There are all kinds of ways to close more deals but we have come up with what we believe to be something quite special. Here is the ultimate guide to closing techniques as rated by SalesSeek across three measures:

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  • Ease of Delivery ♪
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Print this out and put it above your desk. Memorize this. Internalize this. Pick out the right close with the ease of a jujitsu master  when selecting the final stroke. See if you begin to close more deals.

Puppy Dog

This is the best known one of all. Why not take the puppy home for a week and see if you like it? Today this shows up in the almost ubiquitous free trial. But beware. Many prospects simply rotate through free trials like a kid with a biscuit barrel taking a chunk out of each and then discarding on the floor. It works for puppy dogs because the rest of the family insist on keeping it. Make sure your product is sticky enough to support this technique.

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Direct Close

Simple ask for the order. It doesn’t have to be complicated. You already know why you don’t use this technique – fear of rejection. This tells you the two times you should use it. 1/ when you are sure the prospect will say yes, and 2/ when you have nothing else left and you have to close this deal to make your number. Hard to pull off as it needs a lot of confidence but with no hint of arrogance. Don’t even think of using this early in the sales cycle.

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Assumptive Close

Like the Direct Close, this needs a subtle blend of confidence and absence of arrogance to pull off, but it can be incredibly effective as it normalizes the buying action. Often the prospect wants to buy, but it nervous to make the first move. “I’ll get your order ready for processing”. You’re helping the prospect cross that bridge by introducing the idea as an existing normality. A milder form of the Direct Close means it’s not as effective (it can be easily rebuffed), but also not as risky.

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Ben Franklin

A.k.a. the Balance Sheet Close. A personal favourite that works well in consultative sales cycles. Simply write down with your prospect a list of pros and cons, and jointly evaluate them. The key point is that you are there adding the pros, whilst addressing the cons. The beauty of this technique is that you can use it any time in the sales cycle and it’s a great way to surface hidden objections. Even if you both agree the deal is not for them, you’ve made a contact you can sell to at your next gig.

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Indirect Close

A variation of the Assumptive Close is executed with an innocuous question “when would be the best time to catch the CEO for his signature?“. Similar arguments apply, but milder, so less risky.

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Sharp Angle

Another personal favourite, but one that requires fast reactions. Not for novices. Here you take a prospect’s request and turn it around to a close. “Could you do something about giving access to occasional users, without needing full licenses?” – “If we can sign you up today, I can guarantee you an extra 10 users free to cover them”. This is a special case of the more general negotiating tactic that you always seek a concession in exchange for one.

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Negative Assumption

Just ask the final closing question until you get to “yes”. “Do you have any more questions for me or see any reasons not to buy?”. The problem with this approach is it can come across as too high pressure and too arrogant. Use only when trying to address some final niggles and the deal really is at 90%. Use inappropriately and you’ll be kicked out of the office.

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Sympathy Close

“I really need this deal to make my quarter and my mortgage” Ugh! But executed less crudely, it can work well. Variants of this include the Apology close with an equally lame “I must have not done my job properly in explaining the benefits, please let me have another shot”. The risk is you come across as a loser, and generally people don’t buy from losers. We’ve all used this from time to time, but just don’t tell anyone else back in the office if you do.

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Alternative Choice

“The red pill, or the blue pill?” A softer version of the Assumptive Close. Less pressure, so less risk in offending, but also less chance of success.

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Minor Point Close

Get the customer to keep saying yes in response to soft-ball questions about minor details “Would it be easier if we billed monthly or annually?” – “Great! We can do that?”. Not really a closing technique by itself but a useful strategy on the run up.

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Compelling Event

Everyone’s dream, but usually there isn’t one. Address this by making one up, since it doesn’t have to be about the prospect. “If I can sign you up, this means I can win this month’s sales contest. Because of that I can offer you free shipping if you sign today“. Any kind of pressure event needs to be credible, but it doesn’t need to originate with the prospect. The risk is your bluff is called and next month you are in the same boat.

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Possibility of Loss

A specific subset of Compelling Event, but one that is focussed on loss. Psychologists have shown people are 10 times more loss averse than they are gain friendly. Use this to generate a compelling event based around loss. Event producers do this all the time “The stands are selling out quickly, I can only hold this for today for you”. Or at least it looks that way when we book an event…

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Cradle to Grave

The opposite of Compelling Event. Prospects often makes excuses that there are too busy with X.Y, and Z. Politely point out that that will always be true, so now is as good a time as any to buy.

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Now go and close more deals with your selected favourites and let us know how you get on.

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