“In the ‘Peanuts’ comic strip drawn by Charles Schulz, the scene is a classroom on the first day of school. The students have been asked to write an essay about their feelings on returning to school.” writes Harvey Mackay, revered author and businessman.
Continuing the story, he shares, “In her essay, Lucy wrote, ‘Vacations are nice, but it’s good to get back to school. There is nothing more satisfying or challenging than education, and I look forward to a year of expanding knowledge.’
The teacher complimented Lucy on her fine essay.
Leaning over to Charlie Brown, Lucy whispers, ‘After a while, you learn what sells.’
This is where most sales professionals are at a loss.
They may learn “what” sells, but the real challenge is figuring out “how”. What are the right closing questions to ask? What type of sales closing techniques to use in a particular scenario? It’s tricky.
After all, closing has a make-or-break nature in the sales process. Say one wrong thing, and you’ve lost months of hard work.
So, if you’re a few years into your role as a sales representative, soak up these tried-and-true sales closing techniques. And if you’re a seasoned sales leader, enjoy the quick refresher. Let’s go!
How to Close a Sale Effectively?
This question will have as many answers as the sales people you ask. But one thing remains common: It’s not about closing, but about helping.
Dan Shapero, the COO of LinkedIn, said it best:
“Great selling is about helping a customer see massive opportunities more clearly. That starts with building trust and credibility so that you can uncover the challenges your customer is facing, and then sharing opinions that can solve those challenges.”
If your product/service can genuinely solve the prospect pains, you’re already halfway there. To make sure the rest of the sales process goes smoothly and ends in a successful close, the following sales closing techniques can help.
Top 11 Sales Closing Techniques for Modern Sales Teams
A sales closing technique is a tried-and-true method of getting a prospect to move forward and sign the deal. They serve as a go-to strategy for specific situations in the sales cycle.
Below are 11 effective closing techniques including scripts you can add to your repertoire, sourced from some of the leading sales professionals of modern times.
1. The Scale Close
When you’re halfway through the deal, you can directly ask the prospects to score their closeness to a purchase on a scale of 1-10. Depending on the score, you can enquire about their objections, big or minor, and prepare for a close.
The Scale Close is best initiated after a demo call or presentation, when you’re halfway through the deal.
This is how the close plays out, as shared by Mike Myers, Co-Founder, CoachEm™.
"Help me out [prospect name], on a scale of 1-10, 1 being you’re not sold and 10 being you’re totally sold and want to move forward, where are you?"
Now if they say they are 5 or less, that’s a problem. Probably because you’ve missed something big! So, you say something like:
"Well with such a low number, I must have missed something key in terms of your ability to move forward."
If they’re 5-7 then you say:
"What do you need to see or hear next in our presentation?"
If they’re an 8-9, you say:
"What do you need to see or hear to get to a 10?"
2. The Opportunity Cost Close
In economic terms, opportunity cost is the loss of a potential benefit (read: time savings, perceived value of the product, freebies, etc.) when you choose one alternative over another.
This sales closing technique uses the opportunity cost to highlight the “actual” cost of the product/service isn’t as pricey as it appears.
“I understand if it looks pricey at the moment. But in a year’s time, when you’re getting ready to scale, you will need to look for another solution again.
The cost of going through the entire sales process looks much higher than getting our solution now.”
3. The Solution Summary Close
As the name suggests, after a thorough discussion, you reiterate the pain points your solution solves and highlight the outcomes and business goals your prospect is striving to achieve.
“If I were selling marketing automation software to a prospect struggling with increasing lead conversions, I would succinctly recap how our software’s features address this specific issue – such as personalized email marketing campaigns, real-time customer behavior tracking and predictive analytics for more accurate targeting."
Solution Summary Close helps reinforce the value proposition tailored specifically to customer requirements.
4. The Empathy Close
The Empathy Close technique uses empathy selling, where you prioritize and respect the prospect’s needs and emotions rather than going for a hard close. This builds a comfortable relationship based on fairness and fosters loyalty.
As one of Robert Cialdini’s sales principles states: "We are more likely to say 'yes' to a request when we feel a connection to the person making it."
“I don’t think we need the solution at the moment.”
“Not a problem! I understand this is not a priority right now. Would next quarter be better? I’d be happy to connect then.”
5. The Question Close
The Question Close is when you can ask probing questions to a prospect on the fence, so they can open up about their apprehensions with your product. And then, take the opportunity to understand and address their specific challenges to get a win.
“Once all stakeholders have seen the product and we are nearing decision time, I jump on a call with the key decision makers and always ask ‘have you seen everything you need to know about this solution and how our company can solve your [X] problem’”, writes Sean Mackay, a SaaS business owner.
“If they say yes, I state the logical next step is to move to getting paperwork out the way so they can start to get [y] benefit.”
6. The Sharp Angle Close
The Sharp Angle, or the If I-Will You close, is a closing technique where you agree to a condition put forth by the hesitant prospect, such as a discount, only if they agree to one of yours.The trick here is to anticipate the objections and come ready with a response or a pre-approved offer to counter it.
Sean Mackay demonstrates how he uses this technique when prospects bring up pricing.
“If they say ‘yes we know you can deliver but we need to reduce x part of the cost’ then I say ‘if I can get that agreed today, would you then be happy to get the paperwork underway tomorrow?’.
They usually don’t expect that response and are looking to buy time by bringing money up. As it’s usually a sale that needs multiple sign offs, this gives them an incentive to move fast.
