Closing is a must-have skill. This is whether you sell stocks, are a freelancer, or an entrepreneur. You simply need to know how to sell.
Selling goes beyond the exchange of currency. Knowing how to sell or close can pivot other facets of life. This can happen in a way you couldn’t even imagine. This is why it’s an important skill to learn.
Two years ago, (2018) I wanted to know how to close. I started searching. What I wanted was a step by step closing process that could get me to close in a matter of hours.
After spending hours, I didn’t find what I was looking for. All I found were techniques, tactics, tips, strategies, and general information on closing. My hours of search ended up being days of research.
Finally, I developed what I wanted and compiled it in handwritten notes.
Fast forward to 2020, I decided to check again and nothing had changed much. This is what inspired me to write this piece.
Step 1: Start With An Open-ended Question (Macro-questions).
An open-ended question is a question that requires a bit of explanation. Closed-ended questions require a short answer. Mostly a yes or no answer.
A macro-question is a question enquiring about general information about the business in this case.
The first step is to start with an open-ended macro question.
The purpose of this is to start with a discussion. This is the first time to speak with the prospect. The discussion is the beginning of building rapport while being viewed as an expert.
In other terms starting with a discussion helps break the ice by starting a valuable conversion between you and the prospect.
Examples would be,
“Before we begin I would like to know your goals and where you need more help.”
“Before we get started I would like to know what motivates you to speak with us today?”
“To get us started I would like to know what do you hope to accomplish with us”
Step 2: Ask Micro-questions (Important Details And Qualification).
Micro questions are specific questions, not general questions. This can be both open-ended and closed questions.
Depending on what you are trying to sell, these questions will help you in three ways.
- Gather massive intelligence to help you close them latter
- Know your prospect deeper (the deeper you know them, the higher your chance of closing them). Go deeper than anyone else. (If you do this right after the sale the client will email you and say thank you. Thank you for caring that much and listening to them.
- Qualify your Customer
Ask them things pertaining to their business i.e
- Who is their customer?
- Their lead generation strategy?
- About their website or funnel?
- Questions about their social media pages etc.
Product selling example
Let’s say you are selling laptops. Some of the questions can be:
- How they will use the laptop? This will help you recommend the best laptop accordingly.
- how many hours they will use the laptop in a day? (Going deeper). If they are not heavy users you can recommend manufacturer refurbished laptops.
That was just an example. You need to create a closing manual for yourself and probably a script later on.
Qualification is part of the second step. Every closer should qualify a prospect.
You don’t want to sell your product or service to someone who doesn’t really need it.
The questions you ask them should answer these questions.
Are they a good fit for what you sell?
Will they benefit massively after the purchase?
This will help them get the most value, be happy customers, and reduce the refund rate. If they are not a good fit, move to the next prospect. Don’t be afraid to say no, you are the one in charge here.
Qualification questions examples
- Ask them about their process of buying, buying decisions and who makes the decision. Example:
“how do you go along finalizing your business deals?”
This will give you knowledge of what to expect.
“who makes the buying decisions?”
If they are not themselves you can go deeper and know their role in finalizing the deal. You can also request them to refer you to the right person. This will help you save time in case you are communicating with the wrong person.
2. Ask them how soon they need a product or service. This will help you know their urgency and seriousness.
“When do you want to have it?” (Product)
“When do you want it done?” (Service)
If the urgency is not there you can take their contact and hit them up biweekly or monthly as a follow-up.
You can also try to use the intelligence you already have to create a solid argument on why they need your product or service now and how it will benefit them. The argument should come last after you are done with gathering massive intelligence by asking relevant questions.
Those were just examples. In your closing manual, you need to come up with relevant qualification questions that much your business or industry.
Step 3: Identify Their Goals.
This step involves finding what is most important to them. What they care the most about.
Find their one thing, after finding their one thing, find other things that are most important to them.
B2b example: Is it increasing sales, increasing profit margins, reducing expenses, increasing the revenue, etc.
Product example (Laptop): Is it the CPU, is it the RAM (is there a lot of multitasking), is it the portability, etc.
Knowing their one thing helps you suffice it, this is something you cannot sacrifice. It has to be met by your offering.
The more you understand your prospect the more your chances of closing them.
Question example: B2b
“If we were to meet again in 5 years and your business has grown massively and had huge success. What would be the one thing responsible for success?”
After finding their one thing, go deeper. Find other things they care the most about.
A going deeper follow up question would be:
How would things be different in terms of your business operation?
This will give you a good picture and a whole idea of the future they want and what are the most important elements to get them there according to them.
These elements can be used to track progress, measure KPI’s, and craft your offering.
Another example: b2b
“If this meeting accomplished everything you could possibly wish for, what would that look like?”
Going deeper example:
“Why is it important to you?”
Question example: Product (Laptop)
“If you were to buy a laptop then we talk again 1 year later, what is the one thing that can make you say you bought a good laptop?”
These are just examples. I hope we are on the same page. For your products or services, craft questions that are relevant to what you offer.
