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10 of the Best Sales Closing Techniques

10 of the Best Sales Closing Techniques

A customer - centric sales strategy is the centerpiece to the most effective sales closing techniques. It allows salespeople to help their leads get what they want, build s trusting relationships, and can increase sales in the process.

When a salesperson closes a sale, they’ve successfully turned a lead to a customer. The new customer has signed the bottom line, and there’s a promise of a relationship between the customer and the company.

To be successful, salespeople have to close deals. However, is the directive to “always be closing” accurate?

In 1992’s Glengarry Glen Ross, a character named Blake, portrayed by Alec Baldwin, speaks to a sales team. He proclaims, “Only one thing counts in this life. Get them to sign on the line.” He stares them down. “ABC. Always be closing.”

Most sales teams don’t employ the scare tactics portrayed by Alec Baldwin. They do, however, follow the ABC sales strategy. Put simply, this strategy has a two-pronged approach:

  • Everything a salesperson does should be with the goal of propelling a lead through the sales funnel as quickly as possible. This means salespeople rely on high-pressure sales tactics.

  • Unsure, slow-moving, or stalled leads should be abandoned. That way a salesperson can focus all their energy on “better” prospective customers.

This technique, as heralded in the 1992 movie, implied that the company was most important; the customer was a means to an end.

From Company-Centric to Customer-Centric

The world of sales has changed a lot since 1992. Customers today are wary, and they have the power to choose the companies, products, and services that are right for them. Leads today often do their own research and comparisons, relying on information from objective third parties. When it comes time to work with a salesperson, 78 per cent of business buyers say they want to work with salespeople who act as trusted advisors.

As a result, salespeople spend less time pushing customers into deals and more time building relationships with them. In fact, 78 per cent of salespeople say listening has an extreme or substantial impact on converting a prospect into a customer. This is followed closely by building a personal rapport, which 71 per cent of salespeople say impacts the close of a sale. They use touchpoints and relationships — which Blake would have scoffed at — to focus on the needs of their prospective and current customers.

Listening and building a rapport means salespeople are prioritizing their relationships with customers. Now, the customer is what’s most important. The company is there to improve the customer’s life.

The Best Sales Closing Techniques Put Customers First

A customer-centric strategy isn’t about the products, services, the business behind them, or the sales team. It’s about helping customers find the best, most impactful solutions to their problems and providing a fully positive experience. Companies that put their customers first strategically use “data and feedback to continually improve every aspect of a customer’s experience” with the company.

This mentality greatly affects closing sales techniques. Putting leads and customers first helps salespeople build relationships naturally and with built-in trust. It inspires an entirely different brand of effective sales closing techniques.

10 of the Best Sales Closing Techniques

Each of these closing sales techniques can be used throughout the relationship to help a lead progress in their customer journey.

  1. Personalize the journey.

  2. Do the research.

  3. Ask questions.

  4. Embrace technology.

  5. Meet “face to face.”

  6. Be enthusiastic.

  7. Tell a story.

  8. Get hypothetical.

  9. Offer a “test drive.”

  10. Don’t beat around the bush.

1. Personalize the Journey.

72% of business buyers expect companies to personalize engagement to their needs. This means creating interactions between the company and consumer based on data and the lead’s actions, needs, and wants. Customer-centric sales teams manage targeted, relevant customer journeys for all their leads, from lukewarm to hot, and recognize when a lead isn’t meant for their particular products and services.

Personalization is an effective sales closing technique because it helps ensure a company is a good match for a lead’s needs. After all, when the customer journey, marketing materials, and product benefits fit a lead’s profile, the relationship benefits both the company and the customer. With this level of personalized attention, companies demonstrate that customers are valued.

2. Do the Research.

When something has value, the people around it know it well and treat it well. This is why data-driven client profiles are so important for salespeople. Data gathering, analytics tools, social media, online forums, and personal interactions all help sales teams understand what individual customers want. Try to form a complete picture of each lead’s situation, and collect the data in one place for a single source of truth.

3. Ask Questions.

Salespeople need to get to know their leads and customers. This is part of researching them, but also part of building that relationship and finding out how a product or service can actually help. Document their answers and ask relevant follow-up questions to get the full picture. During discovery calls, top B2B sales performers ask leads 11 to 14 questions, such as:

  • Are there research sources in your area you tend to trust more than others?

  • What are the metrics that matter to your company?

  • How do you keep on top of it all?

In asking relevant questions, using active listening, and showing a genuine interest, a salesperson can foster trust and show empathy. Questions help salespeople uncover the right product or service for the lead’s needs, which they can then earnestly share with the lead — not as a pitch, but as a specific solution to a specific problem.

Then, when the time is right, the salesperson can turn their questions into a sales closing technique by guiding the lead directly to the bottom of the funnel. One option: “How could a firm like ours help?” It takes finesse, but these questions can finalize the deal and leave both the salesperson and new customer feeling empowered.

