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How to close a sale: 5 effective closing strategies

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Key takeaways

  • Pitch to decision-makers to avoid wasting time with a middle man and maintain the integrity of your pitch
  • Use a closing strategy, such as a question close or a sharp angle close, to encourage clients to make their final decision 
  • Prioritize client relationships instead of pushy sales tactics that drive clients away 

The closing stage of the sales process is exciting for any salesperson or business owner—your potential client has compared their options, learned about your product or service, and chosen you.

But before you celebrate, you need to close the sale. This involves finalizing your proposal and getting the client to sign on the dotted line to complete the transaction. Read on for five effective closing strategies that can help you master this crucial skill and boost your sales over time.

How to close a sale

Closing deals requires a blend of strategy and soft skills. Many sales experts spend years mastering these techniques. But even as a beginner, following these steps will help you close deals faster than your competitors. 

Identify the decision-maker

Before you make your pitch or schedule a sales call with a potential client, confirm that you’re speaking to someone who can actually make a purchase—typically, a manager or business owner. Relying on a third party to pass along your message can weaken your sales pitch. Plus, if you speak to a decision-maker directly, you can address their questions or concerns in real time.

This is particularly important in business-to-business (B2B) sales. When you’re selling to companies, rather than consumers, you often have to pitch to a representative for your client. This person might not have the authority to make a purchase, so it’s better to push for a meeting with a decision-maker when possible.

5 effective sales closing techniques

A proven closing strategy can help you standardize your sales process and turn prospects into customers. Closing strategies act as templates for the closing process—once you know which closing strategy works best for your business or situation, the strategy will guide what you do and say to close deals.

Below are five common closing techniques that you can use in a variety of situations.

1. Now or never close

A now or never close is a popular sales technique that adds a sense of urgency to your prospect’s purchase decision. Typically, sales teams make their prospect a limited-time sales offer—such as a discount or free upgrade—or emphasize that they only have a few products or service appointments left in stock.

This closing strategy works best for prospects who already see the value of your product or service and are likely to make a purchase. A now or never close gives them a reason to move quickly, especially if you make the offer during a sales call.

2. Assumptive close

An assumptive close draws on the power of positive thinking. Your language should reflect your confidence that the prospect will make a purchase. Rather than asking closing questions that give your client an out, simply clarify the details of the purchase to ensure you’re on the same page.

For example, let’s say a potential customer has agreed that a full-service dog grooming package is right for them. In an assumptive close, the salesperson would ask, “What date would work best for your appointment?” instead of “Would you like to schedule an appointment?”

This sales strategy works best when you’re familiar with your prospect and their needs, pain points, and goals. During closing discussions, regularly check in to see how your client is feeling—for instance, by asking if a certain product feature or included amenity would be valuable for them—and use their agreement to overcome objections.

3. Question close

A question close is when a sales professional asks a series of questions to ensure they’ve met customer needs. Your questions should excite prospects about your product or service. For example, after sharing your proposal, you can ask your prospect, “Does this proposal fully solve your problem?”

If the answer is yes, you can move the sale forward. If not, ask more questions to clarify what’s missing so you can improve your proposal or change their perspective.

This is a great closing strategy if your prospect is in a state of indecision. It prompts them to reveal their reasons for hesitating, which can help you resolve their concerns. A question close might also help them recognize that your product or service is the right fit for their needs.

4. Summary close

In a summary close, sales reps give prospects a brief but compelling recap of the proposal. Emphasizing the benefits of your product or service can help your potential client see the full value of your solution.

The summary close is also one of the best techniques for beginner salespeople. While it isn’t the most exciting way to close deals, many sales experts use this strategy to make their offering feel more robust after a long conversation. 

It’s like planning a wedding: Choosing a cake, flowers, DJ, and venue might seem insignificant when spread out over the course of a year, but seeing it come together at the big event is magical.

5. Sharp angle close

A sharp angle close involves agreeing to a prospect’s requests, while also making a request of your own. Your potential clients know they have the upper hand—they can turn to your competitors at any time—so they might ask for add-ons or discounts. With a sharp angle close, you can level the playing field.

For example, if a home improvement lead asks for free painting service with a large kitchen renovation project, a sales rep might agree with the contingency that they’ll sign the contract today. When you show you’re willing to give your client something they want in the negotiation process, research suggests they feel compelled to reciprocate.

The sharp angle close is a good choice for sales managers who have the power to offer perks and can use that leverage to close the sale. 

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Follow up when appropriate

Ideally, you will close a deal right after you make your sales pitch, but some potential clients will insist on more time to make their decision. 

Don’t these prospects slip away. Follow up with leads by phone or email within two business days. If you’re pitching to a member of a larger organization who might need extra time to discuss with shareholders, wait up to a week before following up.

To stay organized, track your client interactions with a customer relationship management tool (CRM) like Zoho CRM or Zendesk. Sales CRMs help you visualize who you contacted and when so you can follow up at the right times. You can also enter notes about your prospect and proposal to keep your communication consistent. 

Don’t be pushy

No one likes a pushy salesperson. The best sales reps are the ones who build a rapport and trust with their prospects. If you get to know a client, you can also personalize your pitch and lead them forward, rather than pushing them forward with a hard close.

When you get to the closing stage, be attentive to your client. Answer their questions and observe verbal and nonverbal feedback—keeping in mind everything you’ve learned about them thus far.

Great sales reps also know when to back off. A lot of times, you may discover that a hesitant prospect simply isn’t a good fit. A salesperson who’s courteous enough to back off leaves a better impression than one who keeps pushing a sale. This also leaves the door open for the prospect to become a new customer in the future.

Get better sales results

With a combination of strategies and listening skills, you can learn how to close a sale and turn more prospects into clients. Begin your closing process by confirming that you’re pitching to the right person, then use a closing technique to earn a “yes” without being pushy.

Want to avoid trying to close deals with the wrong person? Learn how to maximize your time with these sales prospecting (or lead qualifying) tips.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.