How to Close a Sale: 12 Tips to Win More Deals

Closing a sale can take a frustratingly long time. I once closed a big sale after over two years of consistently following up. Obviously, that’s not typical, but it can take a lot of effort and patience to close worthwhile deals. 

If the sales closing process were easy, you probably wouldn’t be reading this article. On average, it takes eight touchpoints to close a deal. Depending on your sales cycle, it can be a heck of a lot more.

Closing a deal is more than just following a formula. It’s as much an art as a science. In this guide, you’ll learn both.

How Do You Close a Sale? First, Solve a Problem

The simplest way to close a sale is to clearly show the decision-maker how they stand to benefit from your offering. Tell them exactly how you solve their problems and why you do it better than anyone else. 

You don’t need a complicated sales process. Just speak (or write) directly to your prospect’s needs with genuine conviction in your solution, and your close rate will go through the roof.

However, it’s not as simple as “just solve their problem,” and start closing deals. There is a process you can follow that helps showcase your solution effectively and to the right people—in a way that helps you win more sales. 

Let’s get into our top sales closing techniques and processes below. 

How to Close a Sale: A Step-by-Step Sales Process to Close Deals Faster

Following these closing strategies can help any salesperson in any industry close sales faster and more effectively. 

1. Identify the Decision-Makers and Reach Out

The first step to closing the sale? Make sure you’re selling to the right person.

Let’s say you run a janitorial service, and you’re trying to get into new mid-sized office buildings. Will you reach out to:

  • A) A business that rents space in the building
  • B) The owner’s secretary
  • C) The building owner

In that situation, you’ll want to target building owners because they are the only true decision-makers. 

Here’s how to get started:

  • Figure out who the decision-makers are in your industry and start building a list. You can use social media platforms to identify prospects and pair that with tools like Hunter to look up email addresses. Alternatively, you could use marketing tools like ZoomInfo or Leadfeeder.
  • Next, start conversations with those decision-makers on your list. The process for this varies based on your industry. You might email, call, or show up at their door. It depends on the industry norms and your own level of bravado. 

If you want to reach people at scale, you can create cold email templates and then plug them into an automated sequence. Then, you’re doing outreach on auto-pilot and starting up conversations with the people who respond. If your emails aren’t working, tweak them to be more about solving your prospect's problems until they do. 

Pro Tip: Looking to take the hassle out of cold emailing? Give our free AI-powered cold email generator tool a spin!


2. Accurately Qualify Your Prospects (and Their Pain Points)

Once you’ve sparked a conversation, it’s time to qualify prospects and determine if they fit your ideal customer profile. This will help you determine if the opportunity cost of spending your time on this prospect vs. another is worth it (and if they are likely to buy). 

In your early conversations, make sure to ask qualifying questions like:

  • What are your top challenges?
  • What results do you want to achieve?
  • What is your current solution, and how is it working for you?
  • What inspired you to respond to my call/email (or reach out directly)?
  • What’s your budget for solving this problem?

The answers to these types of questions will identify if the prospect fits your ideal customer profile and is likely to close later on. 

3. Be a Consultant to Help Their Decision Process

Now that you’ve got answers to qualifying questions, you can start acting like a consultant based on the information they’ve given you. This part of the process is known as consultative selling

Instead of just jumping immediately into a pitch, you go deeper into solving their real-world problem. You can ask more clarifying questions that uncover true needs and offer objective solutions rather than just trying to fit them into your product no matter what.

Consultative sales builds more trust, but it can take longer and may even disqualify certain prospects who aren’t a good fit. However, the ones that are a good fit are more likely to close and have better results after they buy from you because they need what you’re selling. This is essentially the opposite of a used car salesman pushing a lemon on unsuspecting buyers. 

4. Pitch Your Solution (Not Just the Product)

Good sales reps know their product inside and out. Great sales reps understand how it impacts their prospects. An effective sales manager knows this and helps reps develop pitch templates and talk tracks based on needs rather than products. 

When you’re selling based on features, you’re telling (not selling). Your prospects care only about the tangible results your product will produce by solving their biggest problems. That is the focal point of a great sales pitch.

Here’s an example of telling vs selling.

Telling: "Our platform measures over 100 different metrics, charts, and graphs for your website, including this, this, and this. Let me explain how each one works!"

Selling: "We have over 100 different metrics, charts, and graphs for your website on our platform. Which types of metrics are most important to you? What do you want to see?"

Pitching solutions over products shows your potential customers that you care about helping them solve their actual problems. You’ll also avoid wasting time by getting straight to the point and learning how you can best help.

5. Follow Up, Follow Up, Follow Up

Way back in 2016, when I was deep in the trenches of software sales, I wrote an article about how following up is the hardest part of sales. When newbies first join the sales team, they’re most worried about rejection, but following up takes up most of their time and effort. 

The trick to following up effectively is to add value with each touchpoint. The average sale takes eight touchpoints, so instead of just “checking in,” make them count (and move you toward a close). 

Rather than just saying, “Hey, just checking, ready to buy yet?” in your call or email, you can:

  • Provide some useful knowledge
  • Share a testimonial from a similar customer
  • Ask another clarifying question to get more info you can use
  • Educate them on how a certain product feature solves one of their problems

Pro Tip: The best way to make sure you follow up regularly with prospects is to use a communication-focused CRM, like Close. Use Close to track conversations, schedule follow-ups, and create automated email sequences.


6. Create a Sense of Urgency  (the Now or Never Close)

This common sales technique (known as both the now or never close or the takeaway close) involves offering your prospect a limited-time offer. You incentivize them to commit sooner by offering discounts or free add-ons that expire within a given period. 