4. Embrace Technology.

Companies must use technology to effectively manage leads and customers. Keeping the specifics of each relationship organized, updated, and immediately available is what CRM technology was built to do. It also takes all the data and makes it easy to run reports, qualify leads, manage automated touchpoints, and see where a lead is on their customer journey. CRM lead profiles ensure that salespeople always know an individual lead’s personal preferences, customer history, and what solutions they need. A CRM solution with predictive AI also helps sales teams close deals faster, as high-performing sales teams are 4.9 times more likely to use AI than underperforming teams.

5. Meet “Face to Face.

It can be easy to remember people as a collection of words in an email thread or a voice on the phone. Plant the seeds for a more impactful client relationship by meeting your leads face to face, whether it’s a virtual meeting or one in person. Meeting customers in person or connecting with them virtually are the two tasks salespeople spend the most time on in an average week.

Meetings can show that a salesperson values a customer’s time and vice versa because they want to invest their undivided attention on the other person. It personalizes the interaction and helps make sales closing techniques more organic and honest.

6. Be Enthusiastic.

One of the most effective sales closing techniques is for a salesperson to wholeheartedly believe in what they’re selling. Know the products and services inside and out. Understand the unique selling proposition (USP) and how other customers have benefitted from their purchases and investments.

When a potential customer feels the excitement a salesperson has for their products or services, they’ll feed off that energy. Salespeople need to show leads just how much earnest confidence they have in what they’re selling, and how it can help the prospect. Genuine, positive responses go a long way in closing sales techniques.

7. Tell a Story.

There’s a reason that good storytellers are valued in almost every culture: Stories told well create a connection. They create empathy. Listeners become emotionally invested in the hero, the conflict, and the resolution.

Salespeople who weave an engaging narrative can build better relationships and will likely stick out in a lead’s memory. Cathy Salit, CEO of Performance of a Lifetime, recommends telling stories in which the client is the hero. This sales closing technique revolves around ending with a powerful call to action, whether it’s to schedule a future meeting or sign the contract. Keep in mind, however, that this story can be told over the course of multiple emails and meetings, or in one fell swoop. It all depends on the lead and their relationship with the salesperson.

8. Get Hypothetical.

If a story isn’t the right tactic, a hypothetical situation may be better for helping a lead picture an outcome.

Sometimes the only thing keeping a lead from closing is an easily addressed concern. In this case, the salesperson could put the potential customer in a hypothetical scenario. Using the research compiled on the lead and what they know about their offerings, a salesperson can get to the bottom of a lead’s reluctance to sign.

When using this technique, a salesperson needs to consider whether they want a one-word answer or an explanation. If/then questions can work wonders, and may be an effective step in closing the sale. They can give the lead clarity. Because 79 per cent of business buyers agree that it’s easier than ever to take their business elsewhere, they know they have options. With a hypothetical situation, a salesperson can help the lead picture their option as the best one.

9. Offer a “Test Drive.

Imagining how effective a product or service could be is one thing; experiencing it is something else entirely. Samples help retailers increase sales, but services, business software, and other “unsamplable” offerings can still get a test drive with a little creativity and effort.

Whether it’s a demo, a dummy account, or the opportunity to witness a company’s services in action, a salesperson can monitor the experience, ask questions, and get feedback. Test drives can be one of the most effective sales closing techniques because they answer so many of a lead’s questions or inspire informed new questions. The salesperson should be available to answer those questions, highlight the advantages of the product or service, and issue a call to action once the demonstration is over.

10. Don’t Beat Around the Bush.

There are leads who need to be guided through every step of the process, including committing to the sale. When a more forward approach to closing the sale is required, a salesperson can:

  • Ask exactly what it would take for them to close the deal

  • Suggest related products or services

  • Follow up as often as necessary to ask, straightforward, if the lead is ready to sign the dotted line.

Sometimes a lead is not ready to commit right away, but may be interested at a later time. When a salesperson has done their part to build a good relationship, they’ll be the one the lead contacts.

With Customer-Centric Strategies, Closing Comes Naturally

Always be closing — ABC — may seem like a powerful, confident way to approach leads and prospects. The reality, however, is that the words “powerful” and “confident” put the emphasis in the wrong place. High-pressure sales and scare tactics aren’t the effective sales closing techniques that seemed to work so well a few decades before. They only lead to short-term gains, customer attrition, and potential long-term damage to a brand’s reputation.

A customer-centric sales strategy is the centerpiece to the most effective sales closing techniques. It allows salespeople to help their leads get what they want, ensures salespeople and their clients build trusting relationships, and can increase sales in the process. That means a salesperson will always be closing, even if their focus is on the customer, not the deal.

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