Here are 20 tried-and-true techniques to lead you to “yes.”
If you’ve done your job right in leading your customer through the sale process, you’ve already done a needs analysis, customized a proposal, had some trial closes, and you’re ready to get down to business. The art of the sale is to find the customer’s pain points and then demonstrate how your product will solve their business problem. Along the way, you’ll have to overcome their objectives — often one at a time — until there’s no reason not to sign the deal. Closing techniques are designed to get to the root of the prospect’s hesitation to say “yes” so you can tackle the objections.
Technique 1. Assumptive Close
This approach is something you do during the entire sales process. It starts with having a positive attitude that you’re going to make this sale! Confidence can rub off on your customers. A positive attitude can be contagious.
Approach the sale as if the customer has already said yes. The conversation will focus on what needs to happen to conclude the sale and how much better off the customer will be from doing business with you.
“Will 10 units be enough to start or would you prefer more right away?”
“To get started, I need your company’s legal business name.”
Technique 2. Summary Close
A strong proposal ends with a summary of the key benefits and value and you can sum it up with a call to action. The summary close is a version of the assumptive close. You’re moving forward as if it’s a done deal and just going through what it takes to get started. It’s up to the customer to stop you if you’re not ready.
“The top-of-the-line Widget Master 3000 will double your production without increasing your costs. Would you like us to deliver on Wednesday or Friday?”
Technique 3. Question Close
Instead of asking if the customer has any other questions, or waiting for an objective — real or imagined, ask the customer a straight-forward question. The answer will be telling. If the prospect still has objections, you can drill down and find out where the hesitation is coming from. You’ve got to deal with them before you can close the sale, so the sooner you know what the objection is, the sooner you can counter it. If the answer is positive, write it up!
“I think we agree this is the best solution to the problems we’ve been discussing. Is there any reason we can’t write this up?”
Technique 4. Deadline Close
Putting a time clock on a prospect is dangerous. Don’t do it if it’s not true. If you truly have a limited-time-offer, you need to be willing to walk away from a sale if the deal doesn’t close. Remember that forcing a decision can result in a no (especially if you haven’t tackled all the objections).
If you have a real deadline, though, this can be a very effective technique to get the job done. If a prospect tells you they can’t decide by that deadline, you have more work to do.
“The manufacturer is mandating a price increase this Friday.”
Technique 5. “It’s Your Choice” Close
Reinforce they are in control of the sales process. Realistically, they always are in control. You can’t move forward if they don’t say yes. Letting them know it’s their decision gives them the feeling they are making a good decision and not being “sold” something.
“It sounds like this is exactly what you need and the price is right. But I know it’s your decision. Are you ready to start?”
Technique 6. Try it Before You Buy It Close
Sometimes people need hands-on with your product to appreciate what it can do. By giving your prospect a chance to spend some time with your product, they may sell themselves on the need. Let’s say you’re trying to sell a new color copy machine to replace a black-and-white model. Letting the prospect’s staff have access to the machine for a week may have them clamoring to keep it and turn a reluctant buyer into a proponent.
“Let’s set you up with a weeklong trial. We’ll set you up and let you put it through its paces at your convenience. I’ll leave the contract with you. If you like it, just sign and send it back to me. If not, call and we’ll come pick it up.”
Technique 7. Direct Close
The clock has run out. You’ve addressed all the prospect’s objections. You know you’ve got the right product and the right solution. Ask for the sale!
“Are you ready to get started?”
If the answer is no, it gives you the opportunity to address objections by probing why the prospect isn’t ready to move forward. If you can narrow the list down to a final objection, switch to the Conditional close.
Technique 8. Make a List Close
If the prospect seems stuck, an effective way to approach things is to take out a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. Label one column “Pros” and the other “Cons.” Take the lead and start the conversation by writing down the “Pros” on one side of the paper. Make it a nice, long list. Then ask the prospect to come up with any negatives. Don’t help here!
If You can zero in on the objections and take them on one at a time. You’re not going to get the sale until you overcome the objections anyway, so you might as well know what they are! Typically, you’ll get down to the real issue holding them back from committing.
“Let’s list the Pros and Cons and see if we can figure this out.”
Often, where you end up is going to be price. That can be a real objection you must overcome or it may just be a prospect trying to see if there’s any wiggle room.
Technique 9. Negotiated Close
Once you’ve narrowed down the list of objections to a short list, you can position them as minor obstacles that can be easily overcome.
“That sound great! Let’s sign the deal and we’ll get in here Monday and solve these final issues.”
This can work especially well when you get prospects that continually find even the small objections as a way of grinding you down on price or waiting to see if you’ll “throw in something extra.”
Technique 10. It’s Time Close
Once you’ve presented your case, gotten the client to list their objections and effectively countered them, it’s time to close. Put the paper in front of them, let them know you feel your job is done, and ask for the sale. Then, sit quietly and don’t talk until they do.
“It sounds like this is the perfect solution to your problem. I just need you to sign here and we’ll get started.”
Technique 11. Alternative or Choices Close
Prospects want to feel in control of the process. While they are making a big decision to purchase your products, getting them to make small decisions along the way can lead them to yes. This can be especially effective when you sense the prospect is close to giving you the sale, but they’re nervous.
