12 Sales Closing Techniques (and When to Use Them)

Aug 4, 2020

You might have the perfect product or service with amazing benefits for your customers. You could even have the highest quality leads who could really use what you have to sell. If you can’t close, though, your sales will suffer.

The entire sales process culminates in the right close. That is why so many of the top sales reps emphasize the ABC’s of sales: Always Be Closing.

Illustration of businessman talking to two customers with the text "12 sales closing techniques"

It makes sense, then, that 71% of sales professionals stated that their priority is closing more sales. Closing is what you’re paid to do as a sales rep since it turns prospects into paying customers. Because it is incredibly important for sales, though, it also can be the most anxiety-inducing part of the job. Many reps lose confidence and either try too hard or avoid it to their detriment.

It doesn’t help that it is getting more difficult for sales reps to close in the current environment. Prospects are likely to take an issue with budget and create objections related to the price. Experienced sales reps know that these objections can be overcome even in the most difficult economic climates.

We’ve created this guide to the top sales closing techniques to fit the different kinds of customers and environments reps experience. Read on to get some tips for more effective closing, plus effective closing statement examples to try.

Quick Tips for How to Close a Sales

Your sales closing techniques should not be an afterthought. Because it is so vital to turning a prospect into a customer, it needs to be carefully planned ahead of time.

While the right technique for asking for the sale can be beneficial, keep these tips in mind to make sure they are most effective:

  • Closing starts at the beginning. Closing is not one big ask at the end of your presentation. It should start from the very first conversation. Direct your prospects each step of the way: another phone call, meeting, etc.
  • Match the closing to your prospect’s needs. Not every situation and prospect are the same, so your closing technique should change accordingly. There’s no way to know what your prospect’s challenges, needs, and goals are unless you ask questions and tailor your method accordingly. Don’t just spew a bunch of information at the prospect and hope that something sticks.
  • Get all of the key decision-makers early. While the first phone call and conversation won’t have everyone there, try to get all the decision-makers in on the conversation as soon as possible. There’s nothing more disappointing than working hard on a prospect, only to be blindsided by an issue from someone you haven’t met at the very end.
  • Don’t accept any and all terms. While the market may be tight, don’t destroy your company for a sale. Conditions should be beneficial to everyone, including you. If the deal is hurting your bottom line, it may be better to walk away.
  • Don’t be afraid of silence. A classic mistake many new sales reps make is rushing to fill any and all silence. Don’t rush to speak for your customer. Let phrases hang for a minute. If they simply say “no,” for example, give a moment of silence to allow them to tell you why. Also, avoid “and/or” questions. Encourage yes or no answers to get more definitive, helpful responses from your prospects.
  • Become more comfortable with “no.” Stay motivated in the face of sales rejection. Don’t become defensive or try to argue when your prospects say no. Not only will you lose their business then, but you’ll destroy any future possibility of talking to them again. Instead, say “okay,” and offer another alternative if it is applicable.
  • Don’t make your customers comfortable. Instead, create urgency and directness to land a sale. Urgency is what puts the pressure on the prospect to act.

The right technique will only go so far if not implemented the right way. Keep these tips in mind throughout the sales process to make sure you convince your prospect to act.

The Wrong Way to Close a Sale

While there are many ways to close a sale successfully, there is one phrase that will almost inevitably shut it down:

“Would you like time to think about it?”

Keep in mind when you’re meeting your prospect that your main battle is not to get them to choose you over your competitor. It’s getting them to take any action at all. The main question that needs to be answered is this: why should they buy your product or service over doing nothing?

Inertia in sales is strong. A close like that will immediately give them an out with zero action on their part. Also, it makes them doubt what you are selling. If you think it might not fit them, why are you even talking to them?

Closing a sale by giving them time to think will mean they’ll forget you almost as soon as you leave.

Instead, use the following techniques at the right time instead to encourage action.

What are the Best Closing Techniques?

Finding the best closing technique is a fine art. There is no one size-fits-all. It takes understanding your prospect’s concerns and needs, your report and relationship with them, and what you have to offer them.

There are multiple ways that you can close your sales. We’ve compiled some of the best ones and noted when to use them to help get you started:

#1: The Presumptive Close

When to use it: Use it after you have a successful conversation where you clearly established the benefits and addressed all the prospect’s objections.

The Presumptive Close is a great start for beginning sales reps after they feel a conversation or pitch has been successfully navigated. It gives both you and your prospect a boost of confidence. Plus, it clearly lays out the next steps for your prospects and makes it more difficult to do nothing at all.

A Presumptive Close might sound something like “I can get a shipment to you on Tuesday,” or “How many would you like to order?” However, you choose to phrase it, assume the sale.

#2: The Takeaway Close

When to use it: A prospect makes a monetary-based objection.

Budget is a large concern for companies. Many businesses are hesitant to invest in a service or product during these uncertain times. The Takeaway Close is a great option in these circumstances. It involves bringing down the cost of your product or service by taking away certain features. For example, you could offer a smaller package, or reduced warranty to make it a lower price point.

The Takeaway Close gives them more options if their budget is actually limited. It also addresses an interesting part of human psychology: we hate to feel like we’re missing out on something. Most prospects will only be able to concentrate on what they’re missing out on that they likely will choose to add it back.

#3: The Summary Close

When to use it: After a successful conversation where your prospect understands the benefits you offer, and you have successfully answered any objections they raised.

