance to ascertain important details, it can make you appear too pushy. Read the room and pick the right moment to execute this closing technique.
2. The alternative close
The alternative close is a part of the broader assumptive close method as it also involves assuming that your client is ready to make a purchase. This technique is different from the assumptive close because the sales rep presents the customer with multiple purchasing options or packages, and then asks them to choose one. The reason this sales closing technique is often successful is that it takes the word ‘no’ off the table. Instead, you’re asking them to pick one of two or more choices.
‘Based on your business needs, do you think a six-month or one-year contract would be the best option going forward?’
This technique also relies heavily on timing because if your prospect is not on the same page, it can ruin your progress. Moreover, make sure not to provide more than three options because that could make your client feel overwhelmed.
3. The summary close
The summary close involves summarizing the main points of the sales pitch and highlighting the benefits of the product or service. This technique comes in handy when you know your prospect is handling multiple sales, deciding between you and your competitors or is simply distracted. This will help get them up to speed and move towards a yes before you ask them for the sale.
The summary close also comes in handy when your prospect has been in a long sales cycle and might have forgotten the key points of your offering. It will help them visualize your product and how it will serve their particular needs.
‘It seems like our Enterprise Package is best suited to the size and needs of your business. It includes XYZ features that can help your company save on cost and time while minimizing associated risks. Does that sound right to you?’
4. The ‘Feel, Felt, Found’ close
The 3 Fs close is a unique, three-step sales closing technique. The first step is to acknowledge the customer’s objection and tell them you understand how they feel. Next, share a story about a previous customer who felt the same way. Lastly, tell them how that customer ultimately found your product useful and the best fit for their needs after considering all possible options.
For example, if a customer objects to the price of your product, claiming that it’s too high for their budget, here’s how you can respond with the 3F’s method:
‘I understand that you might feel that way. I’ve recently heard back from a customer who initially felt like our price was higher than their provider at the time. But after using our product for four months, they found that it actually saved them money and time.’
This technique makes your prospect feel heard and reassured that their concerns are valid. After you tell them how you’ve successfully handled a similar client in the past, they are more likely to sign the deal. However, it is vital to have a good connection and understanding with your client to pull off this close.
5. The ‘That’s Right’ close
This effective closing technique involves agreeing with the customer’s objections and then reframing the conversation to show how your product can address them.
For example, a customer might express an issue regarding the purchase (e.g. bad timing, high price or lack of need). You can execute this closing technique by repeating their objection back to them in different words, showcasing that you completely agree with them. After that, tell them how you will solve their problem. Here’s how you do it:
‘From what I’ve heard, you feel that [repeat their objection], correct? Here’s how our product can put an end to your qualms: [explanation].’
This approach shows your client that you understand and helps you build a relationship based on trust and mutual understanding.
6. The ‘Take Away’ close
This closing technique plays on a person’s instinctual response to missing out. When you present your offer to your potential customer, you can up the ante by creating a sense of urgency. For example, you can offer them a special discount that’s only valid if they act on the same day. You can also add different upsell features to your offer for a limited time only. This will motivate the client to solidify the agreement because they are getting the better end of the deal. Here’s how you can execute this technique:
‘I can only give you this package at this special price if you sign on today.’
The client will understand that they might not come by this opportunity if they say no or delay. This means you are likely to shorten your sales cycle and achieve a favorable outcome.
7. The trial close
When you’re uncertain of the progress in a sales meeting, you can use the trial close to assess your client’s readiness to make a purchase. The trial close requires asking for the client’s opinion of your product before coming to an actual close. You can use open-ended questions to determine where your client is at and which activities are likely to result in a closed deal.
‘With all the information I’ve provided so far about our product, do you have any questions or concerns you’d like me to address?’
By asking the client their opinion on your offering, you can get a better understanding of their concerns and possible objections. Use this information to adjust your value statement before bringing the sales process to a close.
8. The Ben Franklin close
The Ben Franklin close is best used to sway a client that is on the verge of checking out. During the sales process, you might get the sense that your client is not interested in sealing the deal. They might say, ‘I’ll give it a thought and get back to you later.’
To overcome this issue, you can use the Ben Franklin close which involves presenting the client with a pros and cons list of buying your product. You can ask them to weigh the benefits against the drawbacks. But the key to this technique is subtlety and finesse. For example:
‘I understand how important it is to get all the facts before making an important decision. I believe it would be beneficial if we could assess if the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Do you have time for me to put together a comparison before you leave?’
Using this close requires you to have up-to-date knowledge of your product and competitors. Otherwise, you might accidentally mention ‘low cost’ as a pro while your client knows that a competitor’s price is actually lower. Putting together a compelling list can be tough in some cases. That’s why, like other closing techniques, the Ben Franklin close isn’t a slam dunk. It requires work.
How do I close a sale when I know that my client is not interested?
The simplest way to close a sale when your client appears uninterested is to just ask questions. Gather information about what they’re thinking and if they have any concerns that you haven’t yet addressed. This will help you understand the root cause and handle it accordingly. You can also use the ‘take away’ close technique to spark urgency and heighten the value of your offering.
How do I execute a sales closing technique effectively?
Sales techniques are only as good as their execution. It’s important not to sound like you’re following a script. Establish a genuine connection with your client to understand their particular concerns. Listen actively and discern the right time to ask for the sale.
How can I perfect my sales closing techniques?
Getting the right outcome from your closing sales technique requires practice. Roleplay plausible scenarios with your peers and mentors. This will teach you how to navigate different sales scenarios and overcome hurdles effectively. Use key sales performance metrics to track your overall progress and spot areas of weakness.
It can be hard to determine where a sales conversation might lead. Your prospect can object to a sale for a variety of reasons. It all depends on how you handle those objections and turn them into opportunities to close the sale. Mastering the proven sales closing techniques highlighted in this article will likely improve your pipeline and heighten your sales success.
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References & Further Reading
- What You Need To Achieve Consistency In Sales Performance
- The 9 Sales Pipeline Management Tips Every Manager Should Know
- How to Create a Sales Rep Performance Scorecard (Easy Guide)
- 7 Effective Methods to Identify and Meet Customer Needs
- Boost Your Revenues with Effective After-Sales Follow-Up
- The Essential Sales Team Performance Metrics To Track
- How to Dramatically Improve Your Sales Pipeline + Examples