How to Close a Sale: 6 Tactics for Any Scenario

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Sales Tactics : 9 min read

How to Close a Sale: 6 Tactics for Any Scenario

You’ve spent time building rapport and a relationship with prospects. You’ve educated them on your product or service. Now it’s time to bring it all home.

Your company’s success hinges on your ability to close sales with prospects, which is why you can’t afford to leave this in their hands. Once they have the facts, you have to be prepared to ask for the sale.

Of course, that’s a lot easier said than done.

According to one report, 28% of sales reps say closing is the hardest part of their job, right after prospecting.

So, how does one close a sale (and do it without seeming too pushy or driven solely by your desire for a commission)?

Well, there are different approaches to help you close more sales with prospects. I’ll cover the following six in this post:

  1. The assisted close
  2. The assumptive close
  3. The natural close
  4. The urgent close
  5. The high-pressure close
  6. The custom close

Here are 6 approaches to use to close more sales.

The last thing you want to do is court your prospect through a lengthy sales cycle just to never pop the question. If you don’t come out and ask for the sale, you two could end up in a stalemate—which gives more attractive offers an opportunity to swoop in and steal your customer away.

As Lane Caruthers, an enterprise account executive for Zendesk, suggests:

“You have to be comfortable being uncomfortable. Sales reps go through a lot of uncomfortable things during a sales cycle. For example, taking advantage of silence when you break news about pricing. Let it sink in. Rambling on to justify the cost of your system won't help.”

The same goes for closing the sale, which is why you need a well-crafted approach ready to go. This means knowing exactly what to say and how to pivot the second there’s any hesitation from your prospect.

There are many different approaches to take—which one you go with depends on your personal communication style, the kind of product you’ve pitched, as well as your prospect’s personality.

Let’s look at each one:

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Seal the deal.

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1. The assisted close

The assisted close means that you ask your prospect, point blank, what it is you can do to close them. It might not be the most eloquent approach, but there are certain circumstances in which a gentler close makes more sense.

For example, say you’re dealing with a prospect working with a tight deadline. In this case, you might say something like:

  • “What can we do to move you into this home by the end of the month?”
  • “What do you need from me to sign this contract today and make our company the primary provider?”
  • “Do you see any deal breakers that would prevent you from working with us?”

The prospect's answer to these questions will tell you exactly what your next step needs to be to close the sale—before it’s too late.

Pro-tip

Close more sales.

Learn how to close more deals in this webinar on the seven habits reps need to cultivate to crush their quotas.

2. The assumptive close

Picture this: your sales pitch went super well. You assume it’s a done deal at this point, so you don’t want to give the prospect a moment to waver.

So, you spend time answering final questions and—without missing a beat—begin to walk them through the sale as if it’s already closed.

For example, our team might say something like:

  • “Okay, so let’s get this set-up before the end of the month. We’ll schedule your implementation and training for the 29th, in that case. Does that work for you?”
  • “What's your ideal go-live date? Believe you mentioned you need everything up and running by the time your new hires start at the beginning of next month, should we aim to do a kick off call mid-next week?”
  • “If you want all 10 team members to have access to the platform, you would be between the professional and business tier. Which option makes the most sense?”

See what all these examples have in common? They conclude the conversation with an action item for next steps—as if the customer has already said “yes.”

Though these are assumptive, they still end in a somewhat open way—if the prospect isn’t down to seal the deal, they’ll have to give you more reason than just a “no,” and you can still continue the discussion about how to get there.

Basically, the assumptive close makes it as easy as possible for the prospect to go along with your prompt and let you close the deal.

3. The natural close

When your prospect has been in sync with you this whole time and you know the sale is imminent, you could use the assumptive close. Or, you could make the transition feel a bit more natural and collaborative with a natural close instead.

To do this, you might say something like:

  • “Both packages look good, but you’ll probably benefit from our business tier because of the extensive reporting you need for your various sales teams.”
  • “Were there any last questions you had? If not, it's about a 5-minute process to get you activated and set you up with our onboarding team.”
  • “Let me just grab a copy of our contract. Who will be the contract owner again? I'll start drafting that up as you’re getting the account activated.”

