Closing the deal – in its highest expression – is about helping people overcome their internal reasons to avoid making a decision or taking action when they really should. Our worlds are noisy and overwhelming, so our role as a business owner and sales professional is to present a clear and persuasive case for our prospect to consider.
Learning to influence, persuade and close more deals is simply the process of finding the most frictionless ways to communicate a message.
No matter how eloquent or passionate a salesperson you may be, no matter how friendly your smile or likable your personality, if you can’t close the sale – it’s not a business, it’s a hobby.
Below are a list of the most potent closes of highly effective sales professionals:
1. The ‘Assumptive’ Close
Example: “Who’s name should we write the contract under?”
Idea: You ask question that assumes the decision to enrol has already been made, now you’re just figuring out the details.
Usage: When you’re fairly sure that the prospect is ready and you find yourself in that awkward holding pattern (see previous article). This is a strong technique as it creates momentum towards an outcome. Note: If you use this close too early and the prospect still has doubts, then this approach may come off as aggressive. Timing is everything.
2. The ‘Friendly Assumptive’ Close
Example: “Did you have any other questions before we go ahead?”
Idea: You ask a less confrontational question that assumes the decision to enrol has already been made, now you’re just figuring out the details.
Usage: This is still an assumptive close, but specifically for prospects who have asked lots of questions through the process. This closes focuses the prospect on whether or not they have more questions, rather than forcing the internal confrontational question, “do I want to commit or don’t I?”
3. The ‘Isolation’ Close
Example: “Assuming we can X (make this work, fit this budget, install by xmas etc.), is there anything else you need for us to process this for you now?”
Idea: You have a customer agree in principle that if a final point is resolvable, then the deal is ready to close.
Usage: When a customer is focused on a final sticking point that you know you have some wiggle room with. A poor salesperson will waste this opportunity with something like, “…yep, we can discount that,” where a pro will ‘keep that powder dry’ and use an isolation close. By building up the value, the prospect feels like the only reasonable response to you doing this favour for them, is to reciprocate by agreeing to move forward.
4. The ‘Timeline’ Close
Example: “Okay Wendy, you said you want to get this going by Christmas. Looking at the work queue, we can guarantee delivery by then if we submit the paperwork by the end of this week.”
Idea: You (re)introduce a relevant temporal reference that creates urgency to make a decision within a given timeframe.
Usage: This is perfect for a customer who has a time-sensitive milestone that they’re motivated to work to. Events like Christmas, Valentines Day, budget deadlines or seasonal products are really good use cases for this close.
5. The ‘Direct Question’ Close
Example: “From what you’ve said, this is obviously a no-brainer for you guys. Are you ready to get started?”
Idea: You ask a direct question which results in a customer having to commit to either moving forward or not (hopefully the former!)
Usage: This is a very natural closing pattern for a presentation that’s gone smoothly and all questions have been handled. Being a ‘light touch’ close, it leaves the conversation open for a “no” without derailing the entire process.
6. The ‘Direct Advice’ Close
Example: “From what you’ve said, this is obviously a no-brainer for you guys. If you’re ready to go, I’d advise you get started and get the [benefit] now. My job’s simple, I just need to run you through the paperwork.”
Idea: You leverage your built up authority to give expert advice that the customer is likely to follow.
Usage: This is my favourite close of all. If you sell high ticket price products and services ($5000+) then you need to become a trusted advisor before the prospect will be willing to hand over their hard earned. Assuming you’ve built strong enough connection and rapport, then your advice will be super valued and welcome.
7. The ‘It’s So Easy’ Close
Example: “It’s very easy, all I need to do from this end is confirm some of your details over the phone and organise your application…”
Idea: Using the embedded command that ‘it’s so easy’, you allay concerns that moving forward might become difficult or overwhelming.
Usage: This is mainly used for people who may be a bit apprehensive of change or think it may be a complicated process. Compilation means potential confusion, and potential confusion always will result in a “no”.
8. The ‘Alternative Choice’ Close
Example: “Now, would you prefer to use your Mastercard, Visa or AMEX?”
Idea: You give two options, both result in the prospect moving forward. The idea is that when presented with specific options, people will typically choose one in favour of inventing their own.
