Who can forget the iconic scene in Glengarry Glen Ross in which sales-consultant-from-hell Blake (played by Alec Baldwin) schools the underperforming reps of Chicago real estate company Premiere Properties about the ABCs of sales? “Always. Be. Closing,” he chants.
But what does it really mean to “always be closing?”
It means being strategic. As a sales rep, you must think critically about every single interaction with your prospects and what you can do to turn them into customers.
Why? Because no prospect is alike, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all sales approach. To “always be closing,” you need to have enough sales tactics up your sleeve to handle any deal.
To help you persuade every prospect, we’re breaking down our top three sales closing techniques. We’ll explain when and how to use each tactic, so you know how to connect with every prospect and bring them closer to making a purchase.
Let’s get started!
Technique #1: The Assumptive Close
The “assumptive close” sales technique is when a rep behaves as though the prospect has already agreed to buy a product. For the prospect, it’s like getting the final little push they need to pull the trigger on a purchase.
When to use the assumptive close
This sales technique is most effective with prospects who seem indecisive or on-the-fence about a purchase. They’re interested in your product but, for some reason, have a hard time committing to the sale.
For example, we’ve all had the experience of trying to choose a restaurant for dinner with a group of indecisive people. You’re in the car with everyone, driving in circles around a shopping mall while the conversation drones on with endless “I’m not sures.” Eventually, you bring the car to a stop in front of a restaurant and say, “I’ll check in with the host here to see if we can get a table.”
You’ve helped the group make a decision with an assumptive close. Rather than delay eating a delicious meal, you’ve chosen a restaurant as if your party has already agreed to it.
Let’s look at how this same scenario can be applied to an interaction with a prospect.
Listen for the following phrases and language when speaking with your prospect to identify if they’re an interested, yet indecisive, shopper.
- “I like the product, but I’m not sure if I should buy it yet…“
- “It [the product] sounds like something I could use, but I just don’t know…”
- “I may need to sleep on it before I make a decision…”
If your prospect uses phrases like the ones above, it’s likely that the assumptive close will be an effective technique for closing the sale.
How to use the assumptive close
You never want to go straight into the assumptive close immediately after an indecisive statement from your prospect like the ones above. Instead, spend some time discussing the benefits of your product and how it will help make your prospect’s life better. Reassure them that purchasing your product is the right decision, then initiate the assumptive close.
For example, let’s look at how to address one of the phrases listed above. Your prospect has just said to you, “I like the product, but I’m not sure if I should buy it yet…”
Start by reassuring them that they’ll start seeing benefits from your product right away. Then lead into the assumptive close statement, “I’ll send you one box of [product name] to start with, so you can make sure it’s the right fit for you. What’s your billing address and credit card number?”
Other examples of the assumptive close technique include:
- “If you give me your billing information now, we could ship the product out to you today. ”
- “Let’s get you into the system, so we can start the paperwork.”
The goal is to initiate the sale for the customer. After all, indecisive customers are already looking to outside influences to help them make up their minds. You’re simply steering the car in the right direction to get them that delicious meal more quickly.
Technique #2: The Suggestion Close
The “suggestion close” technique is when you provide purchasing suggestions to a prospect based on what you’ve learned about their needs. It provides them with a logical and reasonable starting point, so you’re able to get the purchasing ball rolling.
When to use the suggestion close
Prospects who don’t have knowledge (or confidence in their knowledge) of the type of product or service being offered are excellent candidates for the suggestion close technique. Use the suggestion close when you find your prospect asking a lot of questions about the product, such as how it works and how it can benefit them.
These questions are generally an indication that your prospect is interested in the product but isn’t sure where to begin (i.e., which plan to purchase, what quantity to buy, etc.).
How to use the suggestion close
To make the suggestion close, provide the prospect with the information and logistics needed to make a purchase. Add specific recommendations at the end of your answers to their questions.
For example, let’s say your customer asks you,“ What do most people use your product for?” You might offer this response to make a suggestion close.
“Customers love using our product as a scheduling tool. It helps them stay organized and focused throughout the day. Based on your business and the amount of appointments you have per day, I suggest going with our Gold plan.”
You’re managing the initial parts of the buying process for the prospect. All the prospect needs to worry about is understanding how the product works and how it will benefit them. The rest of the logistics (e.g., quantity, subscription plan type, etc.) are handled for them by the expert sales rep.
Other examples of the suggestion close technique include:
- “Based on the size of your project, four boxes of [product name] would be a good starting point. Do you want to put in an order now?”
- “Most customers in your line of work only use [product name] for a few of their daily tasks, which can easily be accomplished with our Tier 2 plan. But based on the scope of work your company is doing, you’ll want to add [features X and Y], which are only available in the Gold plan. Sound good?”
- “You’re really going to love the way your new home looks with [product name]. Based on how you’ve described the space, I recommend buying two to achieve the best aesthetic.”
Notice how each suggestion close example provides recommendations based on what the rep has learned about the prospect. Demonstrate that you understand the customer’s needs through your suggestion, and they’ll be much more likely to follow your advice and finalize their order.
Tactic #3: The Urgency Close
The “urgency close” technique is all about pitching your product at a discounted, limited-time price. It taps into the power of FOMO, the fear of missing out, to motivate purchases. Most consumers are always on the lookout for the best deals and prices — and no one likes to miss a great sale.
In fact, research has shown just how influential the notion of a sale or discount is on buying behavior. According to a survey from RetailMeNot, around 66% of consumer respondents said they had purchased a product they didn’t originally plan on buying because they found a coupon or discount. Another 80% of consumers surveyed said they were more likely to buy from a new brand if they were offered a discount.
Utilize the urgency close tactic to spark your prospect’s FOMO by offering a great deal on a product, but only for a limited time.
When to use the urgency close
Use the urgency close sales technique whenever you find yourself toe-to-toe with a hardcore bargain shopper. For example, let’s say you’re speaking with a prospect who is set on buying a CRM sometime within the next two weeks. They haven’t pulled the trigger yet because they want to make sure they get the best deal possible.
In this scenario, your urgency close approach could be to offer your prospect extra app integrations for free, but only if they buy now. The idea that your prospect could get extra features for free that other customers have to pay for may be enough to persuade them to purchase from you then and there. After all, who could pass that deal up?
How to use the urgency close
If you hear your prospect share concerns about pricing, that’s your cue to use the urgency close. Just remember, don’t be too pushy; otherwise, you may turn off your prospect.
Here are two examples of what you might say to highlight the time-based deal you’re offering:
- “I can give you a special promotional deal on the product, but it’s only available through the end of the day today.”
- “If you don’t buy today, I can’t guarantee the price will ever be this low again.”
Whatever deal or discount you’re offering, make sure it’s enticing enough to sway your prospect into making a purchase. Chances are your bargain shopper prospect has already done their own research. Make sure you’re aware of what kinds of deals your competitors are offering to ensure your pitch is effective.
Always Be Closing: The ABCs of closing any deal
To “always be closing,” you must be ready for a wide variety of prospects. That means listening to your prospect, paying attention to cues that reveal which type of buyer you’re dealing with, and executing the appropriate closing technique.
For that reason, effective customer data management is vital to the success of any sales process. CRMs allow reps to easily access and utilize the customer information needed to identify which sales tactic to use. You can learn more about how other companies are using CRMs to close deals here, as well as how to effectively manage your customer data here.
Nail down the three ABCs of sales closing techniques covered in this guide, and you’ll have the tools to sell to any prospect in your pipeline.