How to Close a Sales Deal

January 17, 2022

How to Close a Sales Deal: 6 Must-Know Tips for Increasing Your Close Ratio

Written by Karli Stone

Closing a deal is both an art and a science.

If you’re trying to sell a product or service you need to be accommodating to the customer’s wants, needs, and goals, but also execute the proper pressure and strategies to get them on board.

And finding that balance can be tough.

Many salespeople, and almost all sales leaders, admit that successfully closing sales doesn’t happen enough. According to a HubSpot survey, 71% of sales professionals say their top priority is to close more deals. This could be because, in the last six years, the percentage of salespeople hitting their quotas has dropped from 63% to 53%!

Any salesperson selling in today’s competitive market could benefit from a few tips and tricks on how to close a sale.

Read on to learn some effective, sales-closing techniques, as well as tips to successfully close your deals.

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What is Sales Closing?

This may seem obvious, but it’s best that we clearly define the stage of the sales cycle we are talking about…

Sales closing is the final stage of the sales pipeline and the culmination of all of your sales efforts. 

It certainly isn’t the only stage of the sales pipeline that matters, but it is the one that’s the most absolute. Building out buyer personas, outbound prospecting, qualifying your contacts, cold calling, proposing your offer, negotiating; all of these steps have built up to closing the sale and getting your desired outcome.

The goal of sales closing is to get your prospect to agree to a deal and sign a contract and/or make a purchase.

And getting to that “yes” takes a lot of patience and persistence. The average company only closes on about 20% of their sales qualified leads.

Sales closing is the make-or-break point. It can be intimidating to a lot of sales reps but, lucky for you, it’s possible to get your desired outcomes more often than not. All it takes is the proper preparation and the right strategy…

The SEM Framework

Smooth, effective, and mindful…

The SEM framework can be used as a sales technique to guide your mannerisms and language when closing a sale:

Smooth –  Using language and tone that reduces, eliminates, and prevents potential objections and obstacles that lower the probability of closing the deal

Effective – Using language that targets the exact needs of your prospect in order to close the deal

Mindful – Using verbal and physical language that shows respect and empathy for your potential client

Old school, spammy sales pitches don’t have the same effect anymore. Using these three practices in closing can help you create talking points that are relevant to your prospect and help them feel more like a partner, rather than a paycheck.

As we look at some more specific examples of closing techniques, be mindful of the ways you can use the SEM framework to shape your messaging and boost conversion rates.

Sales Closing Techniques

Every prospect has different pain points and different objections, and good closers know how to use an arsenal of strategies to address them. Here are a few different sales closing techniques you can try to help you close deals better and faster:

The Assumptive Close

This is a closing strategy where the salesperson assumes that the deal has been made. Sales reps use this technique when the prospect has checked most of the boxes in each step of the sales process but has not yet confirmed the deal. Examples of an Assumptive Close include:

  • “What day works for starting your subscription?”
  • “When should we get started? Tomorrow?”
  • “I think you’ll be pleased with our product. Would you prefer X or Y in your starter pack order?”
  • “Yoga is a great way to strengthen your body, I’m glad you are getting started with the hobby. Which yoga starter kit would you like?”

Consider using the Assumptive Close when you want to take the pressure off of the customer to make a decision, and nudge them towards making a decision sooner rather than later.

The Take-Away Close

The take-away close is when you give your potential client a limited period of time to make a decision to buy your product or service, before the offer no longer stands.

This is a closing technique to use when you’re on the verge of a deal, but the customer has suddenly come up with complaints in order to drive a bargain. By not budging and offering to withdraw the whole deal, prospects will often quickly reconsider in fear that they will lose out on a good deal.

Here are some examples of using the Take-away Close:

  • That is not going to work for us. The best deal we can offer you is the one already on the table.”
  • “If you’re not ready, I get that, but I’m going to have to focus my time and energy on the next call in ten minutes with a customer who’s ready and willing to move forward. Let’s use these ten minutes to make a decision and move forward.”
  • “Let’s spend the next few minutes trying to get to the finish line. If we are unable to do that, then let’s take a step back and reconnect when you’re ready to pull the trigger”

The Question Close

The Question Close is exactly how it sounds. It is when you ask a series of probing questions during negotiations, to eliminate all objections to buy.

Asking questions is a win-win situation. It allows sales reps to address objections and urge people to act, while also supplying them with more information about the customer’s needs.

Here are a few examples of using a Question Close:

  • “Is there anything preventing you from agreeing to this deal today?”
  • “If I could guarantee XYZ in a month, are you ready to jump on board now?”
  • “In your opinion, does what I am offering solve your problem?”

The Summary Close

This closing technique is when you summarize the benefits and the value of your product.

