In today’s highly competitive business world, a lot of effort and ingenuity is required to close a sale. It is one thing to attract prospective customers, but sales closure is a whole new ball game. If your sales team is struggling to convert leads into paying customers, it might be that they need to learn some sales closing techniques that work in today’s competitive world.
What Are Sales Closure Techniques?
Anyone who has been in the sales and marketing field for long enough understands that “closing the sale” is all about convincing your leads to buy whatever service/product you are selling. More specifically, closing sales is about the transition from the pitch to agreeing to a sale.
This may sound pretty straightforward, but that is not the case. It takes considerable time and effort to build a natural rapport with your leads before convincing them to sign on the dotted line. Thus, it is no surprise that 28% of salespeople and sales managers say sales closure is the most challenging part of their job.
By teaching your salespeople how to close a deal in sales goes a long way in smoothing the path from pitching a service/product to asking customers to buy. These techniques will help your sales reps make a sale without resorting to the overly pushy and “in your face’ tactics that some salespeople use.
Best Sales Closing Techniques
Here’s a look at the most effective closing techniques for different scenarios:
The “Puppy Dog” Close
If your salespeople are looking for a simple yet actionable sales closing technique, look no further than the “Puppy Dog” close. This technique gained considerable popularity after getting mentioned in Tim Ferriss’ book, The Four Hour Workweek. The idea behind this technique is straightforward: offer to allow qualified leads to try out your product/service. Once they experience its value-addition, they will not be willing to give it back.
Anyone who has visited a pet store has undoubtedly seen the “Puppy Dog’ technique in action. Typically, customers who are somewhat undecided about adopting a furry companion are often encouraged to take the pet home for a weekend and return them if they cannot put up with them.
In the business world, this is something few people can resist. Your leads are likely to take advantage of the offer and spend a few days trying out your product. However, if you choose this sales technique, it is best to prove the value of your product within a short timeframe.
So, if you are selling a SaaS product with a lengthy onboarding process, the Puppy Dog closing technique may not be ideal for you. Conversely, if you are able to offer a trial period of your product and have a short sales cycle, this technique may be a good option.
The Summary Close
As the name suggests, this technique entails reiterating and summarizing the benefits and key selling points of your product when pitching it to prospects. Ideally, this should be before your reps attempt the sales question. Highlighting your product’s points of interest and attractive packages during the conversation with prospective customers leaves them visualizing the deal and how they will benefit from it.
The Summary Close could be something along this line… “Do you like the idea of free engine service for one year with free transmission fluid changes? Our comprehensive guarantee gives you complete freedom, and same-day pickup and delivery meaning you will always have your car fixed ASAP whenever it has an issue.”
Summarizing the benefits of your products/services encourages prospects to imagine the impact of purchasing them. When closing the sale using this technique, remind salespeople to leverage whatever pain points their prospects have shared with them. Once their prospects visualize themselves enjoying the benefits, sales closure will be even more straightforward.
You can practice this technique through role playing with your sales team during sales meetings or partner new sales reps up with seasoned reps for shadowing.
The Question Close
This sales closing technique entails your reps asking probing questions to their prospects to evoke in them the need to follow through with a close. These sales closing questions should also quash any objections and apprehension they might have about your products/services. Your sales team can close sales using a question that helps them commit to their prospects while addressing any outstanding concerns. The Question Close also allows for further pitching to address concerns that may arise later on.
An excellent example of this sales technique might be, “Are you fully satisfied that this internet package is the ideal solution to the network outages at your organization?” Such a question addresses objections while helping your reps to gain a commitment. It urges a prospect to act (by buying), allowing your salespeople to discover whether that product/service appeals to your target market.
The Columbo Close
This sales closing technique derives its name from the 1970s TV program, Columbo, whose main character was famous for apparently ending an interrogation by saying, ”just one more thing…”
In today’s sales world, your salespeople can employ the Columbo close successfully to uncover a hitherto unknown objection or apprehension preventing the sale from happening. Once they state that the pitch call/meeting is ending, they can ask a question that touches a raw nerve, thus earning them valuable information.
The key to this technique is getting your prospects talking, even if it iss initially not related to the business. You want them to feel comfortable talking to your salespeople and let their guard down. A great example of the Columbo Close would be, “Now that our presentation is over, allow me to ask… why haven’t you bought from us today?”
The Assumptive Close
Many sales experts name the Assumptive Close as one of the most effective sales closing techniques. Assuming that the deal will close draws on the power of uber self-confidence and positive thinking. It also gives your prospects a boost of confidence in your products/services. In this case, your salesperson’s only presumption is that the sale will close and nothing else. Hence, the language your reps use at the end of their pitch assumes that the deal is done.
