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Mastering the Art of Closing Deals—Strategies and Best Practices

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Closing is the main goal of every sales department. Most of the time, salespeople can close more deals by asking good questions, listening to their prospects, and understanding how their solutions solve real-world problems.

But sales is as much psychology as it is good old-fashioned business dealing. Effective salespeople know how to build rapport with prospects, handle objections effectively, and create urgency when closing to move prospects toward becoming customers. All of these goals become easier with the right deal-closing techniques.

The 8 steps to closing a deal 

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So, how do you actually close a deal? Your team’s specific closing process may vary according to the needs of your customers and the type of product or service you’re selling. But here are the eight steps most salespeople take to get prospects from qualifying to closing:

1. Identify decision-makers 

Hopefully, you’ve identified the key decision-makers in the deal before you get to the closing stage of the sales process—it’s better to know early on who will make the buying decision so you can include them in discussions. 

But if you haven’t yet, finding and communicating with those people is the first step to closing the deal. 

2. Send over your proposal 

Next, you’ll want to send these stakeholders the numbers. Decision makers need to know the final cost of your product before they consider buying. Be sure to factor in any special offers you’re giving them.

It’s also a good idea to provide potential buyers with multiple pricing options, which can help them feel like they’re choosing the best solution for their needs. Take the opportunity to explain your product’s benefits one more time and how it will provide value to your lead. 

3. Ask for the sale 

Never assume that your prospect will jump on the sale, even after you’ve been through most of the sales process with them. When you’ve walked through your proposal or quote, ask directly for the sale. 

You could include a call-to-action in your proposal that takes them directly to where they can finalize the sale by signing a contract, or schedule a follow-up meeting to review the numbers.  

4. Anticipate and prepare for objections

Your prospect may need additional clarification or reassurance before they take the leap, especially if there are multiple decision-makers involved or the sales process has been long and complicated. 

Prepare beforehand for potential objections and work out responses based on other common objections your business encounters. But when you get to this conversation, be sure to listen carefully and thoughtfully. The last thing you want is to make your buyer feel like you haven’t really heard their hesitations. 

Ask intentional questions to help draw out what could really be holding the prospect back. Examples include: 

  • What do you think would convince your manager to go with our solution?
  • Could you elaborate on your concerns?
  • From what I’m hearing, it sounds like you’re concerned about [objection]. Have I understood you correctly?

5. Address your prospect’s concerns

Make a list of what information your prospect still needs from you before they can make a decision, and be sure to compile it for them. If they still need to convince other decision-makers, it might be helpful to provide them with resources they can share.

Re-emphasize how your product is a good fit for their needs by elaborating on how it addresses their specific concerns.  

6. Prepare for negotiation 

Even if the prospect is a good fit for your product or service, you may still need to negotiate. Be prepared with an idea of what kind of offer you can make them, and be careful not to promise more than you can deliver. You may be able to reframe their concerns and turn their objections into opportunities. 

7. Use the right sales closing technique 

The sales closing strategy you use makes a significant impact on how your prospect reacts to your ask. Different techniques will work better for different types of prospects, so ensure you’ve determined what needs, problems, requests, and obstacles your prospect has so you can address them individually. 

Check out the deal-closing techniques below for examples of different strategies you can use.

8. Follow up 

Finally, it’s important to follow up with your prospect after the sale. Whether they’re going into your onboarding pipeline or venturing out on their own with your product, showing that you’re invested in their success goes a long way toward customer retention. 

You can use several different sales follow-up strategies depending on your customers’ needs. Email automation is a particularly effective follow-up method that keeps you connected to your prospects and saves you time.

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13 sales strategies for closing more deals

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There are many techniques out there for closing sales. The right one may depend on your company, product, prospects, and even situation. Check out these 15 closing strategies you may want to use when talking to leads:

1. Summary close 

The summary close summarizes your product’s benefits and how they will solve your prospect’s needs. By describing these values all at once and tying them in with your prospect’s needs, you deliver a powerful argument for buying your product. 

The summary close technique can be particularly useful if you’ve discussed many features and benefits with your prospect during the conversation. 

Try it: So with this property, you’re getting everything on your wishlist: four bedrooms, three bathrooms, an in-ground pool, and a newly remodeled kitchen. You’re also only a short 15-minute drive to work and within 30 minutes of the beach. Are you ready to sign the contract today?

2. Assumptive close 

This closing technique uses the power of confidence to project the outcome you’d like for your lead. Use your words, attitude, and body language to show that you’re totally confident in your product’s ability to solve your lead’s problems—and they may just start believing it too.

Try it: How soon would you like your new equipment delivered? Does Tuesday work for you, since you said it’s typically the restaurant’s slowest day?

3. Question close 

Questions are always a powerful way to get prospects thinking about how your solution works and coax them further along the buying journey. With the question close strategy, questions become an even more important way of summarizing what your prospect is learning and thinking so you can align on your product. 

Effective use of the question close can even help develop interest and commitment in the buyer throughout the sales process. By asking yes or no questions that gauge your prospect’s intentions, you can determine what actions to take next to help them make up their mind.

