The basic truth is, no matter how hard you work and how well you design solutions for customers, if you are weak in closing sales, you will suffer in your career. While closing sales comes naturally to some, others will benefit from learning how to effectively use proven closing techniques.
Following our research from customers and online, we have been able to come up with list that represents the techniques proven to be effective over time. Just like learning the features and benefits of your product or service took time and patience, learning these closing techniques will take time, patience, and then a whole lot of practice.
The Columbo Close
Not only was the TV character Columbo a fantastic police detective, he was also an exemplary sales coach. While few think of Columbo as a sales professional, his famous one-liner has led to more sales than almost any other line in sales history.
The classic Columbo close was the line he often used after the suspects thought Columbo was done speaking to them. He would turn and start to walk away, and just when the suspect began to breathe a sigh of relief, Columbo would turn and say, “Just one more thing.”
After you’ve wrapped up your sales pitch and you know the customer is about to walk away, use the Columbo line to hit the customer with the most enticing part of your pitch. It works whether you’re selling automobiles or timeshares.
The Assumptive Close
The assumptive close helps put sales professionals in a better state of mind because they assume that the customer is going to make a purchase. As long as the sales pro makes sure that each step of the sales process is covered and provides enough value to the customer, assuming a sale will close is a powerful and highly effective closing technique. If you learn only one close, this is the one to learn.
The key thing about the assumptive close is that you need to take frequent “temperature checks” of your customer to make sure that she is following along with your assumption-of-sale. There’s nothing to specifically say to enact this technique except to be as uber confident as possible in your product and yourself.
The Puppy Dog Close
Few can resist the cuteness of a puppy. Take a dog lover into a puppy store and he’ll go gaga. Offer to let the dog lover take a puppy home to “try it out” and nine out of 10 times the customer will buy the puppy. For sales professionals who have the option of allowing their prospects to “test drive” or “try” their product, the puppy dog close has a very high closure rate.
If you’ve ever purchased a car, the sales professional most likely employed the puppy dog close on you. Using a puppy dog close is a low-pressure and highly effective method to get a customer to sign on the bottom line. Once you’re aware of the technique, you’ll see your sales numbers steadily improve.
The Backwards Close
Most sales professionals were taught that sales cycles followed a predetermined number of steps, with step one being the “prospecting and qualifying” step. But what if you started with the final step, asking for referrals? It is the backwards closing technique that starts where most sales end.
What most backward closing technique users experience is that they feel that the customer is immediately put at ease when they realize that you are not trying to sell them something. After that, it’s smooth sailing to explain the product and its benefits and value—and then ink the deal.
The Hard Close
Hard closing demands a lot of courage and confidence and should only be used when you have nothing to lose. While people generally love to buy things, most hate being sold to. When it comes to the hard close, customers are well aware that you are selling them something.
This is face-to-face, show no fear, get-the-deal-signed type of selling. Despite its negative reputation, sometimes the hard close is the best closing technique to use. The one caveat is that you should never use it too early in the sales cycle.
The Take Away Close
Let’s face it: we hate when things are taken away from us. Whether it is something we own or something that we want to own.
Did you know that taking things away from your prospects can actually be used as a closing technique? The take away close entails reviewing certain features or benefits a customer wants and then suggesting that they forgo some of these features—perhaps to offer a cost savings. This results in a psychological impact on customers not wanting to lose anything on their wish list and moving forward purchase the product.
The Now or Never Close
This is where salespeople make an offer that includes a special benefit that prompts an immediate purchase. For example:
- “This is the last one at this price.”
- “We’ve got a 20 percent discount just for customers who sign up today.”
This technique works because when it creates a sense of urgency and can help overcome inertia when a prospect wants to buy but for some reason is afraid to pull the trigger. Of course, always establish value before offering a discount or promotion.
The Summary Close
Salespeople who use this closing technique reiterate the items the customer is hopefully purchasing—stressing the value and benefits— in an effort to get the prospect to sign.
For example, “So, we have the Centrifab washing machine with a brushless motor, the 10-year comprehensive guarantee, and our free delivery and installation service. When would be a good time to deliver?”
By summarizing previously agreed-upon points into one impressive package, you’re helping prospects visualize what they’re truly getting out of the deal.