How to Close a Sale: 15 Sales Closing Techniques, Tips & Questions to Close Deals Faster
In theory, closing a deal is pretty simple: show up and deliver your pitch, answer your prospect’s objections, ask for the sale, then follow up until you get a definitive answer.
If the sales closing process were that simple though, you probably wouldn't be here, right? There's always a whole lot more nuance to the details of selling a particular product, service and especially when it comes to the people you're selling to.
In practice, closing a deal is more complicated than just following a formula—a hard fact I’ve learned through hours of closing (and attempting to close) sales. While there is an underlying process behind closing a sale, it’s as much an art as a science. In this guide, I'm going to teach you both.
How Do You Close a Sale? The Simplest Sales Closing Technique:
Now, to help you close deals faster, we'll look at our top sales closing techniques, examine what to say to your prospects, and cover the best closing phrases that'll help you close more deals.
How to Close a Sale (Step-by-Step Sales Process to Close Deals Faster)
As a salesperson (or founder driving sales), your sole purpose is to create clear outcomes: a "yes" or a "no"—but never a "maybe." Follow these steps to get your prospects to a definitive outcome as quickly as possible.
1. Identify the Decision-Maker and Start a Conversation
To effectively gather that right information, you need to speak with the right person—a decision-maker. Let’s walk through an example:
If you’re selling a tool for content marketers and experience tells you that the ultimate decision-maker on purchasing new tools like yours goes to a Head of Content Marketing or Director of Marketing, it does you no good spending time talking to an entry-level marketing person, copywriter, assistant, or member of another team entirely.
Having a little fun with this, if I wanted to reach out to a decision-maker in content marketing here at Close CRM, I’d start my outreach with the Head of Content, Ryan—based on the job title of my ideal decision-maker.
Is Ryan guaranteed to be my sales decision-maker with unilateral authority to purchase my tool? No, but experience gives me reasonable confidence—and that’s enough information to go off of at this stage.
The next step is starting the conversation. If you have a formal sales process, you’ll know which communication medium tends to be most effective for actually reaching your decision-maker. Should you send a cold email asking to book an exploratory call, or go directly to calling the company and asking for your decision-maker?
Next, you’ll need to quickly find (and verify) your decision-maker's email address by using a free sales tool like Hunter or one of our other top email finder tools, to ensure you actually reach them. Use email verification tools like Neverbounce to verify whether the email address is active.
Once you’ve confirmed the right email address for your decision-maker, it’s time to write a very short and direct cold email with one clear call-to-action: usually booking a call to discuss your solution in more depth.
Make it a crucial element of your sales training process to teach your reps to keep their eye on the next goal (booking a call), not the three steps ahead.
I also highly recommend putting automation into play using email sequences. This makes it easier to scale your outreach and find more qualified leads.
--> Looking to take the hassle out of cold emailing? Give our free AI-powered cold email generator tool a spin!
2. Accurately Qualify Your Prospects (and Their Pain Points)
Much of the real work in closing a sale is done in preliminary research and early conversations where you qualify prospects and determine whether they stand to benefit from your solution. If your prospect doesn’t fit your ideal customer profile, you shouldn’t waste time making phone calls or queueing up further email outreach campaigns—the opportunity cost of spending your time on unqualified prospects is simply too high.
Before following up with a potential prospect, make sure to answer crucial qualifying questions like:
- How well do they match your ideal customer profile?
- How big is their company?
- Which industry are they in?
- Where is this company located?
- What’s the ideal use case?
- Which tools have they used in the past?
- What kind of ecosystem are they playing in?
If the answers to these questions support what you know about your ideal customer profile, then they’re a qualified lead that could likely benefit from using your solution. Once you've done this, and know you've already connected with the correct decision-maker, it's time to prepare your pitch.
3. Pitch Your Solution (Not Just the Product)
Good sales reps know their product inside and out. Great sales reps transcend their understanding of the product by understanding how it will positively impact both their prospect’s business and their daily lives. Highly effective sales managers know this and teach their reps how to excel with the right pitch templates for a given scenario.
When you’re trying to sell your prospect based on features, you’re telling (not selling), and you’re not speaking their language. Never forget that your prospects care about tangible results, and how your product will create a solution to a problem their business has. That’s selling, and should be the focal point of a great sales pitch.
Here’s an example of telling vs selling.
Telling: "Our platform measures over 100 different metrics, charts, and graphs for your website including this, this, and this. Let me explain how each one works!"
Selling: "We have over 100 different metrics, charts, and graphs for your website on our platform. Which types of metrics are most important to you? What do you want to see?"
