15 Best Closing Techniques to Win (Almost) Every Sale
Of course, discovering sales techniques to add to your repertoire and 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.
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.