If you meet all their asks, how can they say no?!”
7. The Reassurance Close
Instead of fixating on the close, focus on reassuring the prospect of how well you can solve their pains by continually overcoming their objections.
“I want the buyer to suggest, ‘Hey, we’re ready to move forward.’ And the way that I will typically do that is, as we get deeper into the sales process, I will consistently ask the question, “Do you have any other reservations about our ability to help you with X?’”
8. The Scarcity Close
This is when you make a too-good-to-be-true, one-off offer, but make it time-sensitive so the prospect has to act fast to get the incentive. It works by activating the prospect’s FOMO.
John Pennypacker, VP, Sales & Marketing, Deep Cognition, says,
“Studies have shown that when people are presented with a limited-time offer, they are more likely to act on it. This is because they feel like they are incentivized to make the purchase now rather than later.”
And cautions to use the tactic “sparingly as customers may become desensitized or annoyed by it.“
“Since you’re the last one on my sales target, I’m making an exception.
If you sign today, I’ll give you a 5% discount and do the installation for free. How does that sound?”
9. The Take Away Close
In the Take Away closing technique, if the prospect keeps getting stuck on one objection, you can suggest taking away the complete offer or parts of it if the deal isn’t working for both parties.This strike of confidence makes you look cool rather than desperate and convinces the prospect that they’ll be missing out by not agreeing to it.
“We’ve been in discussions for a couple of months now and I understand your reservations. But if you’re unsure about the offer, I’d recommend we step back and take it up again when we’re on the same page. How would you like that?”
10. The Benjamin Franklin Close
The Ben Franklin Close is a sales closing technique where you and your prospect come together to build a pros and cons list of your product. And convince the buyer to make a decision by clearly showing how the pros outweigh the cons.
“Ms. X, I understand you’ve got a tough decision at hand. May I help you out?”
At this point, you present the prospect with a piece of paper and draw a neat line in the middle, or if you’re doing inside sales, then a spreadsheet. Write “Yes” on the left side and “No” on the right one.
“How about we compare the pros and cons of the product? Let’s start with the cons. Would you please list them down for me?”
Then do the same with the pros. This will help the prospect visualize the benefit and take the sales conversation forward, if not toward a close.
11. The Trial Close
More than a sales closing technique, a trial close is a method of gauging the readiness of the prospect to make a purchasing decision. To do so, you ask a loaded question that assumes they’ve already agreed to buy.
- Would you prefer plan A or B for your team?
- It seems like you enjoyed the product demo. What would be the next step in the process?
- What do you make of the implementation process? Does the timeline work for you?
Common Sales Closing Mistakes to Avoid
When closing conversations don’t end in a sale, there’s a definite loss, but there’s also learning. Below are five lessons from top sales leaders to avoid closing mistakes.
1. Going Aggressive with Pushy Tactics
Getting ahead of yourself and being aggressive can backfire big time. If you pressure the buyer into a deal, you’ll lose the deal as well as the reputation.
2. Quoting a Price Too Early
Bringing in pricing talk before you’ve demonstrated value can become a foot-in-the-mouth move. It ends up making the prospect see your product as a commodity, and consider cost over value.
3. Waiting on the Prospect to Ask for a Proposal
Waffling is common among prospects who are speaking to multiple vendors at a time. But if they’ve shown genuine interest, instead of waiting on them, go ahead and confidently ask if they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.
4. Missing the Timing to Close
Unlike common belief, closing doesn’t happen only towards the end of a sales cycle. It happens naturally at any touchpoint in the buyer journey. It’s your skill to identify and close when the opportunity shows up.
5. Negotiating with the Wrong Prospects
Is your prospect the real decision-maker? Or are they just a go/no-go authority? In the case of the latter, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Directly negotiating with the key stakeholders is the way to close faster and save time.
Best Tools for Closing Deals Faster
If a sales closing technique taps into the psyche of the prospect, sales technology gets the human brain fired up and ready to make a purchasing decision. As they say, “Show, don’t tell.”
Here are three sales tools to convert early sales conversations into long-term relationships.
Storylane is a no-code, ready-to-use platform for building interactive product demos, tours, and walkthroughs in only 10 minutes. You can create role-driven interactive product demos for multiple decision makers and provide personalized product experiences to demonstrate its value and close the deals faster.
Revenue Grid is a revenue intelligence platform that lets you capture data during sales interactions to get real-time, actionable insights into your sales pipeline.
Humantic AI is a buyer intelligence platform with a proprietary Personality AI, helping revenue teams generate accurate profiles, personalize communications, and create sales proposals with a higher chance of converting.
The ABCs of sales have been changed. From ‘Always Be Closing’ to ‘Always Be Helping’, the modern sales closing techniques are all about empathy and relationship building rather than pressure selling the way to sales targets.
While mastering the various aspects of selling comes with experience, we hope the 11 effective closing techniques above will show the way.
Q1. How do you close a sales deal quickly?
To close a sale faster, focus on showing the product value rather than talking about the value. Using interactive product demos at different customer touchpoints like on your website or nurturing email sequences is a great way to engage and enable self-serve buyers towards a close.
Q2. What are some good closing questions?
Here are a few examples of good closing questions:
- It seems like you enjoyed the product demo. What would be the next step in the process?
- The product seems like a good fit for your team. What do you think?
- Do you have any queries before we move forward?
- Is there anything else you’d like to learn about this product/service?