The Summary Close is another great option for newer sales reps that are not sure how to end the conversation and ask for the sale. As the name suggests, it entails summarizing your conversation to show the benefits of your product. This is not the time to bring up any new points or bonuses. It might sound something like this:

“So, as we discussed, XYZ product will help make your customer service team faster and more efficient, which will increase customer satisfaction and lower your overhead costs.”

Sometimes your prospects will get lost in their thoughts and confused throughout a conversation. The Summary Close will help them visualize what they’re purchasing. It also summarizes why what you have is better than just leaving their money in their pockets.

#4: The Urgency Close

When to use it: If the prospect seems on the fence about pulling the trigger. They want time to think about it instead of purchasing right away.

Also known as the “Now or Never” close, it puts the pressure on your prospect to act now as opposed to pushing off the decision. It involves creating some advantage that they will lose if they fail to act in a certain amount of time. It might be a discount that expires in 24 hours, for example or a bonus that is only available for the week. It taps into the primal fear of missing out and helps push them through the temptation to do nothing.

A vital aspect of The Urgency Close, though, is honesty. If they find out that you are lying about an arbitrary deadline, you’ll not only lose their trust but likely gain a poor reputation.

#5: The Sharp Angles Close

When to use it: A prospect wants to buy, but they still have one nagging objection. The client asks for a special favor, and leadership has already approved granting it.

Most prospects know they are in a position of bargaining power. They might try to use this position to get the best deal, like asking for a discounted onboarding process or a bonus feature.

The Sharp Angles close allows you to switch back this power dynamic. It usually sounds something like:

“Sure, I can do that for you if you sign today.”

This not only provides an immediate yes, but it puts the action back onto the client. It creates the right kind of discomfort that encourages them to act.

#6: The Suggested Close

When to use it: If the customer views you as an expert or trusted advisor.

Although more experienced sales reps typically use it, it can be used by anyone that cultivates the right relationship with their client. Most companies want more than someone who will just sell them something. They want an advisor that will help them run their most successful business.

The Suggested Close takes advantage of this to make a sale. It sounds something like:

“Based on what we discussed, I recommend you receive your shipments twice a month to avoid running out of product. Should I write up the order for you?”

Similar to the Presumptive Close, the Suggested Close assumes the sale and puts pressure on the prospect to place an order.

#7: The Scales Close

When to use it: If your prospect is being silent, you need more feedback, or want to discuss their objections.

The Scales Close entails asking your prospect how interested they are on a scale of 1 to 5. From there, you can ask questions about why they chose the score they did. If it is anything less than 5, ask them why. It gives them the chance to talk about what they liked and any objections they have.

Some prospects are quieter than others, but your conversation should still go both ways. The Scales Close gives your prospect the chance to open up, and you can make sure that you’re both discussing what is most important to them.

#8: The Backwards Close

When to use it: If your target prospects don’t like overly aggressive sales. It can also be used if they don’t seem to be paying attention to you.

The Backwards Close turns the standard sales process on its head. Instead of asking for referrals at the end of the sales process, ask for them upfront. After explaining what your product or service is and your company, take note of their level of interest. If it seems low or they’re defensive, ask, “Is there anyone that would be interested in this product?” If they throw out a name or two, ask if you can use their name when speaking to the lead.

The Backwards Close relies on another hallmark of human psychology: consistency. If we say something about ourselves, we all feel the need to act as a reflection of that. Before they allow you to use their name, they’ll likely want to hear more information about what you are selling. It immediately increases the prospect’s interest and drops their guard to listen to what you have to say.

Great for experienced sales reps, it’s vital to read the situation before implementing the Backwards Close.

#9: The Ben Franklin Close

When to use it: Your prospect is struggling to visualize whether your product or service works for them.

Ben Franklin was famous for innovations in art, science, philosophy, and business. When he was torn about a business decision, he would come up with a pros and cons list. Franklin would then base his decision about which side weighed more heavily.

Harness this useful tip with your prospects. Write down the pros and cons of your product. Your prospect will then be able to visualize the real benefits you can offer.

#10: The Question Close

When to use it: You want to address objections while also getting a commitment.

Most successful conversations with prospects are full of questions. From understanding your prospect’s situation and goals to addressing any objections or issues, you will likely be asking your prospect’s input all along. The right close can be a question, as well:

“Do you think this solution will solve your problem?”

A question like this one allows you to answer any objections if the answer is negative. If they respond positively, you can move on to the next steps. Either way, you can make good progress by closing with a question.

#11: The Soft Close

When to use it: During an earlier meeting.

Closing is not just for the end of the sales process. Closing your phone calls and early meetings are vital too. Although you can offer a free trial or service to entice them early on, if you are not able to, you should still close.

An astonishing 48% of sales calls end without an attempt to close. It’s not about closing the deal at this point but directing your prospects on to the next steps. This is also ideal for your prospect because they are not required to make a full commitment yet.

The best sales closing calls over the phone usually lead to a virtual demo, upcoming appointment, or meeting other decision-makers. Keep your conversation short, so the prospect doesn’t lose interest.

#12: The Puppy Dog Close

When to use it: The prospect struggles to invest in the monetary value of the product or service.

The Puppy Dog Close is based on the concept that few people will give a puppy back when they’ve had it for a few days. Allow your customers to “test drive” your product or service with a free trial.

It is an especially useful close when your prospects are overly concerned about their budget. They can see how the benefits are worth the price and will likely decide to keep it.

Better Closings for More Sales

Choosing the right close at the right time is crucial for breaking through your prospect’s inertia. Give these a try today and see how they can help you land more sales!