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Closing A Sale: Best Practices For Finalizing Deals

closing-a-sale:-best-practices-for-finalizing-deals
Closing A Sale: Best Practices For Finalizing Deals

Closing a sale is one of the most important parts of the sales process. Without a good sales closing strategy, you could waste time generating leads and pitching your products or services to potential customers who fail to buy.

Whether you’re selling business to business (B2B) or business to consumer (B2C), using smart sales closing techniques can make a difference to your bottom line. Learn more about the best sales closing techniques you can use, as well as a step-by-step breakdown of how to close a sale.

Sales closing techniques

Here are some common sales closing techniques to consider as part of the sales cycle:

Sharp-angle close

This is a sales closing technique that counters a potential customer’s question with an answer contingent on closing a sale right away. For this technique to work, you’ll need to offer the prospect what they want to move them toward completing the sale.

For example, a sales rep could use the sharp-angle close technique if a customer asked for free installation if they buy a software system. The sharp-angle close technique requires sales reps to have the authority to approve a potential customer’s request before countering with an offer to close.

Test-drive close

This sales closing technique lets a customer try a product or service for free in the hope they become attached and purchase it. The test drive close is also known as the puppy-dog close because of how attached people can become to a puppy after bringing one home.

For example, a sales rep using the test-drive close could offer a prospective customer a 30-day free trial for a software subscription with no strings attached in hopes that the prospect likes the product and purchases it once the trial ends.

Scale close

A scale close, or gauge close, is a closing technique that consists of asking prospects directly how likely they are to make a purchase on a scale of 1 to 10. Sales experts use this technique to close deals by letting customers feel heard, giving them a chance to voice their level of interest, and addressing any concerns to move them higher up the scale. This closing technique gives sales reps more information about how prospects are feeling and, therefore, a better idea of how to encourage them toward a sale.

Now-or-never close

The now-or-never close, or scarcity close, involves a special offer contingent on making a deal within a specific time frame. For example, a sales rep using this technique could offer free shipping, but only if the prospect makes a purchase that day. This sales closing technique can work on ecommerce stores in the form of countdown timers for when a promotion starts or ends and limited-time offers like flash sales for a short period of time.

Takeaway close

With this sales closing technique, sales representatives take away a certain product, feature, or benefit in the hope that a potential customer will see the value in it. The takeaway close relies on reverse psychology to inspire prospects to close a sale. This technique works better for upselling to a potential customer who is already interested in a particular product or service. For example, you could share the exciting benefits of a premium software product only to take those benefits away in a cheaper version and highlight the quality of the more expensive product.

Summary close

The summary close is when a sales representative summarizes the key benefits of a particular purchase to drive home its value. By keeping the important information at the forefront of a prospect’s mind, sales representatives help prospects feel more comfortable concluding a sale.

Something-for-nothing close

This technique involves giving your prospect a free product, feature, or perk as a goodwill gesture so the gift will inspire a purchase. The something-for-nothing close is a win-win deal with customers receiving extra value from the gift and sellers making the sale. For example, a sales professional selling cosmetics could give customers free samples of perfume to encourage more sales of beauty products.

Assumptive close

Sales reps use positive thinking, acting as though the sale is inevitable. For example, this technique could involve queries like “What day works best for installation?” or “Which products would you like to include in your subscription box?” These types of assumptive questions can subtly nudge prospects toward a sale. Although this sales technique can make potential customers uncomfortable if used incorrectly, a confident and positive mindset can make a big difference when trying to close a sale.

Soft close

The soft close is a technique defined by closing a sale with a simple question that reiterates the benefits of a product and asks for the sale in a non-assertive way. For example, a sales representative selling workflow automation tools could emphasize time-saving benefits and ask if that aligns with a prospective customer’s productivity goals.

Alternative close

This sales technique closes sales by highlighting the quality of a product or service compared to the competition. For example, if a potential customer is hesitant about the price, you could suggest less costly competitor options for cost savings while emphasizing the features and benefits they will miss with those cheaper alternatives.