Essentially, just go with the flow of the conversation. These are the “easy” sales.

4. The urgent close

When you sense that someone is on the fence, you can use the urgent close as a ploy to inspire immediate action when the price or availability suddenly becomes limited.

By highlighting the time restriction on the offer, you’ll be instilling a sense of urgency in your prospect to pull the trigger on the purchase.

An urgent close might sound like this:

  • “Just remember, this discounted price is only available until Friday.”
  • “We’re offering move-in specials to early applicants. Why don’t you apply today so you don’t miss out on this great offer?”
  • “I know you have other companies you’re considering. Just keep in mind that this offer is only available this week, so do let us know what you’ve decided as soon as possible.”

Just be careful. You don’t want to offer a discount in desperation—that would undervalue your product and make the chances of retaining customers won this way less likely.

If they’re just in it for the deal, they won’t value what you’ve sold them.

5. The high-pressure close

This is the most aggressive form of closing and isn’t typically recommended unless you’re dealing with a buyer who only responds to pressure.

You might say something like:

  • “Can I ask what’s holding you back from buying today? We identified how we are able to solve the critical issues your business is facing. The more you put this off, the worst these issues will get.”
  • “I’d hate to see your company have another unprofitable quarter in Q2.”
  • “I looked at the crime reports in your area and your neighborhood is the target of three times as many burglaries as the surrounding areas. It’s best not to go without this security system another day.”

This technique emphasizes the consequences that will happen if the prospect doesn’t purchase your product. A bit bleak, I know. Like I said, this technique should be used sparingly.

6. The custom close

Seeing as how you’ve spent enough time talking to the prospect and studying up on their needs, you could take a completely custom approach to the sale.

Use details you’ve learned along the way and craft a close that speaks directly to them.

It could go something like this:

  • “You’ve been uninsured for the last three years and, in that time, Mr. T [their dog] has been to the vet seven times. You’ve spent over $1,500 on those visits and anticipate even more as he’s now 10 years old. Why don’t we sign you up for the Standard Plan today and help you cut down on those costs?”
  • “It sounds like this would be a great fit for your new business, especially with those new hires you’re planning to bring in next year. How do you feel about signing that contract now?”
  • “You said you were interested in the 6-quart and the 8-quart. Since you’re planning to host Thanksgiving, the larger would be best. Do you want to talk this over with your family or are you ready to buy today?”

Remember: listen actively to what your prospect is saying so you can customize your closing statement precisely to their needs.

It’s similar to the natural close, only the whole active listening them is especially emphasized with this approach—you’re almost positioning yourself as a business advisor instead of a salesperson.

Before you even try closing a sale, determine if it can be closed.

We all know that closing a sale can be challenging. It also takes a lot of time and effort to “warm up” a prospect to be closed.

So, there are some main points I always try to identify in a deal to know whether it can be closed, so that we’re allocating our time and resources as productively as possible:

  • Is there a "compelling event" we’re working towards?
    • Work backward from there for your close plan. For example, if our prospect’s current CRM contract runs out on X date, then they’d need to set up Copper by that date—not the date that we need that contract signed.
  • Is there a solution fit?
    • This is especially important for larger deals. Before you get into pricing negotiations and other considerations, you need to figure out if it’s a good solution—pricing ultimately won't matter if your product isn't a fit.

      Before solution fit, you need to figure out: what pain is the client feeling? It's important to spend time doing discovery. What are the levels of users who will be using your product? What is the pain that this business is having right now? Ultimately, to have a positive impact on the business, you need to know the pain first.
  • Do they have the budget?
    • What's the sign-off process? For small businesses this doesn’t apply as much, but for larger companies, there are decision-makers and complex layers. If financials make sense and there’s a solution fit, what’s the process to get the contract signed?
  • Are there any red flags?
    • For example, do you have access to someone in power? Someone might be super interested—but do they have that all-important internal mandate and would they be able to introduce you to the decision-makers to get this done? Are they locked into a contract with another provider? Is this a priority for their business? Are they looking at other vendors?

Luckily, all of these things can be recorded into notes or custom fields in Copper to help you create a stronger pitch.

