15 Effective Techniques for Closing Sales to Meet Targets

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 18 January 2023

Published 4 May 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Learning how to close a sale is a key skill that helps sales professionals succeed in their roles. Effective sales professionals use a variety of techniques to close sales with different clients. Understanding these techniques and when to use them can help you meet and exceed your sales targets. In this article, we explain what closing sales means and list some of the best sales closings.

What does closing sales mean?

Closing sales is the process of converting a sales lead to a paying customer. The term refers to the achievement of the desired outcome, such as exchanging money or acquiring a signature. Skills for closing sales, including communication and negotiation, can help salespeople effectively implement techniques to close sales. Closing is the final step in the sales process.

Related: How to Monitor Sales KPIs (With Benefits and Tips)

15 effective closing sales techniques

Here are some of the common sales closes you can use to convert customers:

1. Direct close

The direct close is a simple closing technique where the salesperson directly asks the customer to purchase a product or service. You can lead up to a direct close with a question that assesses the customer's readiness to buy. For example, you could ask ‘What do you think of that price?' or ‘How do those terms sound to you?' The direct close approach is best used to speed up closing when you are confident the customer is ready to buy.

2. Alternative choice close

In the alternative choice close, the salesperson presents the potential customer with two alternative choices, which both lead to the sale closing. For example, a car salesperson may say to a customer, ‘That's a great truck. Would you prefer it in red or white?' An alternative choice close is a great option for dealing with customers who seem very interested in purchasing.

3. Apology close

A salesperson giving an apology close assumes fault for the customer's hesitance and attempts to make amends. For example, you may say ‘I'm sorry. I think somewhere along the line I made you reconsider your purchase. Perhaps I left out some important information in my pitch. We both know this is the ideal offering for you, so the fault is all mine'. An apology close is a good option for dealing with customers wavering on the purchase. An apology close can win over the customer and help them connect to you. This connection can inspire the person to purchase.

4. Balance sheet close

The balance sheet close sees a salesperson making a balance sheet, or list of pros and cons, with the customer. Through this process, you can attempt to show the customer that the benefits of the product or service far outweigh the drawbacks. When the customer suggests cons, you can rebut the points they make. The balance sheet approach works well for customers who want to take charge of the purchasing process. It helps you show, rather than tell, the customer that purchasing is the best choice for them.

Related: How to Create a Meaningful Pro-Con List

5. Presumptive close

The salesperson, using a presumptive close, acts as if the customer has already agreed to the sale. For example, you might say something like ‘If you have your credit card handy, I can process the deposit right now'. You could also ask the customer how many products they might like or when you can deliver the service. A presumptive close is a good approach for dealing with customers who seem timid or quiet. The reserved temperament means the customer may prefer to go along with the sale than speak up.

6. Negative assumption close

A salesperson using the negative assumption close asks the customer two key questions. First, ‘Do you have any further questions for me?' and second, ‘Is there anything stopping you from buying this product or service?' They continue asking the two questions, eliminating any barriers the customer has until they agree to the purchase. A negative assumption close asks the customer to justify a nonpurchase decision. Customers who struggle to articulate clear nonpurchasing reasons may decide to purchase. The negative assumption close can be a good way to convert a customer wavering about their decision.

7. Sharp angle close

A salesperson using a sharp angle close capitalises on a customer's request and uses their consent to close a sale. For example, if a customer asks a landscaper if they can get their backyard landscaped within the next month, the landscaper may say ‘If I guarantee it, do I get the job?' The sharp angle close is a great technique for closing sales with customers who make their preferences known, so long as the business can meet their requests.

8. Minor point close

In the minor point close, the salesperson finds several minor points with which the customer agrees with them. They then leverage this agreement to move the sale along. For example, you might ask a customer whether they agree that the best vehicle for them seats seven passengers, has a strong safety record and the latest active driver assistance features as standard. If the customer agrees to these points, you could show the customer a vehicle that meets this criterion. As the customer knows the vehicle fits their requirements, they're in a more agreeable mindset to buy.

9. Cradle to grave close

A salesperson using a cradle to grave close encourages customers to make a purchase now. For example, you may emphasise a current, limited-time promotion. You could also suggest another reason for purchasing now, such as noting that the warm weather ensures they can get a lot of use from a new air-conditioner. A cradle to grave close can help convert a customer who says they want to go away and think about their options.

10. Possibility of loss close

A salesperson using the possibility of loss close technique points out the potential negative impact of a nonpurchase. They frame purchasing as an opportunity that the customer may miss unless they buy today. For example, a real estate agent may state that prices in the area are due to rise soon, as customers may pay more for a comparable property if they delay. The possibility of loss close plays on the fear of missing out. It can be an effective technique for closing sales with people who seek bargains or who want to keep pace with other people they know.

Related: 15 Essential Sales Tips That Drive Sales and Business Profit

11. Takeaway close

The takeaway close uses reverse psychology by suggesting the salesperson is ready to take the opportunity away from the customer. For example, you may state the product ‘might not be a good fit' for the customer. The takeaway close encourages customers to think about what they really want. It can also make products or services seem more desirable, as it's natural to want what now seems off-limits or unattainable. The takeaway close can be an effective way to close sales with customers who've shown interest without committing.

Related: Sales Prospect: Definition, Benefits and How to Find

12. Puppy dog close

A salesperson using the puppy dog close offers the customer the chance to trial the product or service before purchasing it. The salesperson hopes once the customer uses the product or service and can assess its quality and usefulness, they can more confidently make a purchase decision. A puppy dog close is a good option for customers who seem hesitant to try something new.

13. Sales contest close

During the sales contest close, the salesperson offers a customer special bonus offers to close the sale. For example, you may offer a customer free delivery, free installation and free removal of their old appliance. This approach plays on the concept that if you had a puppy dog for a few days, you're likely to fall in love and adopt it. The sales contest close can be a great way to remove common purchase barriers, such as how the customer can get the product home and what they might do with their old product.

Related: Car Salesperson Resume Guide (With a Resume Template)

14. Scale close

The salesperson using a scale close asks the customer to rate their interest in the product or service on a scale of one to 10, with one being no interest and 10 being ready to purchase. Customer ratings can tell you if you've effectively communicated the product's or service's value. Using the scale close also gives you the opportunity to address any concerns, by asking customers if there's anything could do to improve the rating. Sometimes addressing these concerns can effectively convert the customer. This approach also shows you care about customers and serving them better, which can build trust.

15. Summary close

A summary close involves summarising a product's or service's features and benefits to close a sale. You might use a summary close during a long sales cycle, such as a business-to-business sale. A summary close refreshes a customer's memory about everything that's attractive about the product or service so they can make the most informed decision.

Explore more articles