The Best Sales Closing Techniques Recommended by Experts
By Maddy Osman on Oct 04, 2018
Just got back from Dreamforce with an armful of business cards and the desire to make some sales? You’re in good company!
I’m sure you already know how important it is to follow up — striking while the iron is still hot and you’re fresh in the minds of your prospects. Perhaps you also know that Cirrus Insight’s sales productivity tools can help you move the conversation forward.
But how do you actually close the deal?
By learning from the advice of sales greats and familiarizing yourself with popular closing techniques, you’ll be a step ahead of the competition.
What the Sales Greats Say
The Harvard Business Review claims that hard closes rarely work — it’s much better to work up to a signed contract with a soft close.
Here are some tips to work your way to a close based on best practices from the experts:
Zig Ziglar literally wrote the book on closing deals — his Secrets of Closing the Sale is a bestseller that any serious salesperson should read a few times in an attempt to commit Ziglar’s wisdom to memory.
One of his top closing tips is to encourage your prospect to visualize the end result of working together. He suggests that salespeople paint the picture of what it would be like to have their problem solved with your solution.
Personal Selling Power shares this Ziglar example that you can adapt for your own efforts, “Just imagine for a moment that you have owned this product for a year. You sit in your office and in comes your accountant. He shows you the maintenance figures of this machine and he tells you with a smile on his face that your operating costs have decreased by 38 percent. Isn’t that what we both want to happen?”
Dale Carnegie is another critically-acclaimed salesperson who graciously documented his best sales advice in the bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
His best closing advice centers around how to make the other person (your prospect) feel special. Specifically, Carnegie has said that you’ll make more sales by shutting your mouth (listening) than you will by trying to dominate the conversation. He recommends spending the time it takes to learn as much about your customers as you do about your product.
John H. Patterson
John H. Patterson will go down in sales history as one of the first to properly codify sales techniques for easy and effective training of sales representatives. His instruction manual, The Primer, helped to build the National Cash Register Company into a successful company.
So what can we learn from Patterson about closing? His advice centers around proactively addressing objections before they happen as part of your pitch. Don’t wait for them to derail you — keep track of common objections you hear from prospects and incorporate them into your close.
In the past, it’s been mostly men who are recognized as sales leaders, there’s a lot to be learned from the females dominating the profession.
Jill Konrath is a bestselling author and speaker who focuses on sales thought leadership. Her best sales closing tip is to detach yourself from the outcome. She remarks that in the past, the more she wanted to close a sale, the less likely she was to actually do so! To get ahead, shift the focus from you to your prospect.
Other Popular and Effective Sales Closing Techniques
The guidance of sales experts can be helpful but it’s just as useful to have a few tried-and-true closing techniques to pull out of your back pocket when the situation requires them.
Here are some of the most effective closing techniques:
- The assumptive/option close: With this type of closing technique, you should be fairly confident that your prospect has a real interest in your product. You’re essentially pushing them towards the finish line. An assumptive close assumes that the sale is basically made and that it’s just a matter of settling on the details. An assumptive close might be, “Shall we get you started with the Basic or Premium plan?”.
- The now or never/urgency/something for nothing close: This type of closing technique aims to induce FOMO (fear of missing out). The idea behind it is that if the prospect doesn’t act now, they’ll be missing out on special pricing or time-sensitive bonuses. Use urgency to get your prospect to make a decision.
- The puppy dog close: Imagine you want to buy a puppy and the salesperson says, “You can bring this puppy home free for 30 days — you can return it if it doesn’t work out!”. For many businesses, this money-back guarantee inspires action and rarely results in a refund.
- The trial close: A trial close is basically a soft close. It involves asking questions to get a prospect’s “temperature” in terms of how they feel about your company and product (and closing a deal). Try asking, “How do you feel about…” and fill in the blanks about different aspects of the solution you’re proposing.
- The commitment close: With this closing technique, you’re essentially asking the prospect to get commitment for fixing the problems they’ve already told you about before presenting your proposal and pricing. If there are objections after the fact, you can bring the prospect back to this commitment that they’ve made.
- The objections close: As we’ve already learned from Patterson, proactively addressing objections can help improve your close rate. Once you’ve made it through your pitch and feel like you’re ready to ask for the sale, try, “If I sent you a contract today, is there any reason you wouldn’t sign?”.
Final Thoughts: The Best Sales Closing Techniques Recommended by Experts
By learning from the world’s top salespeople and adding these advanced closing techniques to your arsenal, you’ll be ready to turn your Dreamforce leads into full-fledged customers. As with any attempt to improve your sales process, practice makes perfect. Enlist the help of a team member and practice your favorite closing techniques until you’ve got them down pat!
What are your favorite closing techniques to get the sale? Tweet your thoughts at @CirrusInsight and we’ll share our favorites!