It is best for your salespeople to use the Assumptive Close after having a successful conversation with their prospects, and they have established and addressed their objections. The technique presupposes using phrases that assume the close is a done deal. When using the technique, you need to provide your salespeople with a set of assertive statements, which they can resort to at the end of the pitch. An Assumptive Close may sound like, “How many computers would you like to order?”
The Scarcity Close
Human beings are naturally wired to act in the face of real or imagined scarcity. For instance, a prospect is more likely to buy a computer component if your rep states that it will run out of stock in the coming months. Your sales team can leverage this hard-wired instinct when making a pitch to enhance the urgency of your products/services.
Creating a sense of urgency places pressure on prospects to make the purchasing decision. It is best to be well-versed in pacing and timing to help your reps avoid mistakes regarding the timeframes their prospects can operate within.
Furthermore, you want your salespeople to remain genuine when using this sales closure technique. They are likely to lose credibility with their prospects and permanently damage the relationship they have built if word goes round that they lied about the scarcity of the products they are selling.
The Now or Never Close
This classic sales closure technique is somewhat similar to the Scarcity close. It helps your salespeople entice those tough prospects who are still hesitant to buy your products/services. Typically, the Now or Never Close offers the prospects special benefits such as bonuses, discounts, and gifts to entice them into making the purchasing decision.
The efficacy of the Now or Never Close is based on the proven fact that human beings are often afraid to commit, even when they want what you are offering them. So, your salespeople can simplify the decision-making process for them (and to their advantage) by making it known that it is the best time for them to buy what they are offering. For instance, your salesperson can tell a prospect, “If you decide to order today, I can offer a 30% discount.”
The Take Away Close
If your sales team is pitching a service/product to prospects, but they are struggling to make the purchasing decision due to cost or other factors, they can always use this technique to sway them. The Take Away Close entails removing one or more features of your products and services to make them more appealing to prospects.
Ideally, this technique should not result in your rep closing a lesser deal. Rather, it is like a kid who has been told they cannot have the candy they want. In this case, a prospect may end up wanting those features even more and eventually close the deal you originally proposed.
The Empathy Close
You may want to believe otherwise, but emotions play a crucial role when it comes to closing deals. In the quest to close a sale, your salespeople can leverage the power of empathy and emotions to reel in their prospects. An effective way of using the Empathy Close is by relating the benefits of your products to your prospects’ problems.
During the pitch, your salespeople should demonstrate that they understand their prospect’s pain and have the perfect solution for it. Showing prospects that they care about their pain puts your salespeople on the right track as far as connecting emotionally with prospects. Have your salespeople visualize being a physician: rather than selling your service to prospects, focus on prescribing a solution to their problem.
The Soft Close
Sometimes, prospects prefer asking questions to gain a deeper perspective into a product/service before they make the purchasing decision. The Soft Close technique is ideal for swaying such prospects. This is a low-pressure pitching technique that entails asking questions that highlight the benefits of a product.
On their part, sales reps gain more information about their prospects’ needs and pain points. As a salesperson, they may ask a prospect, “if this training problem was to enable you to retain talented staff at your organization, would you want to know more about it.”
The technique helps your sales reps gain the confidence of their prospects while appearing to be concerned about their needs and pain points. Once they trust your ability to address those needs, it will be easier for them to make the purchasing decision.
The Hard Close
If your sales team is looking to overcome prospects’ inertia and close the deal quicker, the Hard Close may be ideal for them. This tongue-in-cheek technique is somewhat pushy and best employed if you have little or nothing to lose. However, the Hard Close technique requires tons of confidence and courage on your salesperson’s part since it entails pushing their prospects into buying what they are selling. If your rep tries out this technique, the most obvious trial closing question they may want to ask their prospects is, “could you please sign the agreement?”
The Analytics Close
Also known as the Benjamin Franklin Close, this old-school technique entails persuading buyers to see your side of the argument through the canny use of pros and cons lists. When using this technique to pitch a product, your salesperson will need to summarize its pros and cons before encouraging their prospects to make the purchasing decision based on the weightier list.
It is best to remember that the Analytics Close is most effective in situations whereby the pros list is longer than the cons list. In this regard, the pros list favoring your offering needs to be twice or three times more valuable than the cons list.
Although it is difficult to execute the Analytics Close, it can help your salespeople convert prospects with an analytical personality. When pitching to such prospects, your salesperson will benefit from compiling exhaustive lists of your product’s benefits and downsides in advance. After that, offer them the opportunity to make an informed decision after going through the lists. If your salespeople are dealing with analytical prospects, the chances are that they will end up converting them.
Choosing the best closing techniques at the right time plays a critical role in breaking through your prospects’ inertia. If your sales team has been trying but struggling to close sales, give the aforementioned techniques a try and see how they help your salespeople save time and avoid disappointments. Oftentimes, a little sales training in some of these closing techniques can improve closing performance.