“Let’s get this part out of the way. Would you prefer the medium or large size? Silver or Gold? Would you want the extended warranty or the standard?”
Make sure the choices are all leading towards the sale. Not only are you getting a string of buying decisions, you’re getting them comfortable that they are in control and it’s their decision… because it is.
Technique 12. “Is it Me?” Close
It’s easy to say no to a company. It’s harder to say no to a person. By asking the prospect if you’ve done something wrong, they’ll almost always say no and explain the specific thing that’s holding them back. It helps get right to the objections so you can counter them.
“I can sense you’re not quite ready to do this. Have I not done my job in showing you how this will solve your problem?”
Technique 13. Feel/Felt/Found Close
In this tried-and-true method, you are defining the problem for your customer and showing them you understand their situation. Then, you are showing your experience with other customers that had the same concerns and showing how you could steer them into the right products that solved their problems.
There’s safety in numbers. If it has worked for others, prospects will feel better about saying yes. Rarely do people want to be the test case for you.
“I understand why you would feel that way. It’s perfectly understandable. That’s the same way most of my other customers felt. What they found after installing our systems is that it was everything we said it was.”
At this point, have some testimonials on hand. Walking through specific case studies and acknowledging that others had reservations at first, but now love your solutions can be powerful.
Technique 14. “On a Scale of 1 to 10” Close
Asking a prospect to rate where they are on a scale of 1 to 10 can help you determine quickly if you’re close or you still have a lot of work ahead of you
“On a scale of 1 to 10, can you tell me what your level of interest is at this point?”
If they say 5 or less, there are a lot of objections to overcome. You’ll need to dig in, find out what they are, and address them. An effective follow up is to ask them to explain why they rated their interest so low so you can help tailor your discussion to move them forward.
If they say 6 or higher, you’re on the right track. An effective technique is to follow-up by asking them what it will take to get to 10. They’ll tell you what their hesitation is to commit. Then, ask them the next question.
FOLLOW UP QUESTION:
“If we can take care of that, will it gets us to 10?”
If they say yes, you know what you must do. If they say no, identify the next item and tackle it. Rinse and repeat! You’ll find the stumbling blocks and tackle them one at a time. Along the way, you’re moving the prospect up the ladder closer to 10 and making it more difficult to say no at the end. Once they’ve admitted you’ve overcome all their objections, it’s hard to say no.
Technique 15. ROI Close
This works best when you can demonstrate a clear impact on the bottom line for the business. Will solving their problem make them more profitable? If the answer is yes, it’s a lot easier to justify the decision. The higher the ROI, the easier it will be getting to yes.
“If we replace these machines with the newer models that are more energy efficient, you will save enough money in the first two years to pay for them. After that, you’ll have savings every month after that.”
Technique 16. I’m on Your Side Close
This technique aligns your interests with those of the client. It shows you’re willing to fight — even with your own company if necessary — to get the best deal possible for them.
“My manager says the best deal I can offer you is $10,000. I also know that she’s trying to hit her budget number this month. If I can get her to agree to $9,500, will that work?”
If price is the final objection, this can be a great technique to use although it might mean you’re not getting the sale right now.
Technique17. Vanity Close
Everyone wants to make smart decisions. Position your product as the solution smart people choose by demonstrating how others have bought what you’re selling.
“The buyer at XYZ Company is known as one of the smartest people in the industry. When I showed him our products, he immediately saw the benefits of what we could do for them. Since you’re at the top of your game, I knew this would be the right solution for you as well.”
This technique appeals directly to their vanity. Everybody likes to think they’re making smart decisions and again, there’s less risk in choosing something in which others have experienced success.
Technique 18. Testimonial Close
Using success stories can make a prospect feel safer in deciding in your favor. It also allows you to be a story-teller rather than a fact-teller. Showing numbers and attributes may be necessary, but telling a story about how others bought your products and how it solved their problems can be even more effective. Have some case studies ready to pull out to overcome specific objections.
“Jim at XYZ Company had the same problem you had. He bought our product six months ago. I check in with him every month and he improved his own sales every month since we started doing business together.”
Technique 19. “Commit Up Front” Close
You’ll need to do this one right at the start of your presentation. You’re getting the prospect to commit to giving you a decision when you’re done and hopefully avoid the dreaded “I need to think about it.”
“I’m not trying to sell you today. I want to show you my product and tell you why others thought it was perfect for them. All I’m asking is that at the end, you judge for yourself and give me an honest answer as to whether it would make sense for you.”
At the end of your presentation, address any objections, then hold their feet to the fire. When you get that “I need to think or research or get competitive bids,” you remind them that they promised to give you an answer.
Technique 20. Conditional Close
If you’re getting resistance to getting the signature on the dotted line, there’s one last closing technique to try. First, you should identify the objections to making the sale. If there’s more than one, you’re not ready for this. Take them on one-by-one and when you get down to the final road block, roll out the conditional close.
“If I can reduce the price to what you say you’re willing to pay, will you sign the deal right now?”
We focus a lot on closing techniques, but the fact of the matter is that closing a deal is a series of trial closes throughout the process. The whole point of the exercise is to find out the objections prospects have so you can isolate them, overcome them, and move on. Until you do, no closing technique will be effective.