No matter how great your product or service is, you won’t make any money if you can’t close the sale. In this blog post, we’ll share five proven methods to close a sale in retail. Implement these techniques, and you’ll see an increase in sales and profits!
What are sales closing techniques?
Closing a sale is part of the sales process or sales cycle. It occurs when the potential client and sales rep or sales team agree to the conditions of a sale, and the customer makes a solid commitment to purchase the product. It is an important step; it represents the sum of the salesperson’s efforts. For this reason, closing the sale should not be seen as a transactional event but as the natural conclusion to the sales process.
This article discusses five modern sales closing techniques used in retail sales. These include:
- The Trial Close
- Now or Never Close
- Sharp Angle Close
- The Assumptive Close
- The Summary Close
Note: Closing a sale is part of customer relationship management. So, it is essential to execute sales in good faith to build trust and maintain loyal customers and additional sales in the future.
Method#1: The Trial Close
The purpose of trial closes is to test the buyer, identify their level of interest in a product or service and gauge the likelihood that they’ll make a purchase. To perform a trial close, a sales professional may ask a buyer open-ended questions that suggest the idea of closing. Following are some common trial closing questions:
- How do you feel about what we have discussed so far?
- Does this solution cover all of your concerns?
- Based on what you have heard so far, what do you think?
- Is there anything that you are not clear about?
- What changes would you make to the proposal if you had your way?
Trial close questions should be open-ended but asked in such a way that confirms the customer’s interest and probes for additional information that can help solidify the sale. A trial close will uncover three outcomes:
- Cold: If you get a cold response to a trial closing question, you need to ask more probing questions. They aren’t committing because a piece of the puzzle has not been solved to their satisfaction or it hasn’t been communicated effectively.
- Warm: If you get a warm response to your trial closing question, you know you are making progress. However, you will need to add value and use open-ended questions to probe for clues.
- Hot: If you get this type of response to your trial closing question, it is time to ask for the sale.
In case 1 or 2, you will have to continue adding value to the product to capture the customer’s interest and complete the sales deal.
Method#2: Now or Never Close
The Now or Never Close is a traditional sales close that promises extra benefits if prospective customers commit to purchasing now. This close incentivizes customers who are interested but not quite ready to decide. Therefore, the sales reps make an offer with an added benefit or discount that compels immediate action. For example:
- “If you sign up for a membership today, I can give you a 30% discount and wave the initiation fee.”
- “If you commit to buying now, I can move you to the front of the line.”
- “I can give you a discounted price of 10%, but you have to take it home today!”
This technique is also known as the Urgency Close because it adds an opportunity to cost as a variable. If the buyer does not act today, they could lose an added benefit or save money. It’s a proven method that creates a sense of urgency for fence-sitting customers.
Note: this method has the best chance of success when enough value has been developed through the entire sales process.
Method#3: Sharp Angle Close
The Sharp Angle Close allows salespeople to deal with a customer’s objection to move forward with the sale. For example, the customer will provide verbal cues objecting to 1-2 details they disagree with or prevent them from purchasing. It is up to the sales rep to act on those cues when they present themselves:
Customer: “Is the weekly payment schedule the only option? And, why are these administrative fees so high?”
Sales Rep: “If we switch to a monthly payment schedule and reduce the administrative fees by 50%, can we move forward with the order today?”
In most cases, the customer is in a stronger negotiating position than the sales rep, and both parties are aware of this dynamic. Therefore, prospective clients are usually confident in asking for price reductions, better payment terms, or additional benefits; experienced salespeople expect this. Also, when preparing to meet with a client, salespeople should discuss what is negotiable and non-negotiable regarding other benefits and discounts with your sales manager.
Method#4: Assumptive Close
The assumptive close, also called the presumptive close, is a technique that uses phrases and questions to imply that the prospect is going to make a purchase. For instance, instead of asking the prospective customer if they would like to buy product XYZ, the sales rep uses the presumptive language:
- “I can send it next week. Are you able to receive deliveries on Mondays?”
- “Which type of _____________________ do you want in your shipment?”
- “When should we begin implementation?”
- “Do you have a starting date in mind?
Assumptive Sales Phrases
- “This protein powder is an excellent choice for your workout schedule; the ingredients are vegetable-based. Also, what flavor energy bars would you like in your order? We have peanut butter, chocolate, and very berry.”
- “If you give me your credit card information, I can start the paperwork now…”
- “You would pay us in three installments starting today, and the next step would be to schedule you for an assessment; we have a space available next Monday at 9 am, does that work for you?”
The assumptive close presumes the prospective buyer has already made the mental buying decision. Hence, the idea is to finish the sale using call-to-action (CTA) language to move forward.
Method#5: The Summary Close
The summary close assumes that the customer is considering several brands/models simultaneously and is buried in the competitor details, features, benefits, warranties, and prices. Thus, the summary-close clarifies your company’s product’s benefits and features, separating it from the rest and simplifying the buyer’s decision-making process.
Summarize the list of benefits that the customer will receive, informing them to:
- List the total value they are getting for their money.
- Make it sound impressive,
- Use simple but attractive words or easy-to-understand phrases.
- Fit the description into a reasonable space of time.
Summary Close sample script
“So this laptop has 16 gigabytes of ram, one terabyte solid-state hard disk, 1920 x 1080 HD-resolution touch-screen monitor, Windows 10, one year manufacturer’s warranty, and it is $99, cheaper than XYZ retailer.”
“TimeWellScheduled is a scheduling software system that can save you thousands of dollars when you consider scheduling issues such as time theft, time spent on manual calculations, and human error. In addition:
- TimeWellScheduled will help dramatically reduce the number of hours spent processing time and attendance.
- Provide real solutions to real issues,
- empower you with informed real-time decision-making capabilities to easily convert data into actionable, valuable information.”
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The goal of the summary close is to impress the customer with what they are getting and not bore or confuse them with details.
Ten Sample Closing phrases used by sales professionals (CSPA)
The following are ten phrases used by sales professionals proven to close sales. Adapt and practice these phrases to fit the products you sell and support the closing techniques we discussed in this article.
The Trial Close
“Would you like to get going with this solution?”
“It seems like our product is a great fit for your company. What do you think?”
“Would you like my help?”
“Why don’t you give it/us a try?”
“I’m conscious that you have another meeting; being mindful of your time, shall we move to the actual pricing and agreement?”
Now or Never Close
“This is the last item on sale. I sold everything out!”
“If you sign up today, I can get you a 20% discount.”
“We only offer that discount until the end of the day.”
Sharp Angle Close
“Is there any reason you wouldn’t do business with our company if we gave you the product at this rate?”
“You mentioned that you need this solution in place by X (date); let’s look at our calendars and set out when we need to begin implementation.”
The Assumptive Close
“Let’s move forward. I can send the contract today.”
“Looking at your needs and requirements, I believe either of these solutions would work for you. Would you like to go with X or Y?”
“If you have no more questions or concerns, I think we’re ready to get started.”
The Summary Close
“So we have the XYZ washing machine with brushless motor, the 12-year comprehensive guarantee, and our free delivery and installation service. When would be a good time to deliver?”
Closing a sale is a form of art. It takes finesse, strategy, positive thinking, and sometimes luck. But with the right closing technique in your toolbox, you can increase your odds of converting retail sales. We’ve shared five sales closing methods that have been proven to work time and again. Now it’s up to you to put them into practice and start generating more sales for your business.
Thank you for reading our article!
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