After several back-to-back emails and phone calls, presentations, demonstrations and detailed proposals, a salesperson must eventually come up with a strategy for how to close a sale. We reached out to experts in multiple industries and asked them to share some of their favorite techniques for converting a prospect into a client or customer.
Here are the top 25 tips on how to close a deal from the pros:
1. Connect & Build Trust with Prospects
Dolores Hirschmann, Founder & CEO, Masters in Clarity
Closing the sales is a “consequence,” not the goal of top salespeople. Engage with your audience from a mindset of “adding value” and caring for your market in such a way that you are willing to take a stand for them by serving them at your highest level. Aim to connect and build trust — the sale will follow.
2. Demonstrate Consistency, Credibility & Compassion
Mary Beth Pulver, Founder, The Simple Ways
People love to support their friends, but consumers want to buy from professionals. Showing up consistently builds the trust that you’ll be there when they need you. When deciding where to buy, credibility means that I’m in this for longer than a flash in the pan. Compassion sees people over profit, and closing then becomes a matter of serving your client well.
3. Discover the Real Reason for the Purchase
John Brown, REALTOR & Real Estate Broker, Keller Williams Realty
I like to discover the pain the client has — the real reason for wanting or needing to purchase — and then focus on that to help find a solution. Genuinely caring about the client and being sensitive to their needs is very important to me. I don’t look at my business transactionally but rather building relationships with trust as the foundation.
4. Offer a Free Consultation
Jordan Prindle, Brand and Squarespace Designer, Jordan Prindle Designs
Offer a free consultation whenever possible. A free consultation call can increase conversions, humanizes your business and creates genuine connections with prospective clients.
5. Be Laser-focused on Your Deal
Evan Tarver, Sales, Marketing and Real Estate Editor, Fit Small Business
Confidence and trust close deals. You can build up both by never losing sight of your deal. Visual customer relationship management (CRM) tools like Pipedrive helps you do that by keeping you on top of your sales activities, so nothing falls through the cracks.
6. Recognize When to Stop Selling
Bill Romick, Market Development Manager, DNA Group Inc
Perhaps the most overlooked technique in closing a deal is to recognize when to stop selling and start closing. “Trial close” techniques will help you fine-tune your offer to customer pain points, but you must have access to the authority to say “yes,” and you must ask for the order.
7. Create a Map of the Account
Ryan Williams, Executive Sales Coach, SalesCollider
Start with your main point of contact. Why do they need your product or service? Then, consider the manager. Figure out what level of priority this problem you’re solving is. See what previous experiences he or she has had. For example, if the manager previously worked in security, he or she will have more questions about your security than the last sales call. See who has the most to gain or lose by this product being purchased.
8. Understand Your Value
Eric Herdman, Speaker, Author & Coach EricHerdman.com
Nothing trumps value. I position my unique selling position in terms of how what I have for sale will benefit the prospect. I add value in a way to handle price objections so clients can see my product or service is a great deal. Do your homework before you pitch. I recommend that all of my clients do a minimum of one hour of research on the prospect before meeting with them to assess needs and wants.
9. Answer Questions Patiently
Judy Cutler, Art Director, Jess Perna Art Studio
I ask if he or she has any questions. I answer patiently until the person has no more. I ask if he or she is the decision-maker. If the customer says he or she has to consult with someone else, I tell them I will be available to answer any questions that the person may have. If the person is the decision-maker, I ask if he or she is ready to order.
10. Have a Clear Execution Strategy
Kiah Treece, Legal Staff Writer, Fit Small Business
One way to close deals is to use a tool like Insightly, which is a terrific way to manage projects once you and your client agree to a fee and deliverables. Using Insightly allows you to manage workflow, track deadlines and link related projects so you can manage your total client relationship.
11. Use the Customer’s Exact Words
Chris Caruana, Founder & Managing Partner, The Caruana Group
Use the customer’s exact words, examples and stories. This is your opportunity to make a great impression and show that you care about helping them tackle their obstacles and achieve their goals. This strategy is successful because it builds a relationship with them, rather than just looking like you’re trying to chase down a quick buck.
12. Start Their Application for Them
Larry Medcalf, Licensed Health Insurance Agent & Owner, MedCard
A lot of my presentation involves asking questions, so when I’ve determined the customer is likely happy with the plan we’ve discussed, I ask when they would like to have the policy start. Basically, at this point, I’ve started their application. I think that it’s a natural close, plus if they aren’t quite ready yet and you need to address other concerns, this type of close makes it easy to circle back around when its time.
13. Listen to Your Customers
Tameka Anderson, Confidence & High-performance Specialist, Create It Kids Club
I research the company and what it’s passionate about. I retain every ounce of what the other party is speaking about. I refrain from offering an amount until I am sure the other party loves everything about what I do and is willing to work with me no matter the cost.