Step 4: Identify Their Gaps
The purpose of this step is to identify the gaps and make them vivid to the prospect.
With clear gaps, you don’t have to chase the sale. In fact, they might close themselves into the sale. Example of prospect response.
“it’s done, when can we get started?”
Make sure they fully understand their current situation. This will trigger a desire for change. The change will be your product or service.
Your goal here is to identify the gaps, make them vivid, and finally create a huge irresistible desire.
People buy mainly for two reasons.
- To solve a problem.
- To gain something.
More people buy to solve a problem than they buy to gain something
Question examples to identify gaps by the above two reasons:
Example (Reason 1)
“What are some of the key problems you are dealing with today?”
Example (Reason 2)
“What are some of the key things you need more of that you don’t have today?
Good going deeper question:
“Tell me more.”
Go deeper with these two questions
“What are you doing today to help address these problems?”
“What are you doing today or using to address these needs”
Probably they won’t be doing much. This is where you get the chance to create a huge irresistible desire for your product or service.
Step 5: Identify Current Environment And Cost
This refers to the current environment of a business. Their spending, expenses, and purchases.
Money is at the core of every business and it means a lot.
Remember the previous step we asked about their current problems and what they are doing to address them. In this step, we direct the conversion to cost, budget, and finances.
We ask them what they are doing is costing them. Basically going deeper and touching what they care most about, money.
“You told me you use Print Ads to get more leads which typically doesn’t get you the results that you want, what is that costing you today?”
Cost is not just what they are spending but also what they are missing. You can use hooks that show them what they are missing.
In your closing manual go deeper than this. Let them do the talking, make them feel something.
This is also a good time to determine their spending comfort zones. This will help you pick deliverables that suites them and their spending habits.
Step 6: The Transition, Presentation, And Trial Closes
You are now done asking smart questions. It’s time for the transition, presentation, and trial closes.
What should be going through your prospect’s mind is, this person listens to me better than anybody else, they really care about me and they understand me.
Transition Question Example:
“If I were to show you a seamless way to help you (repeat key goals), would that be of interest to you?”
“If I were to show you a seamless better way to help you get more leads, increase your revenue, and eventually hit $500,000 a month mark, would that be of interest to you?”
If the answer is yes or suggests acceptance you have a highly qualified lead. This will trigger the presentation.
Don’t make false bold statements, lol. That was just a B2B example.
Transition Statements Example:
“I have the following recommendation.”
“Here is what we will do.”
“This is how we can proceed.”
“From our conversation, this (product or service) is perfect, here is how.”
“Based on what you told us, we are capable of (key goals) and (time), let me tell you how.”
“Based on what you told us, we are capable of increasing your revenue to $100,000 a month in 6 six months, let me tell how.
These statements trigger the presentation.
During the presentation, use the intelligence gathered to form a logical tight case.
Don’t forget to press those emotion buttons in your presentation. First, satisfy the logical mind then deal with emotions.
Don’t just talk and talk. Keep it simple and concise. Let the prospect respond and engage, and if possible let them do the majority of the talking.
Use trial closes i.e
- Sound good?
- Are you getting this?
- Is this making sense?
- Don’t you agree?
- Do you get it?
- Is this not on another level?
- Do you agree?
- Are you with me on this?
Trial closes are very powerful. They get the prospect to say yes! in their mind before ever saying yes to pulling out their credit card. This satisfies their logical mind making it easy for them to purchase your product or service.
Step 7: Asking For The Sale
After satisfying the logical mind (by creating a logic tight case and using trial closes) and dealing with emotions (by pressing those emotion buttons), proceed to ask for the sale.
At this point asking for the sale shouldn’t be difficult. Sales talk may happen automatically in the presentation which is perfectly fine. If you have done everything right, sometimes you don’t even have to ask for the sale. The prospects ask for the sale themselves.
Asking for sale statements example:
“We charge $1000 for a one-hour consultation session, what do you think?”
“We will charge you $5000 to write a copy of your funnel, is that okay with you?”
“I will create you a logo, illustrations for your website, and social media designs. The project total is $5000. Are you comfortable with that?”
Again, just examples. Be creative.
The answers you get will fall into these 3 categories.
- Yes (acceptance). i.e “Am okay with that, how can we proceed?”
- Maybe (Not sure/Objection) i.e “The pandemic hit us hard. That price is too high.” Objections are common.
- No (Straight rejection) i.e “No! I am no longer interested.” Very rare. When common it’s a sign of bad prospecting and poor intelligence gathering.
Step 8: Objection Handling
Object handling is very vital.
The majority of the leads are likely to reach this point. These leads can be closed with good objection handling.
Good objection handling increases your closing ratio.
There is no one-liner to handle all the objections. Each objection is handled uniquely. It all narrows down to one thing, giving them a reason to buy in your response.
Giving them a reason to buy
1. Use comparison to build a logic tight case.
Response example 1:
“The price is less than a cup of coffee a day in 2 months, and what do you get in return? Software that makes your team be more organized and productive.”
