How to Close a Sale: 10 Proven Techniques that Work

Written by Patricija Šobak


So you’ve qualified your leads, had calls with potential clients, and sent out follow-up emails. But if you’re still left wondering how to close a sale, you’re not alone. In fact, 36% of sales professionals say closing is the hardest part of their job.

Seeing that sales are imperative for company revenue, sales pros everywhere have their jobs cut out for them. Luckily, there is more than one way to seal the deal – and we’ve gathered them all in one place. So, next time you’re not sure how to close a sale, take a look at the following techniques that actually work.

Ask more questions

The key difference between a successful and unsuccessful sales professional is in preparation. With as little as 3% of people trusting sales reps, saying that the profession doesn’t have a great reputation would be a huge understatement. However, starting your sales cycle on the right foot and winning your prospects’ trust is as easy as talking less and listening more.

Apart from helping you qualify your prospects, asking questions about their goals and pain points leads to more sales success. For example, if your client tells you their current CRM isn’t working for them, ask why before giving them a solution. That way, your prospects feel heard and trust your suggestions more.

how to sell with questions statistics
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Use language wisely

When it comes to closing a sale, it’s not just what you say, but how you say it. According to research, the following phrases lower your chances of closing the sale by as much as 22%:

  • Show you how
  • Discount
  • We provide
  • Contract

In addition to that, overusing filler words also negatively impacts your chances of sealing a deal. While you might not even notice you’re using them, research has shown that they make you seem nervous and unprepared. That said, completely taking all filler words out of your sales calls would be downright impossible. Instead, it’s more a matter of quantity – some fillers here and there make you sound natural. But if your every other word is a filler, it makes you come across as less knowledgeable than you actually are.

common filler words in sales graph
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Be persistent

Seeing that only 2% of sales happen at the first meeting, following up is crucial for winning more business. That said, as much as 44% of salespeople give up after only one follow-up call. The reason for this is almost unanimous: they don’t want to be pushy. Considering that being too “salesy” or too pushy are the most common objections towards sales reps, we can’t really blame them.

Yet, the irony in all this is that more follow-ups also mean higher chances of closing a sale. As a matter of fact, the same research shows that checking back in with your prospects five or more times increases your conversions by a whopping 80%.

When it comes to email, statistics show a similar trend. Around 70% of salespeople send one email and call it a day, but sending just one more increases your chances of hearing back by 21%. In addition to that, as much as 80% of people prefer talking to a sales rep over email rather than having a call. So, if you’re having problems reaching your prospects, consider following up via email.

Choose the right time

Being in the right place at the right time is one of the most important factors in closing a sale. In fact, 42% of people said that they are more likely to make a purchase if the sales rep calls back at a scheduled time.

So, instead of trying to contact your prospects at arbitrary times throughout the day, agree on a specific time when you’ll meet. That way, you’re ensuring that your prospects are not distracted and that you’re getting their full attention.

Use the power of referrals

Seeing that 92% of consumers trust recommendations by people they know, the best way to sell is through referrals. As a matter of fact, a prospect is four times more likely to become a customer if they hear about you through a friend. In addition to that, referrals can do wonders for both conversions and customer retention. Research has shown that they:

  • Make up 65% of companies’ new deals
  • Help B2B sales see 70% higher conversion rates
  • Boost your retention rate by 37%
  • Increase your customers’ lifetime value by 16%

That said, referral selling requires a lot of work. In order to get recommendations from your existing customers, you need to put time and effort into creating relationships. But it doesn’t stop at being on good terms with your existing clients – you’ll also need to ask for them to refer you. Without this step, you won’t be able to track your success rates. And if you’re afraid of getting a “no”, consider giving your clients some incentive. For example, you can offer them early access to a new product or feature when they send new deals your way.

selling through referrals
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10 techniques to help you close more deals

While all of the above sounds good in theory, you might be wondering how it translates into practice. Truth be told, sales techniques aren’t a new concept, but some do work better than others. That’s why we’ve gathered ten of the best ones based on different types of situations you may find yourself in.

1. Present it as a done deal

When you know your lead well and you’re sure your product can benefit their business, the only thing left to do is make them see it as well. You can do that by showing your prospect that you’re confident you have the perfect solution for their needs. As a result, your solution becomes the obvious choice in your prospect’s mind.

That said, keep in mind that this approach only works with prospects with a high level of interest. If you have a lead with reservations who isn’t on the same page as you, it’s best to stay away from this technique.

2. Create a sense of urgency

If you’re dealing with leads who claim they don’t have time to make a decision when you reach out, you can easily get stuck in a never-ending “maybe later” loop. The easiest way to prevent that? Offering a deal for a limited amount of time. Depending on whether you’re selling a product or service, this includes:

  • Mentioning you’re running out of stock
  • Setting a time limit on the proposed price
  • Giving them a better deal if they sign up on the same day

It might be one of the oldest tricks in the book, but it still works. Since your prospect now feels like they might miss out on an opportunity, they’re more likely to commit. If you’re not convinced, just remember how much shopping happens on Black Friday as opposed to a regular Friday.

