For many salespeople, it's all about closing. Of course, there is a lot of work that precedes the conversion of a customer. But at the end of the process, closing is the goal.
And there are various phrases associated with closing that can be difficult to sort.
For instance, there’s the “summary close,” the “question close,” the “sharp angle close,” the hard close, and the soft close. Knowing the best sales tactics for your prospect’s needs and the right closing questions to encourage a purchase decision requires understanding your options and matching them to your particular situation.
So how do salespeople achieve this objective and close more deals? It involves many different skill sets and navigating a complex sales environment.
How Can You Close a Sale?
Closing a sale is the endgame for most salespeople, so it’s important to have a few tricks up your sleeve to help you get the job done. Here are a few of our favorite tips on how to close a sale.
1. Research Your Prospects
You may have more success coming into a deal relationship when you’re armed with knowledge about the potential client you are trying to convert and their company.
So much of the sales process, especially in B2B sales, is based on knowing things like:
- Customer pain points
- Size of customer business
- Business processes and how they can improve
- Purchasing constraints
All of this gets into the salesperson's hands through dedicated customer research.
2. Sell Individually, Not Universally
Here's why you should do all that research in the first place: customizing or personalizing sales is usually required to get reasonable conversion rates, which means it’s important to know everything you can about your prospect.
Broad sales closing techniques don’t have as much of a chance of achieving the end goal of closing. When you're not marketing to a specific customer or company, your sales appeal may not be well-targeted, and your audience may have (in general) less of an incentive to close with you.
3. Focus on the Customer, Not the Close
Many sales experts take this a step further and say that you should always focus on your customer, not the close of the deal.
This means that the salesperson shouldn’t be talking about closing the whole way through the deal. Instead, they should be taking the opportunity to learn more about the customer through active listening and helping to make their solutions more useful for that customer's business.
Of course, closing is a crucial part of the sales pipeline. You're aiming to get a signature on the dotted line with all your outreach, sales calls, and real-time efforts. Still, you’ll learn in sales training that effective sales are all about addressing customer needs and, more importantly, conveying that as your priority to your prospects.
4. Handle Objections and Try Again
Nothing, including sales, is always done successfully on the first try.
Giving up after the first failed attempt is a major mistake for any salesperson. It will significantly decrease their closing and deal-making numbers.
Instead, they should be returning to the drawing board and trying again, with tenacity and persistence, to get better numbers on the board.
Sales managers will spend a lot of time building a tolerance for rejection among their teams.
Outside of knowing the ins and outs of the service or product features you’re selling, learning how to convert fence-sitters into customers is one of the most valuable skills a salesperson can develop.
5. Create Loyalty by Solving Challenges
Taking that last tip a bit further, salespeople can learn more about the customer's business as they keep trying to convert a customer. Then they can start solving problems that the customer has.
Maybe they learned that significant delays in supply chain or hard-to-use tools are very frustrating for that customer.
If the sales rep figures out a solution, they're more likely to close a deal because they have something the customer wants.
This strategy can also help with the long-term challenge of building the customer relationships that people want.
What Are the Best Strategies for Success?
Beyond these five tips, there are a few strategies that you may want to consider as you progress in your sales career. Here are a few of our favorites.
Talk About Timeline and Budget
It's often easier to close a deal with complex numbers. The salesperson should know, for example, what the buyer’s timeline is and what they have budgeted for a particular purchase.
These kinds of deal details can be precious as well:
- Current needs
- Rate of scale for the customer business
- Constraints with inventory or shipping
That's not to mention other questions about the customer’s essential resources, like software and equipment, that they use to get their jobs done.
Look for Multiple Contacts
These sales closing techniques deal with the ‘gatekeeper’ problem. Suppose the salesperson has reached somebody at the client company, and they said no a couple of times.
Maybe the salesperson has a clue that these refusals are based on something other than actual need and that they might get further with somebody else.
Here's where multiple contacts are vital. If somebody is refusing a specific purchase, being able to target various people in the company can lead to a successful deal.
Ask for the Sale
Salespeople sometimes don't get the sale because they don't ask for it or approach it assertively.
