Sales closing techniques can make the difference between gaining a customer and losing an opportunity.
Use these 12 top tactics to make more sales. We’ll take a look at what sales closing is before covering 5 of the top keys to closing successfully and a dozen of the most effective closing tactics pros use.
What Are Sales Closing Techniques?
Closing is the climactic stage of a successful sales presentation where the prospect decides to make a purchase. The act of closing a sale is the act of persuading a prospect to make a purchase. Closing techniques are methods used to persuade prospects to buy.
Closing techniques are embodied in sales closing phrases which represent different ways to ask prospects to buy. Such phrases may be expressed as sales closing questions or closing sales statements. They may be divided into hard closing techniques which directly pressure the prospect to make a decision now and soft closing techniques which take a more indirect approach to persuasion.
Professional sales representatives may practice many different sales closing scripts that are used for different occasions. But you don’t have to be a sales professional to learn basic closing conversation techniques.
5 Closing Sales Tips
You can use closing techniques more effectively if you follow some sales fundamentals.
Some of the most important keys to successful closing include:
- Developing a confident mindset
- Setting the stage for your close
- Crafting a strong offer
- Practicing the delivery of your close
- Preparing for common objections
Combining these keys with your closing techniques will make them far more effective.
1. Develop a Confident Mindset
Your sales mindset consists of your beliefs, values and attitudes as they relate to sales. A confident mindset is crucial to closing effectively. If you sound uncertain about yourself or the product you’re trying to sell, your close will sound insincere and unpersuasive.
Lack of sales confidence often stems from doubts about your own sales ability, fears about sounding pushy or anxiety over not knowing what to say when you close. You can build confidence by taking steps such as repeating positive affirmations, taking sales courses, studying your product thoroughly and practicing your sales techniques so that they feel more natural.
2. Set the Stage for Your Close
Closing comes toward the end of a sales presentation, but what you do before you close sets the stage for a successful close or a lost sale. Before it makes sense to ask a prospect to buy something, you first need to give them a reason to buy.
The first step is simply starting a conversation and cultivating an atmosphere of friendliness and trust. This opens the door for you to talk to your prospect about their needs. Once you know what their needs are, you’re in a position to start discussing how the benefits of your product or service can help them. Taking these steps first creates the framework for a successful close.
3. Craft a Strong Offer
A great closing technique won’t persuade your prospect to buy unless you’re making them a compelling offer.
A good offer essentially includes:
- A value your prospect wants
- A price they’re willing to pay
You can strengthen your offer by adjusting these essential elements. For example, the value of your offer will sound more appealing if you emphasize a benefit your prospect wants rather than something of secondary interest to them. Adding a bonus increases the value of your offer.
On the other half of the equation, lowering the price can make your offer more appealing. Alternately, you can use risk-reducing techniques such as free trials or guarantees that make the price less disagreeable. The stronger you can make your offer sound, the better your closing techniques will work.
4. Practice Delivering Your Close
A great close isn’t useful if you can’t remember it under pressure. To use your close effectively, you need to practice so you can remember it easily and say it naturally.
A good way to do this is by scheduling regular rehearsals. Imagine yourself in a sales conversation with a prospect and practice what you’d say to close. To make your practice more realistic, get a partner to help you.
5. Prepare for Common Objections
Even if you deliver a great close perfectly, many prospects will voice objections to buying. How well you handle these objections will help determine the effectiveness of your close.
You can practice handling objections the same way you practice delivering your close. In any industry, there are a number of common objections frequently encountered. For instance, a prospect may object that the price is too high. Develop answers for the most common objections in your industry and practice them so that you’re prepared.
What Are the Best Sales Closing Techniques?
There are many different types of sales closing techniques.
Here are 12 of the most useful ones to learn:
- Direct close
- Indirect close
- Preframing close
- Trial close
- Summary close
- Assumptive close
- Negative assumption close
- Alternative choice close
- Order form close
- Puppy dog close
- Urgency close
- Takeaway close
These techniques were developed for face-to-face sales presentations, but they have been adapted for virtual selling through digital media as well. You can use them when selling over the phone, on website sales pages, through email or through messages via text or social media.
1. Direct Close
The direct close is one of the most basic closing-the-sale examples. It consists of simply asking for the sale. For example, Girl Scouts successfully sell cookies door-to-door by directly asking for sales using simple phrases such as, “Would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”
The direct close can work well in simple situations like this where the prospect is already predisposed to buy. It’s not recommended for all situations, but it’s invaluable in the right situation and it’s easy to learn, making it a great stepping stone toward learning more advanced closing techniques.