“From the data that we have, this alone can increase your revenue by up to 50%.”
“You told me you make $400,000 a month. Add 30% as a result of more work getting done. How would this impact the future of the company? For the price of less than a cup of coffee a day for 2 months.”
“Am in! How can we get started?”
Congrats, You made it!
That’s how to do it.
Response example 2:
“That price is high, can you give a discount?”
“We don’t give discounts here. If I give a discount what does that communicate about the products and services we provide?”
“The quality can be questionable.”
“You get what you pay for. If you want, we have split payments. Is that okay with you?
“That’s better, how do we proceed?”
Congrats! Client closed.
2. Change their perspective of the sale.
When you don’t seem to close a client, most at times what’s preventing you from closing them is their perspective of the sale.
To close them you need to change their perspective. Use this as your final effort to close a client.
A good way to do this is by eliminating the risk and plug the true core benefit.
Use the following to eliminate risk.
- Money-back guarantee
- Free trial
- Free returns
- Performance-based pricing
Response example 1: Product
“What is the worst thing that happens? Let’s say am wrong and you don’t like it, you can return it with free return and get a full refund with a money-back guarantee.”
“On the other side of the coin. If I am right. You will have a custom aquarium that brightens your day and makes you more productive. Your environment is a key element to your success.”
You see how we added value to the aquarium by associating it with success. Mentioning success brings in emotions as well.
You can also leverage others’ authority in your responses. In your closing guide, keep testing things out to see what works best.
“On the flip side, if it is close to what I say it is, you will have a custom aquarium in your office. According to the WHO, having an aquarium in an office brightens your day makes you more productive. More work gets done.”
Response Example 2: SaaS
“Let’s say am wrong and the software doesn’t work for you. You can request for the money-back guarantee no questions asked and receive your full refund. Will that destroy your life.”
“On the other side of the coin, let’s assume I was somehow right. Your business now has the ability to make 6 figures a month. You will be in for a treat.”
“I agree with you. Let’s give it a try,”
Congrats! You just closed a prospect.
Response example 3: Services
“How about we do this performance-based. I will write you a copy. We will then test the current copy against my copy. If my copy makes you more money you will pay $5,000 for the copy. Is that okay?”
I don’t recommend a money-back guarantee and performance-based pricing when offering services. This is because a lot of unrecoverable time and energy will be spent. With a decent portfolio and some social proof, you shouldn’t stretch yourself that much just to land a client.
Unless you are a complete beginner with nothing to show. This tactic can be good to get your foot on the door.
Changing the client perspective is not something you should do that often, unless if you have money-back guarantees, free trials, free returns or support a performance-based pricing model. Otherwise don’t go that route.
Pushing too hard is likely to get you (pain in the ass clients) bad clients. Those clients that ask you for 1000 revisions, always bugging you, return most of their purchases, etc. You don’t want to get to this rabbit hole.
If you listened to them, qualified them, created a logic tight case in your presentation, and another in your objection handling while pressing those emotional buttons. You should be good. Anybody who was to buy will have bought by this point.
I gave a lot of examples to help you craft your own closing guide no matter what you do or what niche you are in. I also spend more time on objection handling. This can make or break your closing ratio.
What if, the prospect doesn’t close
Leave them alone. Move to the next. You are the one in charge here, you choose who to work with.
Depending on your niche, you can keep their contact info and make a follow-up call monthly or biweekly. During these calls, you can give them updates which can include persuasive hooks.
In some niches like real estate, a lot of sales come from follow-up. Follow-up can be in the form of value-based emails, phone calls, or both. In any case, regardless of the niche, you should have an email list for your business.
Talk less. Let the client do the majority of the talking. This will make them feel more understood. Listen twice as much as you talk.
Go deeper. I cannot emphasize this enough. Don’t ask a question then jump straight to the next one. You will come out as an inquisitor but not as an expert friend who wants to help. Going deeper makes them feel you care.
Going deeper mini questions you can use.
- Tell me more?
- Why do you say that?
- Explain what you mean by that?
- What do you mean?
- What does that mean to you?
- Why? etc.
You can also be creative. Add your own twist. Formulate your own. Grab them from your prospect responses etc.
Write down/Note down. When gathering intelligence by asking smart questions, note down their responses. You will need this information in your presentation.
Zoom in, zoom out, and vice versa. Don’t ask two micro questions back to back or two closed questions back to back. This applies to the main questions not going deeper questions.
This helps ease things a bit make the conversion feel natural at the same time professional.
A lot of closers struggle with sales since closing is asking for a sale in a smarter way. Let me address some common issues constantly raised.
A sale is a process. It involves both the selling(closing) and the positioning. Sales are easy with good positioning, you don’t have to strive hard for the sale.
If you are starting out or lack positioning, you should strive for the sale. There is no shortcut.
When closing, don’t chase the dollar. Evaluate the value you can provide. Value first.
Nothing beats numbers. The more people you get on a closing call the more money you are likely to make. This is what differentiates those that make $5k a month and those that make $50k a month. The latter make 10X more closing calls.