For every salesperson, closing a deal is the ultimate goal, and for obvious reasons. Not only do sales generate revenue and increase market share, there’s also the satisfaction that comes from solving problems and building great customer relationships.
Although the importance of closing deals hasn’t changed much, how we close sales has evolved a lot. In years past, manipulation and high-pressure tactics were all part of the mythical sales pitch. However, today’s sales strategy is more about listening and solving real customer problems.
Technology makes closing easier than ever
Today we have powerful tools, such as customer relationship management (CRM) and marketing automation, that make it easier than ever to attract qualified leads and build lasting customer relationships. These and other tools can take the stress out of closing by simplifying the rest of the sales cycle.
For instance, some of these technologies excel at helping you qualify leads, personalize communications, and understand customer pain points so you can overcome objections.
Of course, closing deals is not always that easy. Customer needs can change abruptly, or new stakeholders may come into play at the last minute. For these reasons and more, it’s important to learn a few closing strategies to get the sale over the finish line. So let’s dive in!
Here’s what you’ll take away from this blog:
- 5 powerful sales closing techniques
- Now or Never Close
- Summary Close
- Assumptive Close
- Sharp Angle Close
- Question Close
- How to improve your closing skills
- How CRM can help you close more deals
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5 powerful sales closing techniques
Not all closing techniques are created equal. Some fit certain businesses or types of sales better than others. That’s why reps need to be ready with a set of proven sales closing techniques they can adapt to any situation on the fly.
1. The Now or Never Close
This is also known as the scarcity close. As with all closing approaches, you have to accurately gauge the prospect’s sense of urgency. In this scenario, you appeal to the prospect’s fear of missing out (FOMO). Perhaps product inventory is running low or the discounted price will expire after a certain date. Whatever the case, if they don’t close the deal now there are no guarantees your offer will be valid later.
However, if the prospect hasn’t indicated a strong or urgent interest in your offering, this approach can backfire, especially if scarcity isn’t really an issue. So you need to be certain that the prospect definitely wants to purchase but needs a nudge to close the deal now.
Here’s how a Now or Never close could play out for a catering company: “Right now, we have availability to cater your conference on March 1. I understand you may want to look at other companies. However, that date is in high demand, so I can’t guarantee the spot will be open after today. I would love to complete your contract now so we can get you on the schedule.”
2. The Summary Close
The Summary approach may seem relatively bland at first, but it can be highly effective in situations where the prospect is evaluating offers from multiple vendors.
In this situation, the prospect might have forgotten some of your key features and pricing. The Summary close is a great opportunity to remind the prospect about the benefits of your product (price, features, service, availability, etc.) and why it is uniquely capable of solving their pain points. In other words, this approach simply repeats the terms of the offer but can help the prospect visualize the entire package.
A Summary close could look something like this: “For your conference of 200 people, our catering offer includes appetizers, meat and vegetarian entrees, desserts of your choice, a bar serving beer, wine, and a signature cocktail, and full setup and breakdown. Is there anything else you would like to add before we confirm the contract?”
3. The Assumptive Close
This is one of the most popular closing techniques but requires 100% confidence that the prospect is ready to buy. This is because the Assumptive close is exactly that — you assume that the sale is inevitable. Only the details, such as quantity and delivery date, need to be decided.
In this type of close, the aim is to be assertive without being overly aggressive, which can scare the prospect away. You might want to begin with a brief Summary close in which you reiterate all the terms and benefits of the offer.
You can then shift into the Assumptive close by stating something like: “We’ve agreed that our catering proposal falls well within your conference budget for 200 people. Of course, this also includes free delivery and a guaranteed serving time at 12:00 sharp. What time would you like our team to arrive to set up?”
4. The Sharp Angle Close
At the time of closing, prospects may hold out for additional products or services, or for a steep discount. You should be prepared and ready to negotiate. If you’re in a decision-making position and know what you can reasonably counter-offer, this should be easy. If any add-ons need to be approved by your sales manager, this might delay the closing and risk losing the deal to a competitor.