3. Take extras off the table

Often, the only objection a prospect has is the price. Let’s say you’re selling a SaaS product. You’ve already explained all the benefits, but your prospect simply isn’t interested in certain features. The simplest solution to this is to hop on your business phone system and offer savings by taking those features off the table (if you can).

That way, your client isn’t paying for extras they don’t need and you’ve closed another deal. It’s a win-win situation.

closing a sale
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4. Show them what they could have

This technique is based on showing your prospect what life could be like with your product, but not asking for a commitment right away. In other words, you let your prospect try out the product before buying. Assuming it changes their life for the better, they don’t want to give it up after the trial period, so they buy it.

However, keep in mind that, depending on what you’re selling, using this approach can backfire. If your product doesn’t bring enough value to the prospect, you might end up losing them forever.

5. Act like you have nothing to lose

The only time you should use this approach is when you think you won’t be getting a “yes” anyway. At the end of the day, it’s better to put all your cards on the table than waste time trying to sell to a lead who doesn’t seem interested at all.

While asking them to sign a contract might result in losing them, at least you’ll get a definitive answer. That way, you can redirect your attention to the leads that have a higher chance of converting.

taking a risk to close a sale
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6. Sum it all up

While going over all the benefits your solution offers to your prospect, take note of the ones they specifically said would work for them. That way, you can take some time to summarize all the key selling points at the end of your conversation.

For the prospect, hearing all the benefits at the same time is more impactful than when they’re spaced out throughout the call. This approach works well only if you had a meaningful conversation with your lead, though. If your solution can’t make a significant difference or the call simply wasn’t informative, it’s best to stay away from it.

7. Try giving more options

Sometimes, giving your prospect a choice between two or more options can turn a “no” into a “yes”. For example, if you offer service plans with different features and your client could benefit from two of them, you can present them both.

At this point, you’re basically hoping they’ll choose one, rather than none. That’s why using this approach is very similar to the “nothing to lose” tactic. Even if the prospect chooses an option, chances are it will be the cheaper one, so tread carefully.

8. Agree to their terms

Every once in a while, you’ll find yourself talking to a person who gets sold to, a lot. Since they know what the conversation will look like, they feel like they have the upper hand. They might ask for discounts or extras because they know you can give it to them, and you find yourself backed into a corner. On the other hand, they’re interested and willing to buy. The solution? Give them what they want – but only if you’re getting something in return.

For example, let’s say you’re selling software and the price goes up with the number of users. Your prospect asks you to throw in five users for free since they have a large team. Seeing that the contract will bring in a lot of revenue, there’s no reason not to, so you can use this situation to get their commitment faster. That way, your prospect feels like they got a good deal and you can make an instant sale.

negotiating a sale
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9. Get them off the fence

Is there anything worse than a lead that seems to be stuck in the grey zone? They don’t show any particular interest, but they also aren’t telling you that they aren’t. You can spend months following up with no results and no matter how many times you talk to them, you still can’t figure them out.

If this sounds familiar, you need to get them talking and actually tell you what works for them (or doesn’t). Besides giving you a better chance of explaining how your solution meets their needs, it also helps the prospect voice their concerns. So, next time you find yourself in this situation, consider asking the following questions:

  • Based on what we’ve discussed so far, which one of the features would benefit you the most? Why?
  • Do you have any concerns about doing business with us at this point?
  • If we could find a way of dealing with [objection], would you consider working with us?
  • Based on what you said, I think [solution] would be a good fit for you because [reasons]. What do you think?

10. Don’t try to sell

While it might seem counterintuitive, not trying to sell is sometimes the best approach. For example, if you know the person or know for a fact that they aren’t interested in your solution, you can start at the end – ask for a referral instead of a sale. That way, the potential customer feels more comfortable and is more likely to point you in the right direction. You might not make a sale to them directly, but they can connect you with someone from their network.

Final thoughts

Knowing how to close a sale is one of the most important skills a sales professional can have. And seeing that 53% of customers won’t stay loyal to a brand if they didn’t have a good sales experience, it’s easy to see why.

By implementing these tips into your everyday routine, you’re making sure your prospects feel heard and ensuring they trust you. And if you need some extra help with your sales process, consider using specialized software for sending your proposals. As it happens, Better Proposals has a free trial.

About Patricija Šobak

Patricija Šobak puts her talent in spotting questionable grammar and shady syntax to good use by writing about various business-related topics. Besides advocating the use of the Oxford comma, she also likes coffee, dogs, and video games. People find her ability to name classic rock songs only from the intro both shocking and impressive.
Categories: Sales Tips