Usage: This is a good one for prospects who are stalling or fear commitment. The idea is to focus the prospect on the options of how to enrol, rather than whether to enrol or not. Questions direct attention – we use alternative choice questions to direct the prospects attention to a more resourceful place.
9. The ‘Avoid a Loss’ Close
Example: “Just so that you’re aware, this promotion is almost finished and we’re just processing the last enrolments now. Did you want me to lock in one of the places before they run out?”
Idea: A strong fear for many people is the fear of missing out on something. By introducing the possiblity of losing, it can motivate people to take action.
Usage: This is for adding urgency in a presentation when it’s lacking and the prospect will not commit. If there is no urgency or reason to BUY NOW, then customers won’t. In another article we talk about how your brain is wired to do as little as possible when given the option. It’s not enough that a customer is convinced that they should buy, they also must be convinced to buy now!
10. The ‘High Comparative’ Close
Example: “So the choice is really up to you, you can continue paying the higher market rate or we can lock in that lower discount so you can use that money for something else. Did you want me to lock it in for you?”
Idea: You compare the option to enroll with a more expensive reality associated with not enrolling.
Usage: The best usage of this close if with prospects who are concerned with the price. While there may be many benefits to your product or service, tying back to financial ROI will always create more concrete value and make it easier for them to say “yes!”.
11. The ‘Analytical Assumptive’ Close
Example: “From what we’ve discussed, it looks (sounds / feels) like you’ll get the most out of [INSERT KEY INTEREST] right away, and have [INSERT 2nd KEY INTEREST] to look forward to. Is there anything else that’s important to you that we haven’t covered before we get you enrolled in the program?”
Idea: You summarise the key logical reasons for your customer to enrol in your product or service.
Usage: This close is usually used as a SECONDARY CLOSE if you’ve used one of the above, then had to retrace some value steps for the prospect before re-closing. Remember that people buy with emotion and justify that decision with logic. This is a strong closing pattern for prospects who need a last bit of logic peppered in to seal the deal.
Other Powerful Closing Patterns
Always keep your closing patterns close to you. A closing pattern is infinitely stronger than a throw away and ‘off the cuff’ line. Knowing your closing patterns by heart, will allow you to deliver them with appropriate timing and tonality.
These are some closing patterns I learned while working with Jordan Belfort, a.k.a. the Wolf of Wall Street:
1. Believe me.
Example: “Believe me; if you do even half as well as the rest of the people who use this program, you’re going to be very, very impressed. All I ask is after you’ve [INSERT BENEFIT], you tell all your friends about your experience. Sound fair enough?
Concept: This pattern taps into powerful tools of influence including social proof (other people have been successful), future pacing (you will get results so good that you’ll be willing to tell your friends), trial closing (“sound fair enough” is a pattern that creates micro-commitment).
2. I’ll show you all the ins and outs.
Example: “I’ll show you all the ins and outs and hold your hand every step of the way…”
Concept: Customers get worried that they won’t understand how to use the service no matter how valuable it could be. They also worry that once you’ve made the sale, they’ll never hear from you again and they’ll be left all alone if something doesn’t go to plan.
3. Huge upside, little downside.
Example: “This is a great program with huge upside and very little downside – it’s really a no brainer for where you’re at right now.”
Concept: This phrase addresses the fear of what could go wrong by convincing clients they have a lot to gain and little to lose with this product.
4. It’s a long-term relationship.
Example: “We pride ourselves on repeat business and referrals so for us, this is a long-term relationship. Our priority id to make sure you have a great experience, and keep recommending your friends.”
Concept: This feature uses future pacing to remind clients what you can do for them over the long term.
Save your most important words – Keeping your powder dry
Remember that a good salesperson is measured, controlled and tempered. They do not use all their best ammo right up front. The best ammo should be saved for last and delivered in such a way that the only logical outcome for the customer is that they buy the product.
Now you know everything you need to be a master closer and to seal the deal. So here are your next steps:
- Go back and re-read the first part of this 2-part series
- Write down the first closing patterns you want to master
- Write a comment about what you think of this content and what you’re looking forward to using first
- Go connect with more customers
Happy hunting friends!