Here’s how a Sharp Angle close might work. In the catering example, the prospect might ask, “Can you provide discounted centerpieces on all of the tables?”
You might respond with a closing question such as, “Yes, we can provide those at a 25% discount, but if I include that in the offer, will you sign the contract today?”
This approach can be incredibly effective because you’ve met the prospect’s request — but only on the terms of closing the deal immediately. While this may seem like a “salesy” approach, it checks the top boxes for a successful close: The prospect agrees that you’ve met all of their needs, so it’s completely appropriate to ask the closing question at this point.
5. The Question Close
Successful selling almost always results from good listening. The best sales professionals continuously ask questions throughout the engagement and genuinely listen to the prospect’s responses. Even at the last stage of closing, asking questions can be a great technique to finalize the sale.
For instance, you can reiterate all the terms of the offer and then ask the prospect, “Does this contract cover all of the needs for your event? Do we have all of the details correct, including date and time?”
This approach has several advantages. First, it encourages the prospect to finalize the deal by affirming you’ve met all of their requests. On the other hand, it leaves the door open to additional sales, such as more products and services the prospect may have forgotten to include. You could even sweeten the deal by offering a product sample or a test drive of services for a limited time.
Best of all, this approach gently yet directly guides the prospect to sign the contract without being overly pushy or aggressive. It’s a win-win for everyone.
Check out these 3 sales funnel templates to help you convert like crazy.
How can you improve your closing skills?
Although it’s important to have a set of well-honed closing skills, your ability to close more deals depends on how well you’ve guided the potential client to that point. Here are some ways to improve your overall selling skills:
Focus on building relationships — not pushing products.
The overly aggressive “hard close” has long been replaced by personalized, relationship-building techniques. This low-pressure approach not only creates a better customer experience but also puts the sales rep in a position of helping, not selling.
Always ask questions.
Throughout the sales process, you should constantly ask questions to better understand the prospect’s needs and objections. What are their challenges? Are your products and services the right fit for them? How can you make the buying experience as painless as possible? Asking questions (and genuinely listening) is the best way to learn more about the prospect, overcome objections, and hopefully build a lifelong customer relationship.
Identify key decision-makers.
Is your contact the person who makes the final purchase decision? If not, how do you get in front of the ultimate decision-maker? If you’re mostly conversing with gatekeepers, you could be wasting valuable time. This is why you’ll want to determine early in the sales process who writes the checks in the prospect’s organization. In other words, you don’t want to spend time negotiating with the sales manager if the chief operating officer is the one who holds the checkbook.
Don’t try to shoehorn a bad fit.
No matter how powerful or customizable your offering is, it will never be the right solution for everyone. That’s why you need to weed out prospects who have no intention or ability to buy from you. In other words, a strong lead qualification process is critical. This will help you focus your time and energy on the most promising opportunities.
Take an honest look at your sales process.
If your sales process is fully focused on building customer relationships, then the final closing should happen almost naturally. However, if you’re losing prospects long before you get to closing, you’ll want to take a closer look at your entire sales cycle. Here are some good questions to ask:
- How hard or easy do we make it for customers to buy?
- What do customers say about our sales process?
- How can we improve our sales training and effectiveness? Do we need to take a closer look at our sales compensation structure?
- What can we learn from our sales team’s top performers? How can we implement their sales tips and best practices?
- How can we optimize our CRM to streamline our sales pipeline?
- How can CRM help us improve the overall sales cycle, including nurture campaigns, lead generation, follow-up, and long-term relationship management?
How CRM can help you close more deals
The more you know about your prospects and customers, the easier it is to sell them the products and services they need. That’s why Act! CRM is designed to capture all of your vital prospect and customer data in one place.
Thanks to our fully integrated CRM and marketing automation platform, you can create powerful and customized email marketing campaigns using pre-designed templates. Marketing automation tools capture leads right from your website and ensure you always have the latest customer data at your fingertips. Our platform also integrates with the productivity tools you use every day, so you can focus on closing deals and building relationships over the long term.