The difference between these approaches will signal to your prospect that you care about helping them solve their unique challenges, rather than signing up another customer to hit your quota. Not to mention, you’ll avoid wasting a lot of time over-explaining by getting straight to the point and learning how you can best help your potential customers.
Moreover, it’s important to be honest about who your product or service is best for when evaluating a potential sales deal. In our world of real-time access to every answer on the Internet, it doesn’t serve you to be dishonest during your sales process.
4. Create a Sense of Urgency
Offer your prospect something time-sensitive—that they actually want. This may incentivize them to commit sooner rather than later. This could be a discount on your service, something free, or anything else that lowers the bottom line or level of commitment.
This makes them feel like they have the upper hand and there's something to lose if they say no. Don't confuse this sales tactic with rushing your prospect—the last thing you want to do is pressure them into saying a firm "no" when there’s still an opportunity to strike a win-win deal. Instead, provide your potential customer with another reason why your product is the right choice for them—and that it's the right choice right now.
5. Overcome Their Objections
Along the path to closing any sale, you will field difficult questions, objections to certain features, pushback on pricing, and any number of other sales objections.
Here are some of the most common objections you’ll face:
- I don’t have the time
- I don’t have the money
- Your product is too expensive
- Please just email me more information
- We don’t need this at the moment
You need solid answers to these objections before getting on a sales call.
Anticipating and dealing with these objections is a natural part of your journey to close a sale, but it requires adequate preparation ahead of time—otherwise, you’re leaving your deal up to chance.
To prepare yourself for major sales objections in your space, start by listing the most common objections you face. Write concise answers to them, get feedback from others on your team, and rehearse the responses until you know them by heart.
6. Ask for the Sale (and Nail Your Closing Questions)
Perfecting how (and when) you ask the question, “Are you ready to buy?” is at the core of closing a deal in sales; yes, you’ll need to get comfortable asking it. As I’ve said before, the biggest mistake salespeople and founders can make is not asking for a sale. Countless case studies have made this clear over the years.
Even salespeople who’ve been actively selling for years sometimes wait too long to ask for the sale.
So, when is the right time to ask for the sale? The answer: before you think they’re ready.
If you’ve done your job qualifying your prospect, delivering your pitch, and still believe they’d be a good fit for using your product, ask for the sale.
Expect an initial no from most prospects, but build this into your selling process. You’ll often catch a prospect off guard, and they won’t immediately have a clear reason not to buy when you’re both on the same page about the value they’re getting.
Say something like, “Hey, it seems like you guys are a great fit. I’ve shown you how we’re going to solve your problems effectively. Are you ready to buy?”
If they say no, follow up with this question:
“What’s the process we need to go through to get you ready to buy?”
This smooth follow-up shows you’re confident in what you’re offering and willing to work with them to get to a place where saying yes makes sense. After all, closing a sale is always a two-way conversation.
Also, any objections they harbor will immediately come to the surface, giving you leeway to toss out your carefully prepared counters to their objections.
15 Best Closing Techniques to Win (Almost) Every Sale
It goes without saying that educating yourself in effective sales techniques will add to your repertoire as a sales pro. Testing which ones work best in your sales process, is a great way to get more potential customers to sign on the dotted line.
These 15 of the best sales closing techniques can help you evaluate any situation, and stop those firm "no" answers with your own great response.
1. The Assumptive Close
With the Assumptive Close, you firmly believe you will make this sale from the moment you put effort into it. The language you use throughout indicates that the sale is a "done deal." The key is checking frequently on your prospect, gauging their level of interest, handling objections, and determining if they're on the same page as you.
Why this works: Your confidence and positive thinking are contagious and make the prospect think the answer should be as obvious to them as it is to you.
When it works best: When you're working with familiar leads, and know the product is a perfect fit for the prospect’s needs.
When not to use it: When you have no relationship with your prospect, and hear repeated feedback that the solution doesn't make sense for them.
2. The Now or Never Close
Offer your prospect something that they can only get if they commit within a certain period (including today). This can include:
- This is the last [product] we have remaining
- Anyone who commits today gets a 15% discount
- If you sign up today, you can take priority in the implementation queue
- This price is only for a limited time until [date]
Why this works: The prospect now feels they are losing out on something, so if they will say yes eventually, it just makes sense to do it now.
When it works best: When you have the freedom to offer discounts (which isn't always a good idea!), and you're dealing with people whose main objection is that they don't have time to decide now.
When not to use it: When the prospect has made it clear your product would never work for them, or you can't offer a significant incentive.
3. The Takeaway Close
This concept is simple: if you've already laid the benefits on them, and they don't seem interested in certain aspects, take them off the table. Offer cost savings by removing product features they might not need, and see if they're more inclined to take the offer.
Why this works: Many people object simply because of the price. If you can counter that objection by removing things they don't need, everybody wins.
