10 years ago
January 5, 2015

How Great Sales People Close a Sale

Great sales people continue to pursue the close throughout the sales process using the following approaches.

Rhys Metler

In sales, product knowledge and presentation skills are important, but are only part of the story. Closing skills and tactics are what differentiate great sales people from their peers. Understanding that the close starts when first contact is made is the basis for sales success, and with this in mind, great sales people continue to pursue the close throughout the sales process using the following approaches.

Great Sales People Encourage Prospects to Commit Early

When talking to a prospect, most sales people assume there is no commitment and that the ideas being shared are potential. This frequently results in lost time since when there is no commitment, a prospect has nothing invested in a deal and can walk away. Great sales people work towards gaining commitment early, working through incremental “commitment closes” so that a prospect feels that he or she is invested and that there is something to be lost, be it revenue, a competitive edge, or future opportunities, if the deal is not seen through. Sales people can emulate this approach by:

  • Looking for the budget and commitment to buy for early qualification
  • Gaining agreement from the prospect that his or her business has an issue that a sales person’s offering could solve
  • Leading the prospect to agree to a timeline

Great Sales People Make Deals Time-Sensitive

High pressure sales tactics rarely, if ever, work to the benefit of the client and the sales person. Having realized this, most sales people have relaxed their closing tactics, but in many cases they have in fact relaxed too far. It is often said that “time kills all deals,” and it’s true; time allows doubt, second thoughts, and pitches by the competition. Great sales people introduce the time factor without resorting to high pressure tactics by scheduling closes based on the prospect’s needs, using approaches such as:

  • The sooner a product or service is delivered, the sooner the prospect will see results
  • Repeating timeline information a prospect has already shared, e.g., “Last time we spoke you mentioned that you wanted to start a transition in June.”
  • Sharing time sensitive (but public) industry information, such as a scheduled rollout for one of the prospect’s competitors

Great Sales People Lean into the Close, Instead of Pushing

If a sales person pushes a prospect, sooner or later the prospect will start to show resistance. Without doing so intentionally, a sales person may be pushing if he or she is not paying attention to the prospect’s buying signals. A great sales person is always tuned in to these buying signals, watching a prospect’s body language and analyzing the buying words in a prospect’s speech; this allows top performers to lean into the close with leading questions to make sure that the prospect is ready to buy. Once the buying signals are confirmed, the top performer introduces the close. Questions that lean in as opposed to push include:

  • Would you like to review what we’ve agreed upon so far?
  • Do you feel that your company is now positioned to go ahead with this?
  • What else would you need to know to feel comfortable moving forward?

Great Sales People Stay Confident

You might not think of staying confident as a closing tactic, but it’s actually the most effective closing tactic at your disposal. Great sales people exude confidence without appearing arrogant; they know that there is value in the deal, and are convinced that the product or service on offer will exceed the prospect’s expectations. Prospects react positively to that confidence, and want to do business with sales people who can show through their actions and attitude that an offering will perform for them.

Mastering the close is a prerequisite to becoming a great sales person. Don’t be afraid to ask great sales people in your office how they do it, and even watch them in action if possible, to gain an edge.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.