In theory, closing a sale is actually pretty simple: show up prepared, nail your pitch, address your prospect’s concerns, ask for the sale, and follow up until you have a definitive answer. But in practice, it’s a bit more complicated. While a refined sales process can increase your odds of sealing the deal, closing remains as much an art as it is a science.
Given the amount of work leading up to the close, sales reps are eager to get buyers across the finish line, sometimes turning to high-pressure sales tactics that are more than likely to give the buyer cold feet.
While pressure can be effective, it’s important to know how and when to use it—or you risk losing the deal.
But in order to set yourself apart from your competition, you’ll need to think outside the box. There are a number of approaches you can take, but some fit certain situations better than others. Here are 10 sales closing techniques that will help you close more deals and win more business.
1. The Columbo Close: “Just one more thing”
Remember the old TV detective, Columbo?
Neither do we.
Apparently, he had a famous one liner, "Just one more thing..." It was used after suspects thought he was done interrogating them, just as they began to breathe a sigh of relief. He’d then hit them with a carefully crafted question or statement, making them reconsider their previous interaction.
This approach has become somewhat of a Hail Mary in sales. After giving your pitch, listing all of the benefits, and demonstrating the value of your offering, your prospect still might head for the door. This sales closing technique is an opportunity to point out "one last thing" about your product or service, in hopes of swaying your prospect’s mind. The “thing” you choose is up to you, but you’ll want to use a fact, statistic, question, or statement powerful enough to turn the deal around.
2. The Puppy Dog Close: “Try it out”
People who walk into pet stores and hold puppies are far more likely to buy them, especially if they take them home. The same logic applies to sales. You can improve your chance of closing by letting your prospect try your product out. As soon as they start using it, the benefits you have been trying to sell become real. After a few days into their free trial, they realize they can no longer live without it.
This sales closing technique is an effective approach that leverages your prospect’s love of the product to finalize the deal. It’s a low pressure tactic that relies on having a valuable product and a prospect that is able (and willing) to see the value it provides.
3. The Assumptive / Option Close: “The deal’s already closed”
Rather than asking for a prospect’s business directly, assume that they're interested and suggest a date to get started or give them two dates to choose from. If your prospect has checked most of the boxes, and you firmly believe that you're going to make the sale, a bit of extra confidence can help you bring it home. By using language that suggests that the deal's already done, your prospect will be more likely to join you on board rather than taking time to think up issues and objections that could derail your deal.
4. The Urgency Close: “Now or never”
If you’ve ever been to a store, you’ve surely come across the words “limited-time offer” or “sale ends soon.” This sales closing technique has been around for decades, and for good reason; it works. People are more likely to purchase a product or service because they don't want to “miss out.”
By creating a sense of urgency while pitching your prospect, you might be able to inspire a purchase right there and then. And there are many ways you can go about it. You could...
Imply that the product or service is the last one available at that price
Offer to discount the deal for customers who sign up before a certain date
Put them to the “front of the list” for delivery
Grant them a complementary service or add-on as a ‘one-off’
The bottom line is that there are many ways you can leverage urgency to help close more deals. However, the appeals to urgency need to be genuine. If you’re not able to follow through, you risk coming off as pushy and can potentially blow up the deal. It’s also important to know where the deal stands—how invested your prospect is in your pitch—or you risk losing them.
5. The Sharp Angle Close: “If I—Will You?”
Questions are a normal part of any sales pitch. Whether your prospect wants to know how you’d address a specific challenge or if there are ways you can deliver additional value, your answers could make or break the deal. Next time you’re prompted with that “one last objection,” answer their question with a question: “If I can give you (insert concession here), will you sign today?”
Provided that you actually get approval to give them what you’re offering, of course.
This sales closing technique puts them in a position where they have to make a deal if the requirement is met. You’ll be giving them something you were already willing to, in exchange for something you want—the sale. Your prospect will come out feeling like they’ve won, and you’ll have another closed deal in your rearview.
6. The Artisan Close: “Respect the process”
As a sales rep, you know what goes on behind the scenes of the product you're selling. You've seen what goes into it; the hundreds of hours of research, the number of people involved, and the expertise that was needed to bring it to life. But your prospect hasn’t.
To them, it’s just another sales pitch for a product that might be useful for them. But by highlighting the investment that went into developing your offering, you can give them a new appreciation for your brand. This is especially useful with prospects who appreciate the process, not just the product.
7. The Objection Close: “Is there any reason not to?”
If you're confident that your prospect understands everything about your offering but they're still not ready to give you the signature, they might just need a little nudge. Maybe they have concerns that they're not bringing up, they're shopping around for other options, or they're just not sure if your product is a good fit. In any case, this is your time to be proactive.
By asking them if there is any reason why you shouldn’t proceed, you can find out why they're hesitating and bring any reservations out into the open. And once everything is on the table, you can address their concerns and overcome their objections to get the deal across the finish line.
8. The Ben Franklin Close: “Pros and cons”
This classic sales closing technique was named after the founding father and his affinity for using pros and cons lists to persuade others. It works exactly as you think it would. During your sales pitch, simply list out the pros (benefits) and cons (drawbacks) of your offering, and encourage them to make a decision based on the stronger list. Of course, the pros of your solution generally outweigh the cons, but feel free to emphasize the benefits and show how they can solve your prospect’s problems.
9. The Value Wedge Close: “Stand out”
According to a study done by Tim Riesterer of Corporate Visions and B2B DecisionLabs, many B2B salespeople admit that there’s up to 70% overlap between their solution and their competitors’. In competitive industries like SaaS, it is inevitable that there will be similarities, so instead of pretending that they don’t exist, acknowledge them and focus on the 30% that makes your product stand out.
Start your pitch as you usually would, providing an overview of your solution and how it can help your prospect. But instead of talking about the generic benefits (which your competitors are already doing), focus on the aspects of your offering that set you apart from the rest. If others are reciting the same generic benefits for relatively similar solutions and you’re able to offer a unique value proposition, you’ll have a much better chance of closing.
10. The Takeaway Close: “The deal is off”
People want what they can’t have. By taking features (or even the entire deal) off the table, you can compromise with serious prospects, reignite dying deals, or weed out prospects who aren’t serious. There are two ways this sales closing technique can work:
Prospect doesn’t like the price. If your prospect is clearly interested in your product, but doesn’t have the budget to meet your asking price, you can remove features or functions to reduce the price in an effort to find a middle ground. This technique is especially effective if your product has multiple tiers or pricing plans. Best case scenario, your prospect gets FOMO, ends up wanting the features even more, and finds a way to make the original price work.
Prospect isn’t committed. Prospects who play hard to get can be a huge waste of time. If they constantly shift their demands in an attempt to get a better price, additional features, or other incentives, don’t hesitate to call the deal off. Doing so demonstrates that you value your time, and shows them that you’re confident that your product will sell, even if they don’t buy it. This will either scare them into taking the deal seriously, or push them away altogether, which will allow you to focus on more serious prospects.
There’s no denying that closing is hard. Competitors are more abundant and better prepared than ever, and prospects are tired of hearing the same pitches over and over. In order to set yourself apart, you’ll need to find your competitive advantage. For some reps, that advantage is sales tech like proposal templates, while others rely on the gift of the gab. No matter how you choose to stand out, free proposal software can streamline your sales process to help you close more deals.