A lot of sales reps have room for improvement when it comes to asking for someone’s business. For example, at the end of an exploration or sales process, I often hear sales reps say something like, “Well, what did you think? What are the next steps?”
This more often than not ends with the prospect saying something like, “It was great but I need to circle back with the team and see where we go from here.” Then the chase begins.
But what if “the chase” didn’t have to happen? Or what if it happened less often? What would you do with all that extra time?
In an effort to help all sales reps and sales leaders continuously learn and improve a wide variety of your sales skills, here’s my “greatest hits” list of closing techniques. Pete Caputa taught me all of these techniques, so connect with him on LinkedIn or tweet at him and say thanks.
Closing Technique #1: The Inoffensive Close
As you approach the final stages of your exploration or sales process, use this line of questioning to assert your knowledge, confirm it with your prospect, and prescribe the next step. This technique works particularly well with the “S” (Steadiness) and “D” (Dominance) personality types from the DiSC behavioral assessment (learn more about how to tailor your sales process to your buyer’s personality here).
First, recap what you know:
“Based on everything we discussed, I see four major areas that we can help with through a partnership: Improve your internal marketing, consolidate tool sets and improve efficiency, expand services down the funnel and grow retainer revenue, and do some training with your team. Is there anything that I missed, or that you would add to that list?”
If your prospect says “no,” ask the following four questions in order:
- At this point, do you feel like I have a good understanding of your business and what you’re trying to achieve?
- Do you believe the plan we’ve laid out will get you to those goals?
- Do you have any alternative plan to achieve those goals?
- Assuming the [demo, presentation, etc.] meets your expectations, do you want our help by partnering together?
The last question secures the “close,” without coming off as aggressive or pushy.
Closing Technique #2: The “1 to 10” Technique
If you’ve already gone through the HubSpot Inbound Sales training, this one isn’t going to be a surprise to you. But if you have not, I’ll share this nugget of wisdom now.
The “1 to 10” closing technique works particularly well with prospects that fit the “I” (Influencer) and “C” (Conscientiousness) personalities from DiSC. It is designed to help the prospect fully weigh the benefits and drawbacks of working with you.
As you approach the conclusion to your exploration or sales process with a prospect, ask the following question:
“So, Ms. Prospect, on a scale of 1 to 10 — 1 being ‘we should end the call’ and ’10’ being ‘sign me up now’ — where would you say we are at this point?”
If the prospects names a 6 or lower, something went awry in the earlier stages of the sales process, and you need to go back and retrace your steps.
However, if they name a number higher than six, follow up with the line below:
“Huh, I’m surprised you chose a number that high. Why did you choose it?”
By asking the prospect to explain their high number, you prompt them to elaborate on the benefits of working with you.
After the prospect finishes listing benefits, you’ll then want to get them to outline their concerns so you can address them:
“Huh, those sound like some pretty strong reasons to work together [paraphrase their reasons back to them]. But now I’m even more confused … based on the reasons you gave, why isn’t your number a 10?”
At this point, the prospect will start giving you their objections or concerns, and you should take time to walk through them thoughtfully and carefully.
After all outstanding concerns or objections have been addressed, ask, “Now that we’ve talked through your hesitations, has your number changed at all?”
If their number is still not a 10, deliver the following line:
“Okay, I understand you still have some hesitations. Earlier you shared [benefits of working with you]. Then you also shared [objection]. Comparing the benefits and risks side-by-side, do you think the benefits of working together outweigh the risks?”
If they say yes, proceed to final contract terms. If they say no, the deal goes to closed-lost. Either way, you’ve brought the process to a close.
Closing Technique #3: The Perfect Close
This last one isn’t really a technique, but rather a way for you to determine how well you ran your sales process. If at the end of a goal setting call or demo — before you say anything — the prospect says, “Okay, how do we get started?” that is the sign you have run a flawless (or near flawless) sales process. The prospect is so bought in that they are asking you how to buy.
How do you get to this point? Continuously focusing on all the stages that precede the closing call and executing with precision every step along the way. Strive to build a sales process so strong that you never even have to use a closing technique, and quota will be within your reach month after month.
Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Inbound Seller blog, and is republished here with permission.