When it works best: When your platform is multi-tiered, and the prospect has made it clear that they have no use for certain features.
When not to use it: When the prospect doesn't seem to object to the price.
4. The Hard Close
Also known as the "Nothing to Lose Close," this tactic involves letting your potential customer become very aware that you are selling to them. You ask for firm commitments, when you can sign contracts, when you can expect to close the deal, when you can set up implementation—and anything else that gets them actually to sign now.
Why this works: Making what you want clear helps the person feel a little more at ease, and though they may not say yes, at least they will give you a firm answer so you no longer have to spend time following up.
When it works best: When you know you won't be getting the yes, and have no other options.
When not to use it: When you are still in the early stages of following up with your leads.
5. The Columbo Close
Remember the TV detective Columbo? His famous one-liner "Just one more thing..." has become a mantra for many talented sales professionals. After a suspect thought Columbo was done with them, he would put them on the spot while walking away by turning around and asking for 'one more thing.' Once you think the customer is ready to leave, this last-ditch sales strategy can make them stick around.
Why this works: Whether you're demoing a predictive dialer for sales teams or selling consulting services, hit them with the most enticing part of your sales pitch once they've indicated they don't want to listen much longer.
When it works best: When you haven't shown the main highlight yet, and you're pretty sure the prospect is on their way out.
When not to use it: When you've already bombarded and overwhelmed them with a long list of the benefits of your product.
6. The Summary Close
Take some time to summarize all the benefits of your product, and the main ways it would solve your prospect’s pain points. You can also use this to make distinctions between two or three possible options you're offering, to help remind your lead of what all their options are as they come closer to a purchase decision.
Why this works: Hearing all the benefits at once can seem more impactful than the 30 minutes you spent reviewing them.
When it works best: When you know your product is a good fit, and your lead needs a quick reminder of everything they agreed would work for them.
When not to use it: When your conversation has not been particularly long, or your main value points didn't seem impactful on your prospect.
7. The Puppy Dog Close
Based on the concept that people who walk into pet stores and hold puppies are more likely to buy them (due to their unbearable cuteness), you make your sale by letting your prospect try it out. Test drive a car, use a free trial, keep a product for a month, and so on.
Why this works: If they start using the product, theoretical benefits become reality, building trust in your product and making them realize they can’t live without it.
When it works best: When you have a product that allows for a trial period, and has features that aren't always easy to quantify over the phone/by email.
When not to use it: When your product can't be 'test driven,' or it doesn't have a great variety of features and benefits.
8. The Option Close
With this strategy to close deals, you offer your prospect a choice between two or more options, hoping they will choose one rather than saying no. Offering two pricing plans that suit their needs, tiered service levels with different features, or implementation earlier vs later, for example.
Why this works: With two viable options in front of them, a person is more likely to choose one, or even choose the cheaper option of two choices because it feels like they are saving money.
When it works best: When you have tiered service levels, and know your prospect would benefit from both.
When not to use it: When your offering is static, and you don't already have confirmed interest in your product's unique features.
Ready to reshape your sales approach? Explore the Challenger Sales Model with us.
9. The Sharp Angle Close
Some people hear sales pitches all the time, so they understand they have the upper hand in the discussion; they may ask for add-ons or discounts, knowing you expect them to. To deal with these seasoned negotiators, a sales expert can take them by surprise with the Sharp Angle Close.
If you have approval, give them what they want—but at a price: "Yes, I can offer you three months of service for 10% off—but only if you sign the contract today."
Why this works: You give them something you were already willing to, and in exchange, receive a firm commitment and make the sale instantly.
When it works best: When you're dealing with people who get sold to a lot, or who ask for incentives to sign.
When not to use it: When your prospect is not familiar with sales nuances and isn't asking for anything special or unique from you.
10. The Question Close
Asking your lead probing questions can force them to actually explain why something does or doesn't work for them. Ask them why you can't proceed with a shipment, why [x feature] wouldn't solve the customer’s needs, and so on. You may even have existing customer testimonials that back your solution up to this prospect.
Why this works: These kinds of closing questions give you a far better opportunity to explain why your product meets their needs.
When it works best: When your lead seems perpetually on the fence but isn't really explaining why they aren't interested.
When not to use it: When the prospect has clearly stated reasons for why aspects of your product don't work for them.
11. The Suggestion Close
Another 'hard close' tactic: In this conversation, you offer your opinion about what would work best. Offer firm statements that explain how "a shipment on Friday would solve that problem" or "if you sign a contract by [date], your onboarding would be well before the quarter end."
Why this works: When you offer firm solutions for their problems, you become a trusted consultant and salesperson.