Try it: Does it look like what we’re offering will solve your problem? Is there any reason why we can’t send the shipment over to you this week?

4. Urgency close 

A sense of urgency is an important tool in closing deals. This technique utilizes the psychology of time pressure to build motivation. Salespeople using the urgency close provide a special offer that prompts immediate action to encourage a sale.

When using this strategy, be honest and avoid creating false urgency that could mislead prospects. 

Try it: We’re offering 20% off sale through the end of the week. Take all the time you need to consider your options, but remember that you have three days to take advantage of this sale.  

5. Puppy close

Pet stores use this closing strategy all the time. When you can pet and play with a puppy before you buy it, you’re more likely to fall in love and take it home. The same holds true for trying a product or service.

If you can, offer your prospects a trial of your product or services—for free or at a discount—to encourage them to buy. You’ll come across as confident in your solution’s ability to solve their problems and meet their needs.

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6. Soft close 

The other closing techniques on this list are referred to as “hard close” strategies because they lead the prospect directly into a sale. With the soft close technique, you demonstrate your product’s benefits to the lead, then ask low-pressure questions to determine the prospect’s interest. 

Try it: What if there was a solution that reduced your shipping costs by as much as 30%? Would you want to know more about it?

7. Alternative close 

If your prospect is considering between two or more options, the alternative close strategy might help them decide between them. With this technique, you summarize each of their options to give them a clear picture of what they’ll get with each one—and what they’ll pay. 

The alternative close works well because it makes prospects feel like they’re in control of the deal. But the secret is that with the right touch, you can direct your prospect toward the option you want them to buy by highlighting its benefits.  

Try it: You can choose the basic plan, which costs $20 a month and offers our essential features without additional services, or the expert plan, which costs $32 and provides enhanced capabilities plus free onboarding and support. 

8. Special offer close 

Few things encourage a sale like feeling as if you’re the only one who’s getting it. Exclusivity can be a powerful motivator in sales, and that’s what the special offer closing technique hinges on. 

With this strategy, you provide your prospects with a unique offer that makes them feel special and incentivizes them to take advantage of the deal. 

Try it: I discussed what we can offer you with my manager and she approved a 20% discount for your first three months. Would that help seal the deal?

9. Opportunity cost close

Salespeople use this closing technique to let prospects know they could lose some significant benefits if they don’t go with your solution. This strategy works well if your lead is facing significant pain points and is putting a deal on hold. 

The opportunity cost close strategy should be specifically tailored to your buyer’s needs. Use your notes from previous conversations to hone in on what problems they really need solving—and how your solution can help them.

Try it: I know you’ve been struggling with [negative outcome] because you lacked the right [solution], which is holding your company back from achieving [positive outcome]. Would you like to avoid [negative outcome] by taking the next steps? 

10. Objection close 

This type of close is helpful when you’re unsure why your prospect is stalling the sale. By asking them to pinpoint their hesitation, you get closer to the root of the issue and can help ease their mind. 

This strategy works well because it prepares you to handle common objections, which you’re likely to encounter with many of your leads. Develop a game plan ahead of time for handling common objections about price or time so you can provide a seamless answer.

Try it: Is there anything that’s holding you back from signing a contract with us today?

11. Just one more thing close

This closing technique is almost a last-ditch effort to surprise your prospect with additional features or offerings that might tip the scales in your favor. When they’re hesitating and seemingly about to back away from the sale, get their attention with “Just one more thing” and then re-pitch your product from another angle or with a different spin. 

Try it: And just one more thing—we also offer free system inspections for the two years after installation, something you won’t find from anyone else in the industry.  

12. Ownership close 

The ownership closing technique is similar to the assumptive close, as it uses confidence and positivity. This technique helps prospects visualize themselves being successful with your product. 

Use the ownership close when you can demonstrate with metrics or case studies that your solution brings real value to your customers.

Try it: When you use our solution, you can see higher sales that start paying for the cost of the product within three months. 

13. Competitor close 

Many sales reps are hesitant to bring up competitors early on in the sales process, for good reason. You want your product or service to stand on its own, not be in constant competition with alternatives in your lead’s mind. That said, it’s important to recognize where you stand in relation to competitors. You can even use this approach in your closing. 

If you know a prospect is coming from a competitor or considering other options besides your solution, you can address what makes your solution better than competitors. Does your strength lie in your number of features, cost-to-value ratio, service and support offerings, experience, or something else?

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Best practices for closing deals 

Armed with the deal-closing techniques outlined above, you’re well on your way to closing more deals. To help you be even more successful, here are a few best practices to follow to give your prospects the best chance of closing:

Use the right phrases 

When closing a sale, there are a few key phrases that can help you convert your lead:

  • What concerns or questions do you have?: This phrase assumes that your prospect has questions or objections, which gives them an opportunity to surface them so you can address them proactively. 
  • What other information do you need before making a decision?: If the prospect still needs information about your solution to present it to their decision-making team, you need to know so you can provide it. 
  • Here’s how our product addresses [specific business need]: Tailor your presentation of your product to your prospect’s unique needs and pain points. This demonstrates that you understand your lead’s business.
  • When would you like to start implementing our solution?: Assume that the prospect will close with you and use phrases that look forward to a future partnership to prompt action. 