Don't confuse this sales tactic with rushing your prospect—the last thing you want is to hard-close them into saying "no." The sale can still happen if they can’t commit to your time frame. Instead, give your potential customer a good reason to say yes now. 

If you can’t offer a discount or an add-on, you can create a sense of urgency by conveying the pain of inaction. You achieve this by framing the benefits of your solution as something they’re missing out on the longer they wait to move forward (also called loss aversion). 

Ask questions like: 

  • “How much is 'not solving this problem' going to cost you over the next six months?”
  • “How much better would things be if you made this change right now?”

Kate Petrone, Senior Account Executive at Close, adds this:

“My top tip for closing deals is creating a sense of urgency and loss aversion. Convey that the pain of inaction is greater than the pain of change. You can achieve this by using the prospect’s own words when objections come up

For example, you could say:

  • You mentioned leads are slipping through the cracks; what would happen if you continued with the way things are for the next 6 months?
  • What would happen if you implemented a change right now?"

7. Offer Them a Test Drive

The idea of the puppy dog close comes from pet stores that let buyers take home a puppy for a few days, then bring it back if they don’t want it. But what family can bring a puppy home to their kids only to rip it away after creating an emotional connection? 

This is also a common practice in software sales, where users can test out a trial version of the software before committing. If you offer a service like painting or auto repair, this might not work. But, if you have something that can be tested temporarily before buying, go all in on this.

Bonus points if you can tailor the test drive to meet real customer needs. 

When I was in software sales, I would ask prospects for some example data and spend a few hours configuring a demo version of the software with it. Almost always, they would be super impressed, and this greatly increased the chance they would buy. 

8. Go Through the Summary Close

Now that you’ve spent plenty of time uncovering needs and figuring out how your solution can solve them, you can wrap that up with a summary close. This basically reiterates everything that the prospect needs and shows how your solution solves each need. 

I would wrap things up in my day with a detailed proposal that did exactly this. At the end of this proposal, a quote with simple purchasing instructions will be included. They could pass this proposal around to other decision-makers, the procurement team, or anyone else who needed to approve it, and all the information was crystal clear. 

You can also use this approach over the phone or even email. To execute a summary close, you just need to:

  • Create a list of the top problems your prospect has
  • Clearly state how you solve them with the benefits of your product
  • Ask for the close

Summarizing the problems and solutions before asking for a close will greatly increase your chances of getting a yes. 

9. Overcome Their Objections

Just about every sales process will lead to difficult questions, pushback on pricing, and many other types of objections. If these didn’t happen, sales would be so easy and lucrative that everyone would want to do it.

Here are some of the most common objections you’ll face:

  • I don’t have the time
  • I don’t have the money
  • We decided things are fine the way they are

The best way to respond to these is with a question that reframes the objection favorably to you. Here’s an example:

  • Objection:  “We decided things are fine for now”
  • Reframing response: “I understand you came to me with a problem. How much is it costing you not to solve that problem?”

Over time, you’ll get used to repeatedly handling your industry’s most common objections. However, some training can prepare you to start reframing objections before your next sales call. 

10. Ask for the Sale (and Nail Your Closing Questions)

As many case studies have shown, the biggest mistake salespeople and founders can make is not asking for a sale. Perfecting both how and when to ask, “Are you ready to buy?” can help you close more deals faster. 

When is the right time to ask for the sale? If you’ve done your job qualifying your prospect and delivering your pitch and believe they’d be a good fit, just ask for the sale. 

If you’re in a longer sales process that requires other people's approval before closing, ask what the next steps are and how to take them. 

Say something like, “Hey, it seems you guys are a great fit. I’ve shown you how we’re going to solve your problems effectively. What’s the next step in your process to get you ready to buy?”

No matter what they say, you can follow up with:

“Okay, so once we [do what they said], what comes next?” 

Keep asking this question until you’ve uncovered the whole process, and you’ll know exactly what needs to get done for this customer to make the final purchase. 

During this process, objections will immediately come to the surface, allowing you to both identify and overcome them earlier in the process, rather than later. If the objection ends up being a hard no, then you’ll waste less time since you asked for the close. 

11. Expect Yes, Embrace No 

I once read an interesting book on sales called “Go for no! Yes is the destination, no is how you get there.” The central theme of this book is that instead of having a ‘yes’ quota, you should have a "no" quota.

The idea is that most sales professionals quit after they get enough ‘yesses’ to meet their quota, but they are leaving money on the table when they do. Instead, they should have a ‘no quota’ where they aim to get rejected a certain number of times instead. If the no quota is high enough, they’ll put in a lot more effort to get there and are sure to get more yesses along the way. 

When closing deals, you can apply this approach in a way that works for you. Don’t get complacent after getting a yes, but don’t give up after getting a no. The trick is to keep going regardless of what happens. 

Sales is a neverending numbers game. The more stamina and optimism you bring to the table, the richer you’ll get. 

12. Know When NOT to Close the Deal

Remember that it’s not always appropriate to ask for a sale. If you know that you haven’t fully solved their problem or got approval from the decision maker, asking for the close is not helpful. If you can’t reasonably expect them to say yes, wait. Otherwise, you’ll force a purchase decision too early and are more likely to get a no. 

Be sure to cross your I’s and dot your T’s before asking for that sale by ensuring all needs are met. 

Ready to Get Better at Closing Deals?

Sales is a long game that you get better at the more you play. However, educating yourself on how to play the game more effectively will help you attract more potential clients and get them to sign on the dotted line. 

At Close, we believe in empowering salespeople with the resources and sales tips they need to win more deals (in addition to fantastic CRM software). Check out these free sales educational resources that you can use to fill your sales pipeline and close more sales deals:

New to sales and want to learn everything from A to Z? Check out our ultimate guide to sales for beginners.

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