14. Stop Selling & Start Solving Problems
Matt Weik, Owner, Weik Fitness, LLC
The best strategy to close a deal is to show your prospects how you can solve their problem or issue. Selling doesn’t work — no one wants to be sold. However, when you can help resolve issues whether it be by lowering costs, improving efficiencies, increasing margins and so on, people are willing to buy your product or service. There has to be a validation to warrant the spend.
15. Assume the Close
Michael Bus, Wealth Management Consultant, PNW Financial
Acting as if the prospect is moving forward with the proposal prevents any awkwardness to the seller or prospect that could ruin the sale. Being too lackadaisical gives the prospect an out, and being too pushy is too intrusive thus causing the prospect to shut down. This is where assuming the close is a happy medium for everyone and exudes the seller’s confidence.
16. Offer a Free Trial
Steven Benson, Founder & CEO, Badger Maps
We always give people a free trial, so they start using the full version of the product and get to see how much it helps them and how valuable it is to their organization. Then, we let them pay month-to-month as well so they can cancel any time, so it’s often not a huge financial decision and the sale “auto closes.”
17. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Miranda Paquet, Marketing Staff Writer, Fit Small Business
Attractive sales collateral helps you close the sale long after your initial meeting is over. Especially if you use a quality printer like Vistaprint, you can create eye-catching brochures, flyers or booklets that make you look professional and help you stand out in a competitive market.
18. Be Honest About Resources
Lyndon Nicholson, CEO, Buffalo 7
As a service industry, we only ever have limited capacity. So, when we’re full, we’re full. That can be used to great effect when trying to get a difficult deal across the line. Through the suggestion that if the client in question doesn’t go ahead and confirm their project into our schedule, the possibility we can do the work may disappear, we often see slow decisions made much more quickly.
19. Use a Two-step Process or Trial Close
Chris Smith, Co-founder, Curaytor
To start closing, ask a question that isn’t as scary as “credit or debit” or “yes or no,” but forces the lead to visualize that things are proceeding. For example, “What day of the week would be best for your first coaching call?” The lead will typically either answer the question, confirming they are prime to be closed immediately or give an objection before they answer, which you can address.
20. Use Emotional Intelligence
David Omachonu, Founder, The Omach Team
To close the deal, we must be willing to wait and push our clients at the right times and frequency. About 90 percent of the decisions we make as humans are emotional. So, we have to understand the client’s emotions and analyze the trends in their behavior. Once we do that, we can take the appropriate actions that will lead a particular client to the close.
21. Understand the Opportunity Cost
Alfred Schofield, Co-founder, VitalFit Nutrition
Specify an opportunity cost if no deal is reached. The reason this strategy works is that it changes the frame through which the other party views the deal. It makes the buyer feel as though the money will be lost if the deal falls apart.
22. Make an Exception for a Customer
Cristian Rennella, CEO & Co-founder, elMejorTrato.com
This is especially helpful when we are working with customers who are making their first steps in the market. The client should know that you are making an exception for them and providing the service in the form of a test. We offer a free trial period as an exception. This is the best way for them to start working and shows we are their allies from the beginning.
23. Show a Record of Success
Nate Masterson, Marketing Manager, Maple Holistics
One of the most effective tools for compelling prospective clients is to show a record of success that has both quality and quantity. I always have a collection of references and recommendations on-hand. This allows clients to see that you have proven your professionalism, productivity, reliability and even reputation. It also speaks volumes when previous clients are willing to share their positive experiences.
24. Always Have a Call to Action
Nathan Saunders, Owner, Metropolis Marketing
Asking questions is the best way to close a customer. This gives the customer an option to accept the deal immediately or answer with an objection. Either way, you can gain valuable information that you would never have if you didn’t ask. There is no magic bullet to close a deal that works for all industries, but the best idea is to think of a question that will move the conversation forward to a purchase.
25. Ask for the Business
Kevin Mercuri, President & Founder, Propheta Communications
I find that many new business pitches fall flat at the very end because the seller is too timid to ask. Ask to send the client a contract for review, or ask if your team can commence work before the end of the month. Give the prospect a chance to say yes. A great presentation should be followed by a clear and confident request for business.
BONUS: Set Contracts and Never Break Them
David Sharp, President, PaySimple
Every promise you make is a contract and the way you treat the big ones should be the same as you treat the small ones. When you say something like, “Can I ask you a few questions?” follow up with, “I’ve asked you a few questions, mind if I keep going?” Or when you say, “Can I have 5 minutes of your time?” Later add, “It’s been 5 minutes, mind if I keep going?” Every promise kept is further proof of the type of person you are. This is how trust is earned.
Over to You
In sales, there is never any single solution that fits every problem nor will every strategy work in every situation. However, the most common elements of successful closing techniques include authenticity, active listening and following through. It is also important to pay attention to key metrics like lead conversion rate to see where you might improve. If we have missed any closing techniques that you use in your business, let us know in the comments section below.