Among all the challenges sales reps face day in and day out, closing is often said to be the hardest to manage.
And it’s true—being an effective closer is key to killing it in this industry. But there’s more to closing than most reps think. And there are ways to make closing easier, more effective, and less of a stressful debacle.
Today we’re covering how to stop selling and start closing. It’s just one more invaluable sales skill that, once mastered, will secure your success throughout your entire career.
Now, let’s get real here. For a lot of reps, asking for the sale sucks.
Most Sellers Hate Closing
Think about it for a sec—how do you feel about it?
If you’re like nearly forty percent of reps out there, it’s probably the hardest part of your job. The stress, the awkwardness, the potential for weeks of work going down the drain if you’re hit with a “No.”
But the problem is a lot of reps go about this stage all wrong. They try to close on leads at the end of the sales process rather than throughout it. They’re trying to say all the magic words to get their buyer onboard without checking in at each stage of their journey. They’re selling when they should be closing. And closing continuously.
Now don’t worry—if this is all sounding a bit out-there and you aren’t sure what this looks like in practice, I’ve got your back. This blog dives into exactly how to start continuously closing in the real world.
Before we get into the how of continuously closing, let’s first look at the why. Why should you switch up your closing process at all?
Well, there are three reasons in particular. First…
A) It Keeps Everyone on Track
There’s often a disconnect between buyers and sellers on exactly where they’re at in the sales process. Are they highly motivated to purchase, even before the day’s out? Or are they just testing the waters? And what comes next if they agree to a call?
When you close continuously, everyone knows where they are, what stage is next, and what’s to come later.
B) No Value Is Delivered With Maybes
A sale has value when your buyer agrees to a purchase—duh, that’s the point. But it also has value with a “no.” After all, a no means you get a better idea of the buyer’s objections. Whether or not they’re truly qualified. And, of course, a no also frees up your time to concentrate on other, better leads.
But maybes are time-wasters. They suck up hours of the day, even weeks in some industries. And if by the end of it all there’s no deal, that’s just energy that could be spent elsewhere.
But when you’re continuously closing, you’re sussing out exactly where the buyer stands. Forcing a yes or no. And eliminating maybes altogether.
C) When You Close, You Win
Confused leads don’t buy. They string you along for ages and, eventually, drop you like a bad habit.
And when you aren’t closing throughout the sales process, your prospects won’t know exactly what step of the sales process they’re in. They’ll be confused.
But when you practice continuous closing, you avoid that confusion altogether. And in the end, that means you win.
So now, let’s dive into the how of it all. How do you stop selling and start closing? Well, the first step is to…
Always be closing. Yeah yeah, we’ve all heard the famous line before. “A, always. B, be. C, closing”… “coffee is for closers”… what rep with an ounce of cinematic taste hasn’t seen Glengarry Glenn Ross at least three times?
But what does the ABC of selling look like in practice?
For one thing, you should always be closing at minimum at the end of every interaction.
Friendly interaction with a new lead? Schedule a discovery call before the convo’s done. Just finished a discovery call? Close the next step by booking a demo. Demo gone great? Set up a time to chat about sales objections and the finer details.
Do not—I repeat—do not leave it to the prospect to take the lead here. If you let them get out of a conversation without booking the next step, you’ve just plummeted the chances of moving forward tenfold.
Now, you should also be closing within the conversation, not just at the end. Here’s what that might look like in practice. You may say…
“So it seems like you’re interested in X feature. Does it make sense that I show you how it’ll interface with your business?”
“Does it make sense that [objection] isn’t a concern anymore?”
When you close within conversations, you’re gaining mini commitments along the way that keep everyone on the same page and boost rapport at the same time.
And in fact, these examples bring us nicely to our next point because they use a very key piece of language. Did you catch it?
This simple phrase is vital to the last point we’re talking about today…
2) The Closing Framework
The Closing Framework makes closing continuously or “micro closing” incredibly simple.
All you have to do is ask…
“Does it make sense to…”
- “Does it make sense to… get on the phone and see if we’re a fit.”
- “Does it make sense to set up an in-person demo?”
- “Does it make sense to start talking numbers?”
The way this question works is it makes micro-closing a collaborative process. You’re showing that you care about whether you and the buyer are on the same page. As President of People First Productivity Solutions Deb Calvert told me in our interview:
“The fastest, quickest way to get away from that being perceived as a pushy salesperson who just wants to reach into my pocket, is that you’ve asked me a question, or you’ve somehow demonstrated that you care about me and you’re interested in where I want to go and what’s important to me.”
And it works because it…
- Relieves pressure from the buyer who’s probably expecting overly aggressive old-school closing tactics.
- It updates the buyer on where they are in the buying process and lets them know what to expect next. And…
- It forces the buyer to think logically about moving forward rather than emotionally on what could be at stake. Is this really a fit after all?
Now, ideally they’re going to respond with a hearty “YES!” But as we all know, buyers will always have objections.
So what happens when they say it doesn’t make sense to move forward?
Also simple—you get to the bottom of why.
Why doesn’t this make sense right now? Why aren’t they interested in moving to the next step?
And in practice, the best way of doing so looks like this:
“That’s okay, what would be a good next step to move things forward?”
Essentially, what do you need for this to be a winner on your end?
The best thing here is you don’t have to be a mind reader. Instead, they’ll literally tell you what’s holding them back. Their objections, their unclear value understanding, their timeline—whatever.
And with that information, you can further assess if the buyer is a good fit, if your product meets their needs, and what objections you need to address before closing the deal.
It doesn’t get much simpler. And it’s a proven method for driving more sales and crushing your quota.