When it works best: When you have a great (personal) relationship with your prospect, or you think they can be easily influenced.
When not to use it: When you don't know your lead well at all, or they are more of an expert in the field than you are.
12. The Backwards Close
This technique goes against almost all sales cycle training, but it has been known to work with certain types of leads. The method involves starting at the end—ask your lead for referrals rather than trying to sell something to them at the onset of the relationship.
Why this works: By recognizing that you aren't trying to sell to them, the potential customer will feel more at ease, and will be more open to listening to what you have to say.
When it works best: When you know the person, found their information through referral, or already indicated they have no interest in what you're selling.
When not to use it: When you're early in the sales cycle and have no reason to doubt your ability to make the sale.
Now that you know the top methods of closing sales, you've got the basic techniques down, and know when to use them, let's talk about building and modifying these formulas for sales in a way that works for your business.
13. The Soft Close
A soft close is a strategy where you let the prospect feel like they're guiding the sales process. Rather than outlining the sales process and pushing next steps, you might ask questions like "What would you like to do next?" or "Could you use a software that helps your sales team close deals faster?"
Why this works: By putting the prospect in the driver's seat, they feel more in control. This allows them to guide the process and feel more comfortable.
When it works best: When you have well-qualified leads that are familiar with your offering and likely to close or prospects who are wary of being sold to.
When not to use it: When dealing with unqualified prospects or leads that have no idea what you have to offer.
14. The Scarcity Close
The Scarcity close leverages our human instinct of FOMO – fear of missing out. By letting them know there are only so many products left or you can only onboard so many new clients, you push prospects to make a decision. Just be genuine; don't use false scarcity or risk breaking the prospect's trust.
Why this works: Increasing urgency encourages them to make a decision and close faster.
When it works best: When you have a truly limited product or service offering.
When not to use it: Early in the sales cycle or when you don't truly have a scarcity.
15. The Limited-Time Offer Close
Similar to the Scarcity Close, the Limited-Time offer uses the fear of missing out to encourage prospects to close. With the Limited-Time offer, however, it's all about not missing out on a deal or discount.
Why this works: Increasing urgency with a limited-time offer or special promotion encourages on-the-fence prospects to take the leap.
When it works best: Towards the end of the sales cycle when the prospect won't commit, even when you've addressed all their objections.
When not to use it: Early in the sales cycle or when a prospect has expressed legitimate objections you haven't addressed.
15 Closing Questions to Turn a "No" into a "Yes"
Exactly how you ask for the sale may differ depending on the potential sale you're dealing with. You also may want to start with more general B2B sales questions to better qualify your lead earlier in the sales pipeline.
However, if you know you're close to closing, try out these common sales closing questions that force your prospect to explain why they're holding back, so you can lead them to the deal--and improve your close rate.
- “What are all the steps we have to take to help make this deal happen?”
- “Are there any obstacles that could prevent this deal from happening?”
- “Based on what we’ve discussed, do you think our solution is a good fit for your needs? Why?”
- “When do you want to make a decision and begin implementing a solution?”
- "If I was able to throw in [incentive], would you consider committing today?"
- “When is the best date and time to schedule our next meeting?”
- "Is there any reason that you wouldn't do business with us at this point?”
- "If we could find a way to deal with [objection], would you be ready to make this deal happen next week?”
- “Taking everything into consideration, I think one of these two plans would work best for you. Would you like to go with [X] or [Y]?”
- "You mentioned needing a solution by [X date]. If you signed up by [Y date], I can guarantee we have enough time for training and implementation. How does that sound?"
- “Do you feel ready to move forward? I can send over the contract right now.”
- "What do you think a good next step would be to solve your current problems?"
- “Unless you have any more questions or concerns, I think we're ready to get started.”
- "Based on what you've said, it seems like our product is a good fit for you today. What do you think?"
- "On a scale of 1-10, how confident are you that our product will meet your needs?"
Remember, the goal of these closing questions isn’t only to close deals and get more potential customers in the front door. You’re also using these thoughtful sales closing techniques to ensure a potential client is truly qualified and a good fit for your product or service—otherwise, they may churn out of your business shortly after getting started.
Put These Sales Closing Techniques into Practice
The best way is to put these effective sales tips into practice by trying them out. Here's how to get started:
- Evaluate your sales process based on our sales closing process above.
- Choose the sales closing technique that resonates most with you and try using it on all of your prospects that reach the closing stage of your sales process in the next week.
- Rinse, repeat, and continue experimenting with these sales closing strategies until the right ones click and you feel comfortable asking for the sale.
One of the most under-appreciated and often subconscious aspects of closing deals is carefully choosing your interaction style with your prospects.
Now take these sales closing techniques and go out, and close some more deals!
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