When you help the prospect visualize what they are purchasing, and sum it up in a concise and digestible way, it’s easier for them to understand how much benefit they would be receiving.

For example, if a customer is on the fence about purchasing a vacuum, you could say:

So, we have our newest cordless vacuum model, which is lightweight and versatile for everyday use. Its heavy-duty performance will be perfect for all of your carpeted floors! It also comes with a 10 year warranty, free delivery, and it’s currently 15% off.”

The Summary Close puts all of your product’s best qualities in one sentence and nudges potential buyers towards making a purchasing decision.

These are just a few of the many techniques that can be used for closing sales.

Bear in mind that successful salespeople don’t live and die by a single closing strategy. Potential buyers will respond differently to different techniques. It’s important to feel comfortable using a variety of sales closing techniques, so that you can close deals with any and all prospects. 

6 Tips for Sealing Your Sales Deal

At this point, you are familiar with a few proven techniques. But how do you build on this foundation and get better at sales closing? 

Here are six pointers to improve at closing any sales deal:

1. Know the customer

LinkedIn’s State of Sales Report 2021 shows that, even though 60% of sellers say that they always put the buyer first, only 24% of buyers agree.

At this point in the buying process, you should already have a good understanding of who the buyer is and what their needs are. But now is the time to make sure the buyer knows that they are heard and understood.

The consultative approach will always beat the transactional approach, especially in B2B sales. Use discovery calls and your own research to know the customer inside and out. A personalized approach focused on partnership and relationship building will build trust and encourage more potential buyers to sign the dotted line.

2. Create a sense of urgency

Creating a sense of urgency is when you communicate to your prospect that it is imperative to act promptly, decisively and without any further delay. When you create a touch of anxiety in your audience, people are much more likely to take quick action and make a purchase.

Make them feel that today is the day that their problem will be solved!

Good ways to establish that sense of urgency include:

  • Adding a deadline to your sale
  • Using “the fear of missing out” to make them buy
  • Lowering any barriers that prevent quick transactions
  • Adding time-limited and/or free bonuses
  • Using words that convey urgency (e.g. exclusive, limited time offer, last chance, hurry)

3. Overcome objections

Your prospect will naturally have objections about your offer or why it isn’t the right time for them to buy.

You need to be ready to go with solid answers to whatever their pushback might be. It’s especially important that you put your closing skills to work by listening carefully, providing thoughtful answers, and asking probing questions.

For example, you might begin to address an objection by saying: “If I’m hearing you correctly, it sounds like you’re concerned about X,Y,Z. Have I got that right?” Then, you can begin by alleviating their doubts and reiterating how and why your product is a good fit for their needs.

For further preparation, check out HubSpot’s resource on the most common sales objections and the rebuttals you can create to address them. 

4. Have a clear Call-to-Action (CTA)

One of the biggest closing mistakes you can make is not being clear about the next steps you want from your potential client.

Even if you are not quite ready to ask for the sale, you need to have a clear CTA at the end of every touchpoint.

Ask yourself: what do you want your potential client to do next?

Find time for another meeting? Accept a trial period? Chat with a value assessment expert? List their questions and concerns?

Never assume the next step is obvious. Being clear and transparent with your prospect will greatly increase your chances of success.

5. Practice the 70/30

As a general rule of thumb, let the prospect do 70% of the talking, and try to minimize your comments to 30%.

This is considered a healthy balance between you trying to make your sales pitch, and also listen to the concerns of the other party.

You need to be the one steering the conversation towards a close, but let your prospect dominate the discussion. After all, it is their pain point that is being addressed in the first place!

6. Know when to move on

At this point, if your preparation and diligence have resulted in a sale, congratulations!

But, if you are at a point where you have addressed buyer concerns, executed all of the proper closing techniques, followed up with the prospective buyer to see if they have any further questions, and they are still unresponsive and/or uninterested in closing; it is likely time to move on.

The best salespeople know when it is in their best interest to move forward and spend their time with other, more interested buyers.

Once you conclude a sale isn’t going to close, remove it from your cold files and document the experience in your CRM so you can apply what you’ve learned (and potentially re-establish contact) in the future.

At the end of the day, the best sales closing techniques are the ones with a healthy mix of strategies, techniques, and available resources. 

While sales engagement software like Apollo has been proven to generate leads and contribute to conversion, nothing helps close a sale like a personalization and strategy.

Start emphasizing closing skills and empower your sales team. 

Send your team this article on how to close a sales deal and subscribe to Apollo’s LinkedIn and Twitter accounts for more helpful sales tips. 

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Karli Stone headshot Karli Stone

Karli Stone is copy writer and content creator living in Los Angeles, CA and a proud University of Washington grad. When she’s not wordsmith-ing, you can find her biking along Santa Monica Beach, following the Seattle Seahawks, or catching a flick at her local cinema.