How to close a sale

  1. Identify qualified leads
  2. Communicate benefits
  3. Ask for the sale
  4. Address concerns
  5. Create a sense of urgency
  6. Use a combination of closing techniques
  7. Move the sale to the next step

Here are some basic steps you can take when closing deals:

1. Identify qualified leads

Make sure you and your sales teams are qualifying leads before approaching them. Generate high-quality leads by identifying which potential customers are most likely to buy your product or service, and therefore worthy of more time and energy from your sales team.

One of the most effective lead qualification strategies involves creating an ideal customer profile (ICP)—a detailed description of your ideal customer with information like age, location, income, and job title. With this information, your sales team will be on the same page about what types of prospects to pursue.

When qualifying leads, identify whether a prospective customer is a decision maker. A sales professional needs to find the right person to sell to based on their decision-making authority, especially when it comes to business-to-business sales deals.

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2. Communicate benefits

Approach qualified leads to communicate how your good or service can help with a prospect’s pain points. This part of the sales process can involve tactics like cold calls, emails, advertisements, websites, social media posts, and in-person meetings. Rather than focusing on product features, emphasize the benefits of what you’re selling.

For example, an ecommerce merchant selling stainless steel cookware could emphasize the health benefits of the non-toxic pans as well as the time-saving benefits of how easy they are to clean, rather than focus on the individual features of the pans. To close this deal, a sales representative must tout not just the product itself, but also how the product can improve a potential customer’s experience in the kitchen.

3. Ask for the sale

During the sales process, remember to directly ask for the sale. Even if you use a soft close approach, it’s important that you ask outright if the prospect is willing to make a purchase or else they might not feel inclined to finish the process. Whether it’s a question from a sales rep or a clear call to action on a website, persuade prospects to buy with an obvious request.

4. Address concerns

Be prepared to provide solid answers to any questions that prospects ask during the selling process. Explain pricing, delivery timelines, installation processes, product features, availability, warranties, and other important pieces of information that come up.

You’ll need to engage with a prospect’s objections, validate them, and provide helpful explanations to move closer to a sale. Keep a positive attitude and view objections as a good thing—it can mean that potential customers want to move forward with a purchase if their minds are put at ease.

5. Create a sense of urgency

Create urgency during the sales process by emphasizing your unique value proposition as well as the opportunity cost of going with a competitor. Use scarcity and urgency strategies like countdown timers, limited-time promotions, and urgent sales copy to inspire sales. As long as you avoid aggressive or pushy communications, subtle time constraints can move potential prospects along the sales pipeline.

6. Use a combination of closing techniques

Sales closing strategies can include different sales closing techniques. For example, you could start with a test-drive close and shift to the sharp-angle close once a prospect makes a request that you can accept as long as the prospect closes the sale right away. Familiarize yourself with the various closing techniques and see which combinations work best for the products or services you’re selling.

7. Move the sale to the next step

If a prospect chooses not to close a sales deal, accept it graciously and move on to your next qualified lead. If the sales closing is successful, follow up with a personalized thank you note or phone call.

Your sales team can also follow up with customers post-purchase to see how they feel about their purchase and provide customer feedback. Depending on how big your team is, the next step in your sales cycle could involve introducing customers to a customer success or customer support team that will ensure customer satisfaction.

Closing a sale FAQ

What is a closing technique in sales?

A closing technique is a method sales professionals use to encourage prospects to complete a sales deal.

What are the next steps to take after closing a sale?

Once a lead has signed on the dotted line, the next steps involve following up to thank them for their purchase, asking them for feedback, and introducing them to customer success or support teams that will handle future communications.

What should you avoid when closing a sale?

When closing a sale, avoid negative or aggressive communications that can push potential customers away. Other common closing mistakes include not listening well, not understanding a prospect’s needs, and not asking for the sale.

 

This article originally appeared on Shopify and is available here for further discovery.
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