2. Indirect Close
The indirect close asks for the sale by implication, usually through a question that suggests it. For example, if a sales presentation has been going well and the prospect seems agreeable, the sales representative might ask, “How do you feel about moving forward?”
An indirect close can be used to test whether a prospect is ready for a more direct close. In some cases, it can bypass the need for a direct close if the prospect signals a desire to buy.
3. Pre-Framing Close
The pre-framing close is an advanced but simple and effective way of closing sales leads. It sets the stage for other closing techniques by creating an expectation early in your presentation that you’re going to ask for a sale.
For example, a consultant might open up a free consultation by describing the structure of how the meeting will go, mentioning that at the end of the consultation, if the prospect seems like a good fit for their services, they’ll discuss how they might work together going forward. This plants the seed of the close so that the prospect is expecting it, preempting resistance that might arise if the close were introduced more suddenly. (The Sales Whisperer goes more in depth on the matter.)
4. Trial Close
The trial close is another technique that lays a foundation for a close. With a trial close, you get the prospect to agree to some point which tests whether you’re moving in the direction of a close.
An example of this is getting the prospect to agree that if certain conditions are met, they will be interested in buying. For example, a real estate agent might get a home buyer to agree that if they can find a house with certain features within a specified price range, they would be open to buying it. Trial closes can be used one or more times over the course of a presentation to test the prospect’s disposition to close, letting you know when it’s time to ask for the sale.
5. Summary Close
In the summary close, you recap the previous highlights of your sales presentation, such as the prospect’s needs and your product’s benefits, before extending a sales offer.
This technique can be useful for getting a prospect focused on why they should buy, particularly if the discussion has drifted off onto a tangent.
6. Assumptive Close
In the assumptive close, you proceed on the assumption that the prospect has been persuaded by your presentation and is ready to buy.
For example, a representative might assume the sale and ask whether the prospect wants to pay by credit or debit card. This technique works best when the prospect has signaled a favorable attitude through words or body language.
7. Negative Assumption Close
The negative assumption close seeks to remove any barriers to a sale by asking the prospect whether they have any more questions and whether they see any objection to buying.
If the prospect doesn’t have any more questions or objections, the sales representative can proceed with the sales offer.
8. Alternative Choice Close
The alternative choice close asks the prospect to choose between buying 2 or more items.
For example, a salesperson might ask whether the prospect wants to buy an item in red or in blue.
9. Order Form Close
In the order form close, the sales representative initiates the close by helping the prospect fill out an order form or other paperwork used to close a deal.
This technique works best when the previous conversation has indicated a disposition to buy.
10. Puppy Dog Close
The puppy dog close is based on the principle that after a customer has become attached to an item, it’s more difficult to return it, just as a family would be disinclined to return a puppy dog after taking it home.
This technique uses a free trial to encourage the prospect to test out a product or service, with the understanding that if they like it, they can purchase it to keep using it.
11. Urgency Close
The urgency close puts pressure on the prospect to buy now by introducing a consequence for not buying.
Common examples are a discount that is only available for a limited time or a product that is only available in a limited quantity. This technique can be used with prospects who act indecisive or inclined to procrastinate.
12. Takeaway Close
The takeaway close is another technique used to encourage indecisive buyers. With this technique, the sales representative uses reverse psychology by raising the possibility that there may be some obstacles to buying or that the window of opportunity to buy may be closing. This can induce some prospects to grab the opportunity while it’s still there.
For example, if a prospect has been taking a long time to make a buying decision despite not voicing any objections, the salesperson might make the excuse that they need to cut the presentation short soon because they have another appointment. A variation on this is having prospective customers go through a prequalifying process.
Practice Closing Techniques to Make More Sales
Sales closing techniques are methods used to persuade prospects to buy. They work most effectively when you take steps to lay a foundation for strong closing.
These prerequisite steps include cultivating a confident mindset, crafting a strong offer, setting the stage for your close earlier in your presentation, practicing your close and preparing for common objections. When you combine these fundamentals with good closing techniques, you have the tools to deliver effective sales presentations.
One of the most important fundamentals for effective closing is practice. Knowing many different closing techniques won’t help you much if you can’t remember how to use them in the middle of a sales presentation. For best results, practice your closing techniques regularly.
Pick one technique at a time and practice delivering it by yourself and with a partner until you can recall and use it spontaneously. Doing this regularly will help you develop the confidence and skill you need to deliver closes effectively.