There's something to be said for avoiding the tough sell, as it's likely to irritate or overwhelm a potential customer. But on the other hand, some experienced salespeople will say there's a place for the idea that ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’ and that the salesperson should be proactive.
Set Up Next Steps
This sales tip has to do with the sales funnel.
Most companies with any complex deal-making system have a sales funnel or pipeline. They're looking at the different points of contact that company reps make with potential customers over time and how those lead to a conversion.
There may be multiple follow-up stations in this funnel or pipeline, including inbound and outbound communications like:
- Phone calls
- Face-to-face meetings
- Teleconferencing meetings
- Sending literature or other information
- Sending trials or demos
The salesperson must constantly set up that next step in a sales cycle like this.
If not, the deal will likely falter and fail to close. Remember, the buyer doesn't necessarily have the incentive to keep the conversation going, but the sales rep does. Comprehensive sales software can help document steps in the process.
Ask for Referrals and Testimonials
This is a point where networking can be important in the sales process.
A referral means that you’re broadening your information base and your network. You might not get an initial sale, but the referral might lead to another sale. That can be valuable as the sales professional builds a better Rolodex and converts more deals. Solutions like AcuityMD identify Key Opinion Leaders who already use your products, and your prospects may be more likely to listen to them.
Think about Shadowing Professionals
Some things are best learned by watching someone else, and sales can be an example. You can learn a lot by following experienced people and seeing how they approach sales and closing.
Each person has strategies and techniques, but some follow standard guidelines and concepts.
Practice can help a developing salesperson develop their technique. Practicing a sales pitch is one element of that. But sales professionals can also practice those other processes, like networking, that help to support better closing rates over time.
What Are the Best Sales Strategies?
Here are some more techniques that sales reps can use to convert customers and close deals.
1. The Assumptive Approach
The assumptive approach to sales, or the assumptive close, assumes that the customer will buy and proceeds from that standpoint. It's not necessarily that you have to believe that everyone will buy — instead, the assumptive approach involves positive framing.
Some experts describe a process where the sales professional uses direct speech or asks positive questions that some might call leading questions in order to convert potential buyers.
2. The Now or Never Close
This one is pretty much what it sounds like – the sales professional or sales team member will tell the potential customer they have a limited time to get involved.
That sets up more of an incentive for the audience and helps with closing and converting leads and a sense of urgency that can be useful.
3. The Take-Away Close
In many ways, the take-away close is similar to the now-or-never approach. It assumes some limited-time offer or restricted opportunity that gives the customer more incentive for engagement.
4. The Option Close
Sometimes, it's helpful in the sales world to give customers options and hope they choose one.
Instead of saying, “Will you buy X product?” the options approach often opens up different avenues for a purchaser, such as “try it now and see later” or “buy a limited amount and increase that after you have tried the product.”
5. The Scale Close
The scale close is where the sales professional measures interest.
They might ask, “On a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to buy?” and then use that information to their advantage. It might also involve asking someone to rate the benefits of your product or other factors.
6. The Scarcity Close
This is where you’re trading on the customer’s FOMO or ‘fear of missing out’ by suggesting that solutions like the one offered are scarce. If you’re using this close, it can be helpful to discuss the uniqueness of your product and emphasize throughout the conversation that there’s nothing else like it on the market.
7. The Puppy Dog Close
No, this doesn't involve looking at a potential customer with puppy dog eyes and begging for a sale — although perhaps some salespersons have tried this route.
Instead, the puppy dog close has to do with offering the customer a trial, where they can test out a product or service. In other words, it's like bringing a new puppy home before you buy it to ensure it’s a good fit for your household.
All of the above can help ambitious salespeople go further in the sales world.
The Bottom Line
While it’s the most important part of the sales process, closing a sale can also be the most difficult. That’s why it’s important to have a selection of tips and techniques at your disposal that you can use to customize your approach with each potential buyer.
At AcuityMD, we understand what it takes to close a sale. That’s why we want to help medical device salespeople in other areas of the sales process, such as lead generation. Our software provides a database where medical device sales reps can easily locate prospects and draw out sales approaches for each potential client.