Practice using different techniques

It’s also helpful to practice using the different sales strategies outlined above on different customer segments until you find an approach that works best. Practice different strategies on the same customer segment, change when you use specific phrases, and ask for feedback from your team to learn from their experiences, too. 

Tailor your strategy to the prospect and situation 

While it’s helpful to have experience using a variety of closing strategies, it’s even more important to use the right one for the prospect and their unique situation. Use your customer segments and notes from early talks with prospects to determine what approach would resonate best with each one. 

Know when to walk away

If you’ve invested time and energy into a prospect, you may want to pursue them until they say yes. But sometimes, it’s a better idea to walk away. 

Some examples of times you shouldn’t close the deal are when you know your product won’t actually solve their problem or your point of contact doesn’t have full buy-in from the other decision-makers. Make sure all your prospect’s needs are met before asking for the sale.

Take advantage of certain tools 

There are all kinds of platforms and tools available to help sales teams close more deals. Tools like a customer relationship management system (CRM), sales reporting, email marketing platform, and more can all help your team reach and convert more leads.  

Why am I not closing deals? 

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Struggling to turn your sales opportunities into customers? These common mistakes may be to blame:

1. You may not know your prospects well enough

If you’re having trouble closing deals, the first question to ask yourself is whether you understand your prospects and their needs. You could have the best sales strategy in the world, but it won’t do any good if you’re using it on the wrong prospect.

It’s important to create customer segments that accurately reflect the prospects coming through your funnel so you can tailor your messaging and sales approach to their needs. Spend some time researching your current customers and deals in your pipeline and creating customer profiles. 

You’ll need to know details that might be relevant to how you approach your closing conversation, like:

  • Customer demographics 
  • Firmographics 
  • Budget 
  • Business goals
  • Specific pain points

When you’re talking with a prospect, you can determine which customer segment they fall into based on their characteristics and needs and choose your closing strategy accordingly.  

2. You might be too focused on your product

This sounds counterintuitive—after all, shouldn’t you share as much information as possible about the product you’re selling to convince the prospect to buy? That’s rarely the best approach. 

Prospects want to know how your product is going to solve their problems. They’re not interested in hearing all about features they’ll never use, or add-ons that are far out of their budget. In fact, if you spend too much time focused on features that don’t appeal to them, prospects could walk away far sooner than you’d like.

The key is focusing on the prospect, not on your product. Use empathy and listen closely to your potential buyer, then shift your mindset to focus on meeting their needs, not singing your product’s praises. 

3. You’re not managing your time effectively 

Another reason you may be experiencing challenges getting leads to close is that you’re letting too much time slip by in between meetings and follow-ups, or by not prioritizing leads correctly. 

If you wait too long after a pitch to follow up, you risk fading out of your prospect’s mind—or being replaced by a more proactive sales rep. Stay ahead of your opportunities by setting reminders for yourself to follow up or send more information to your prospects and always scheduling your next steps in advance. Doing so helps keep the ball rolling toward a sale. 

That’s why using a CRM with next-action selling baked in can bring so much value to your business. Using next-action selling to plan your perfect sales process can help your team stay on top of every activity and task they need to complete to advance leads to close. 

You should also be sure to use an effective lead scoring system so you always know which leads need your attention first. 

4. Your closing techniques could use some work 

Finally, you might also need to develop your sales skills to become more comfortable with certain techniques. You can practice in your personal life or with a colleague, and it never hurts to ask for feedback or help from a sales manager. After all, the better you become at closing, the more successful your company will be. 

Frequently asked questions about closing deals 

Still have questions about how to close more deals? These FAQs might provide the answers you’re looking for: 

How can I get better at closing deals?

You can improve your closing skills by practicing closing techniques with your sales manager or other team members, researching new closing techniques, and taking advantage of sales resources like podcasts, books, and other courses that teach better closing skills.

How do I close deals faster? 

One way to close deals faster is to create a sense of urgency for your prospects by offering limited-time offers. You can also do more to prepare for the sale by creating or compiling sales resources and automated email sequences you can send to prospects to keep them engaged and help them make a buying decision.

What should I do after closing a deal? 

After you close a deal, you should be sure to log the sale in your CRM This will help your team improve sales forecasting and track key sales metrics. You should also make a smooth transition from sales to success by introducing them to your customer success team so they can begin onboarding. Finally, be sure to follow up with the customer soon after they purchase so you can address any issues or direct them to someone else who can. 

Close more deals with Nutshell

Closing deals is a skill that you can improve with practice and learning. And the tools you use can also go a long way in helping you understand your prospects and fulfill their needs. 

With Nutshell, your team is empowered with the CRM tools it needs to track leads, automate outreach, provide leads with the best possible experience, and close more sales. With features like sales automation, team collaboration, reporting, pipeline management, and artificial intelligence, Nutshell helps businesses across industries sell more and better.

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