How to use Copper’s custom fields + Google Slides integration to close more deals:

(Feel free to skip this section if you’re not using Copper.)

With our Copper + Google Slides integration, all the information I went over above is recorded in Copper, automatically synced to the Google Slides file, and organized into really good-looking slides for when we're reporting on deals and opportunities.

Not only does this benefit our team and help everyone stay on the same page, but it also automatically gives us a detailed starting point to create more elaborate account plans.

Here’s an example:

example of automatically created sales pitch deck in copper crm
Copper lets you sync opportunity data to Google Slides presentation templates.

Here’s how to do it:

Create a fresh Google Slides presentation in your Google Drive. This will be your template for all your opportunity overview slides. In your Copper account, navigate to your settings > “Google Sync Settings” > “Show Merge Tags.”

showing custom merge tags in copper crm

A popup will appear. From it, copy all of the data fields you want to automatically sync with your Slides presentation:

custom data fields in copper crm

Once you’ve copied your desired fields, go back to your Slides presentation and paste them in:

google slides copper integration

Now that you’ve got your template set up, you can populate it with data from your opportunity records.

To do this, go to your Copper account > “Opportunities” > select the opportunity you’d like to create a presentation about > click the “+” next to “Files” > “Merge into Google Slides.”

merging copper data into google slides

You’ll see a popup that tells you how to Push Data into Slides. Click the “Browse Google Drive” button and select the presentation you created earlier:

browsing google drive

Go ahead and name your presentation. Then, click the “Create & Merge” button. This will create a copy of the Slides template you created originally and push the opportunity details into the merge tags:

pushing data into google slides

Going back to the opportunity record, you’ll now see a new file related to the opportunity—you can click the file to open the Slides presentation and see that the data that’s been synced to it. (You'll also be able to access all your presentations from your Drive.)

google slides synced to record in copper crm

Ta-da, you now have a document you easily share with the rest of your team whether it’s for a meeting or for putting together a team selling strategy.

Also, like I mentioned, this doesn’t have to be solely used internally either—it makes a heck of a good start to an account plan you can share with your client.

Final tips for how to close more sales:

There are two possible outcomes that happen after you ask for a sale.

They say, “No,” or “I’ll think about it.”

This is okay. You gave it everything you got and it isn’t personal.

But it doesn’t mean you should put this prospect on the shelf and walk away.

Steli Efti, the CEO of Close.io, explains his approach:

“I follow up as many times as necessary until I get a response… The key here is to actually keep following up. If someone tells me they're not interested, I leave them alone. But here is the kicker—if they don't respond at all, I'll keep pinging them until they do. And trust me, they always do."

The key thing to remember is that these messages should be about providing valuable information. That means taking off your “salesperson hat” and instead simply demonstrating that you understand the prospect’s woes and you’re reaching out because you want to help. These meaningful touchpoints won’t be forgotten and when the prospect does want to buy, they’ll know exactly who to call.

They say, “Yes.”

Ding ding ding! Fireworks go off and commission money starts falling from the sky.

Okay, not quite, but it’s still a pretty great feeling.

Communication shouldn’t stop once the ink is dry on the contract or the credit card payment is processed. Follow up, see how it’s going, and ask if you can be of any more help.

Continue to foster that relationship and prove that you’re their trusted partner or provider. You’d be amazed what a long way that’ll go to secure their long-term business (and your income), especially as loyal customers begin pushing referrals your way.

Lastly, a note on one-call closes:

A one-call close is when you can close the deal in a single call, usually right after the demo and within the standard 30 to 60 minutes.

Some ambitious reps might aim to have a few one-call closes every month. But while that's a good skill, often that causes a customer to make a rash decision—which makes the deal a high-churn risk.

The key to closing a sale: take detailed notes.

If, in the end, you do ultimately get a “No,” don’t take it personally. Note the lessons learned, new objections encountered, and apply them to your next pitch.

And if you receive a “Yes,” use this opportunity to improve all future close discussions. Every time you learn a new way to make your decision-makers say, “Yes,” add it to your list of approaches.

This way, you’ll have a more well-rounded and effective strategy to effectively steer discussions with future prospects and close the sale.