How to Close The Deal
Closing the deal comes down to understanding your prospect’s challenge, conveying the value of your solution, and collaborating with the buyer to come to an agreement all stakeholders are happy with. Closing is a natural result of a proper sales process, and prospects don’t make it to this stage of the pipeline unless they have an authentic need for what you’re selling.
This section covers the last few stages of your sales pipeline: negotiation, commit, and closed. To get to these final stages, a sales rep needs to sell their prospect on value and ROI throughout the sales cycle.
There are 3 main things you need to do in order to negotiate effectively, get the verbal commitment, and eventually close the deal:
(and legal) early
Negotiation is all about understanding where you have leverage and how you can use it. The idea of leverage in sales is simple: your prospect needs something, and you have what they need. The goal is to put those pieces together in a way where everyone is happy.
Leverage is a powerful way to get prospects to take the next step and move them to the next stage in your pipeline. What are they asking from you as they progress through the sales process? And what would they be willing to trade?
For example, you might offer a discount if they sign the contract on or before a certain date. This technique, which leverages urgency to get the contract signed, is known as the “now or never” closing technique.
Buyers are somewhat trained to expect these sort of trade-offs, knowing you have a quota to meet. But there are other things you can leverage that won’t eat into your profit margins. What benefits can you offer if you control the contract execution date?
Some ideas for other things you can leverage:
- Moving them to the front of the line for implementation
- Providing a free premium support package for a limited time
- Offering to extend the time they have to pay their invoice (Ex: net 60, instead of net 30)
Be aware, you shouldn’t cheapen your offering by giving out discounts and freebies when it’s not necessary. The value of your product or service should stand on its own. But the tactics above can motivate your prospects to take action when the sales process begins to stall.
Leverage in sales is not about convincing prospects to buy things they don’t need. It’s simply a tool you can use to get them to move forward with purchasing the solution they’re looking for.
Involve legal &
This advice applies to the entire sales process but is especially relevant in the last few stages of the pipeline: get those other key stakeholders involved early and often. One particular segment of stakeholders, the prospect’s legal team, can become a significant barrier to closing the deal or closing within the expected timeframe.
When it comes to involving legal and negotiating contract terms, we suggest erring on the “too early” side rather than “too late.” The ideal time to go over all the fine print is the negotiation stage, about 50% of the way through the pipeline.
However, it’s sometimes appropriate to share your standard terms or agreement with a prospect even earlier in the process, if it comes up organically. Providing this information in advance prompts your prospect to get eyes on the contract language early, address issues proactively, and prevent disagreement later in the sales cycle.
Drive home pain points
& solution value
If you’re still facing objections from a prospect in these late stages, you can always rely on those underlying pains they’re experiencing to influence the final decision.
You can’t fault them for being cautious and covering all their bases by addressing potential obstacles. But in these late stages of the pipeline, you should have an answer to any objection they throw at you.
Don’t tarnish the trust and rapport you’ve built by making them feel like you’re just just going for their wallet. Instead, emphasize the challenges you’ve discussed at length to remind them how much your solution will improve their daily work life and how it will impact their bottom line.
Throughout the sales process, you need to sell your prospect on the value of your solution. Show them that your product or service is the best way to solve their challenges, and it will be easier for the rest of the pieces to fall into place.
When it comes to actually asking for the close, every word a sales rep says can make an impact. Salespeople should be strategic about how they ultimately ask for the prospect’s business, proposing it in a way that makes it difficult for the prospect to say “no.”
Below are a few well-known sales closing techniques we suggest trying with your buyers. They’re designed to help buyers come to this conclusion on their own: they need a solution and yours is the best one.
Now or Never Close
The now or never close — which we briefly discussed earlier, as it relates to creating leverage — is a style of sales closing that creates urgency. It prompts prospects to finalize the deal by promising extra benefits if they act within a specified timeframe. This tactic can be helpful with a prospect who’s procrastinating on the contract approval and can win over the other decision makers for the account.
Here’s an example of a closing that utilizes the now or never strategy:
Alternative Choice Close
The alternative choice close (also called the positive choice close) encourages the prospect to make a decision by offering 2 different options that both result in a sale. This tactic puts the buyer at ease while they warm up to purchasing, as it asks for a preference instead of pushing them to buy a certain offering.
Ben Franklin Close
The Ben Franklin close, also referred to as the balance sheet close, involves collaborating with your prospect to make a list of pros and cons of purchasing. It’s affectionately named after the founding father/businessman who reportedly made decisions via the pros/cons method.
This closing tactic helps your buyer visualize the return vs. investment in your product. An important consideration for this tactic is you must know beforehand that their pros column will indeed end up longer than their cons column. Either way, it can be helpful to take a bad-news-before-good-news approach with this strategy.
The scale close helps you pinpoint a prospect’s level of interest for buying, as well as draw out and overcome any remaining objections. This tactic can also be used in the qualifying stages, as it helps determine where the prospect is in the buying process and what steps can be taken to nurture them toward closing.
Example of an exchange using the scale closing tactic:
- Sales rep: “On a scale of 1 to 5, how interested are you in getting this finalized this week?”
- Buyer: “I’d say I’m at a 4 right now.”
- Rep: “Can I ask why you’d say 4 and not 5?”
- Buyer: “I can tell this platform will make our customer enrollment process much more efficient, but it costs a lot more than our current manual process.”
- Rep: “That’s a reasonable concern. I’ve had other clients who were hesitant to invest more in this area. But they ultimately find that the tool pays for itself after just a couple months, given its ability to scale your enrollment process.”
The summary close reiterates all the things included with the purchase, the features, benefits, and value that have held the prospect’s interest.
This type of closing works well for deals that have been delayed, deals that are facing an abnormally long sales cycle, and deals where some time has passed since the original presentation or demonstration. The summary close reviews the buyer’s previous selection, putting it all together to emphasize the overall value from the purchase.
to close the sale.
Sometimes your buyer might need a little push to sign off on the deal. Look for ways you can create leverage, inject urgency into the process, and collaborate with your prospect to help them and their stakeholders realize the value of your solution.
Closing the deal means reminding your buyer why they decided to engage with your company in the first place. Use these closing tactics to influence them to take action and make the right purchase decision that meets their needs.