Closing Techniques - Closing a sale that isn't quite ready to be closed

Closing Techniques: How to close a sale that will not close naturally

What do you do when a sale does not close naturally?

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Closing Techniques – Closing a sale that isn’t ready to be closed naturally.
© 2007 David A. Peterson

There are probably 1,000 books written about closing techniques. Not only books but Blog after Blog and expert after expert want to teach you how to close. All of the books, blogs, and experts want you to pay them to teach you the closing secrets. After all isn’t it the truth that if you learn how to close then you will be successful in sales?

The real secret is that if you cover your customer’s entire objections then the deal should close naturally. Naturally means that the prospect is going to buy because you have shown them that your product is the right product at the right price and that the product will solve their particular issue.

Naturally means that the sales process which is open, probe, pitch, and close has been covered completely. If during probing you uncover the prospect’s needs and during your pitch you make the prospect want your product then there is really only one logical choice… the natural close.

A natural close is one that the prospect eventually cuts you off and says “are you ready for my credit card.” You know you have done an excellent job in the sales process when the customer asks you to close the sale.

But in reality some deals need a little push. Some deals just don’t close “naturally.”

How to close a sale is probably the most talked about issue that any business deals with on a daily basis. Every time you interview for a sales job the interviewer talks about closing techniques.

Every time you attend sales meetings the sales manager talks about closing techniques. Tips, tricks, and time saving methods are covered endlessly to get the company’s prospects converted to customers. 

On occasion you get to ride along with the best salesperson in your organization to see how they do it. Or if you are in a call center you get to listen to endless conversations to hear how the best reps’ close. 

When two sales representatives get together in the lunch room they inevitably start talking about how they got a prospect to close. Bravado kicks in with these conversations. “I got ‘ABC’ to fold using this close…” You have heard it before yet deep in your heart you must admit that this is a top rep speaking so it must be true that these closing techniques work as advertised.

Do they work? Is it the closing statement that gets the prospect to commit and become a customer? Let’s look at a couple of different types of closes. Each one is slightly different yet they are all used to get the customer to commit. 

Names have been given to the different types of closing techniques. Have you ever heard of?

  • The Assumptive Close

  • The Door Knob Close

  • The Bonus Close

  • The Choice Close

  • The Last Chance Close

These are just a few of the 100’s of different closing statements that salespeople throughout the years have used. These have been around for years. If you were to pick up a sales book from circa 1930 you would see the same closing techniques with probably the same names.

Why haven’t these closing techniques changed since the 1930s? Because they work!

Let’s explore the 5 closing statements above:

The Assumptive Close.

The assumptive close is also called “assume the sale.” It is a very simple yet very effective close. It assumes the prospect is going to buy. Why should you assume that? Don’t you have the right product for this prospect? If you do have the right product it should close. Here is an example:

Sales Rep: “Mr. Porter its 3:30 pm right now and since you are going to get this today I can have it out the door by 4 pm. You should get it by Thursday.”

In this example Mr. Porter didn’t say yes; ship it to me? He didn’t say anything. The sales rep just assumed that he wanted it. If you are working with a transactional sale this type of close can be the ticket. 

The Door Knob Close.

When all else has failed the door knob close can be effective. The door knob close is a last ditch effort. You use it when all of your other closing techniques have failed. Here is an example:

Sales Rep: Just as you are leaving you reach for the door and say… “Mr. Porter this project looks like a perfect fit for our company. Is there anything I can do right now before I leave to make this happen?”

The door knob pitch catches the prospect at an “at ease” state. You are leaving and no longer a financial threat. Sometimes the prospect will “spill the beans” and tell you why they object to the deal. Again the sales process tells us that if there are no objections this deal should have closed. This door knob close gives you the re-opening needed to clear up the objections that still exist which will allow you to re-close the deal.

The Bonus Close.

I hear the bonus close a lot. As a sales manager I can’t stand it. When it is use too early in the sales process it is a waste of time and it really can be a waste of money. This close gives away something that didn’t need to be given away. But, if you wait until the very end then this close can be effective.

Sales Rep: “Mr. Porter I spoke to my manager just before I got here. He said that he didn’t want anything to come between us and this deal. I am authorized to sweeten the deal by offering you X,Y,&Z if you do this today.”

The bonus close works because everyone likes a deal. Have you ever noticed that when you have just gotten a deal someone else will speak up and tell you that the deal they just got is even better? It really is a competition type of close. The prospect is really closing because… “I gave you this deal because I beat you. I got you to give me something extra.” 

The Choice Close.

This is a simple close that can be effective. This close assumes that the prospect wants and needs your product. The choice close is one where you close for either this or that. It’s not an all or nothing close. It is a close that lets the prospect feel they are in control. Here is an example:

Sales Rep: “Mr. Porter I believe that I have covered all of the points that I wanted to make. This product looks perfect for you.”

Prospect: “I agree John you have done everything you could and you have made me take a long hard look it this deal.”

Sales Rep: “Well since we are in agreement do you want the bundle deal with the additional warranty support or just the product?

Notice that in this close the sales rep assumes that the prospect is going to buy one way or another. And why shouldn’t the prospect buy? If you have covered the sales process completely there is no reason why this shouldn’t close. So… give the prospect a choice, buy this or that. Prospects like to feel like they are in charge. 

The Last Chance Close.

I like this close because so many prospects are on the fence. They really want and they really need your product but for some reason they just can’t pull the trigger and purchase your product. Worse… your time is valuable and you keep calling because you know the prospect absolutely needs what you are selling. Here is an example:

Sales Rep: “Mr. Porter we have covered the benefits that our product offers. You know that the price is competitive if not better than most of our competitors. You and I have a good working relationship. I am sorry to say that I have to move an on and work with my current customer base. I can give you this product for this price only till Friday night at 5 pm. After that I have to move on.”

Yes this is a draconian close. Yes, the last chance close could backfire and you could lose the deal. But, as a sales manager I would say that IF and that is a big IF; IF you have completed the sales process and this buyer is still on the fence then you have to move on. This is a stalling objection. Most stalling objections are caused by the sales rep not following the sales process. But IF you have followed the sales process then every sales manager in the world will ask you to use the last chance close. 

There are literally a hundred different types of closing statements that you could use. I have spelled out just five of them. Over the next few weeks we will look a little closer at these closing statements as well as a few more.

There are prospects that will not pull the trigger and they need a little push. That is the point that all of these closing statements make. These closing statements are only to be used for prospects that are on the fence. 

All of these closing statements are perfect for the fence sitting prospect. However, if you have done your homework and completely covered the sales process then your sales should be closing more naturally. 

Naturally means that the prospect closes you! That’s right; if you have really done your homework and worked the sales process then the prospect will ask YOU to take their credit card so THEY can move on and get back to work. 

In reality if you have really worked the sales process then you don’t have to learn how to close; the PROSPECTS will close themselves!


David A. Peterson

David A. Peterson

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