23 Experts On Closing The Sale

by Corey Philip
May 11, 2018

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There’s nothing like walking away from a sale without a deposit in hand.  It hurts.  Particularly when selling home services, which usually requires a significant time commitment to to put together an estimate.  Sure you can, and should follow up (I recommend using strategic Facebook Ads to maintain connection after an estimate which I cover in my course), but the best time to close is when you’re right there in front of the customer!

It’s also an essentially free way of boosting the bottom line.  Often overlooked, while many search for additional advertising methods, bumping up your closing rate 10% will increase your profitability with no additional overhead costs.

Today we’ve got 23 sales experts, across multiple verticals chiming in with their advice on closing the sale.  You’ll notice a few common trends, all of which could easily be applied to your sales process.

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Matt Norman

President and CEO, Dale Carnegie North Central US


The biggest advice I’d have would be to ask questions about the person and what’s important in their life, not just about their wants/needs for the service. Knowing what a person values strengthens trust and makes the case for working together. Consider the example of the three bricklayers, each specializing in laying bricks. When asked about their work, the first talks about laying bricks, the second talks about building walls, and the third talks about building palaces. They each do the same work but they think and talk about their work from different perspectives. One is tactical, one is project-oriented, the third is big-picture. So, ask questions and listen carefully to how people describe the “palace” that they are trying to build (literally and figuratively), and then talk like a palace builder.

Very unique point, the same scope can be presented (heard) in many ways, it is up to you to control that message (ahem differentiation).


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Jeff Davis

International Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author at Jeff Davis International


As a contractor and service business owner, it’s easy to smoothly go through your entire sales presentation without asking for the sale. When you do this, you take away the possibility of success. When you feel that intuitive nudge to ask for the sale, say, “Are you ready for the next step?” Respectfully asking the potential customer if they’re ready for the next step makes it non-threatening for them. From there, asking for and closing the sale will be the natural next step in the process.

Boom! Ask and thou shall receive. I can’t tell you how many sales people have worked for me, and have many great conversations with customers only to never get a deposit. Why? Because they usually don’t ask for the sale!


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May McCarthy

Chief Empowerment Officer, Bizzultz, LLC


Usually I recommend that sales presentations address solving customer problems and/or providing a convenience. Lots of people present solutions and conveniences effectively but forget to ask for the sale – they don’t close the sale. This is key to getting more sales.

For the close, I often use the assumption and choice closes.

    1. Assumption close – assumes they’ll buy based on their affirmative responses in the conversation. “I’m delighted that you see the value in having/using ________ and we can get started right away. Are mornings or afternoons best for your schedule to have my team out here?”
    2. Choice close – gives them a choice of when to start, how to pay, features, etc. “I so happy that you’ve decided to save some money with the use of a high efficiency _____. Would you prefer to complete your order with a check or would a credit card be more convenient for you to use?”

Ah here it is again asking for the sale! Clearly May has seen what I have as well. It doesn’t matter what you’re selling, you need to ask for a sale.


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Carson Heady

Corporate Territory Manager, Microsoft


To close more sales during the appointment, be personable, do less talking than they do, and aim your focus solely on finding ways to add value – even if you do not see the immediate benefit. Customers become clients and relationships when there is rapport, trust and mutual respect; ask thoughtful questions and be genuine with respectful responses and suggestions. If you come across as sincerely trying to support and service, the temperature will be a lot more ripe for a customer to decide they want to change their way of doing things. Ultimately, you don’t sell them anything; they choose to change their behavior because of recommendations from a trusted source. You can become that trusted source by understanding their process, finding any weaknesses or gaps in it, and showing them that the risk to change is less than the risk of remaining status quo.

‘Becoming the trusted source is powerful. If you can do this, you can sell more than you need!


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Jeff Koser

Founder & CEO, Selling To Zebras


Sales people think they can still show up and ask “What keeps you up at night?” That question proves you didn’t prepare and ready to waste the executives time.

Prepare by coming with answers to questions that they don’t even know to ask. They will view you as an expert, because you’ll be behaving like one.

Great advice. Think of your service and what none of your competitors are telling customers about it. Now frame that information with a question that leads to it. It can be done for anything.


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Ben Brown

Owner, 360 Sales Consulting


The main thing is to have a sales process. If you don’t then you are just winging it and not able to track and improve a process.

Find the emotional trigger that will find out the end result of what would happen if they do or don’t use us. You are a problem solver.

Also always ask for referrals. Most businesses don’t have this in their sale process.

A sales process. I’ve said it many times… don’t show up just to give an estimate. Have a process that leads to closing. In the fb group you can find my 5 step plan of attack that works for me!


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Jen Grisanti

Jen Grisanti, Story/Career Consultant, Writing Instructor at NBC


A great way to close more sales is to identify the dilemma that your customer is facing and be clear how your services answer this dilemma.


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Lou Carlozo

Managing Editorr, BAI


Light sales humor goes a long way! There’s been significant research that shows lightening up a sales negotiation with humor can result in a boost to your bottom line, both with higher volume and margin. I suggest taking a look at my in depth post covering this here.

Excellent input and blog post there by Lou which I suggest checking out! One thing I have noticed, and thought about prior to Lou’s input was that some of the goofiest people I know, that keep customers laughing the whole time, sell quite a bit. Apparently there is some science and evidence behind it which I plan on researching more!


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Mike Montague

Vice President of Online Learning & Development, Sandler Systems, Inc.

Sandler Training

Most traditional salespeople follow the qualify, present, and close model of selling. Instead, try to think about a qualify, close, and then present scenario.

Imagine a world where you only gave presentations, proposals or quotes to people who had already agreed to work with you and you knew would say yes to the quote. Wouldn’t that be better than high-pressure closes of traditional sales?

The best way to pull that off is by placing your emphasis on the qualification phase of your sales interview. If the prospect doesn’t have a problem you can solve, the budget to fix it, or the decision-making authority and process to say yes, then it doesn’t matter what you do in the presentation or the close!

However, if you find a prospect who has a strong need to fix a problem and is willing and able to hire you to fix it, then the close is easy, and your presentation becomes a fulfillment of your agreement.


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Henry DeVries

CEO | Acquisitions Editor, Indie Books International


To close more sales you need to monopolize the listening. First ask them. “What would you like to see happen?” Then ask them what they have tried and what the roadblocks are. Prove you have listened by telling them a true story about a client who was in a similar situation get what they want. Humans are hardwired for stories.”


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Cian McLoughlin

CEO, Trinity Perspectives


The single biggest reasons deals go quiet and prospects seem to vanish into thin air, is a misalignment between the sales cycle and the buying cycle. What do I mean by that? Your prospective customer is in the early stages of their research, trying to get a handle on the problem, looking at potential solutions….they don’t know what they don’t know. Instead of understanding and acknowledging where they are at in their buying process, we try to get them to fall into step with our sales process. Which other vendors are you reviewing, can we schedule a demo, who’s the budget holder, what’s the compelling event…it frustrates, confuses and often scares them off….Instead, consider the following:

  • Don’t try to sell them anything, just earn the right to move to the next conversation
  • Go in with the heart of a teacher, not the soul of a salesperson
  • Treat them like a customer, before they ever become a customer. Which means you can, advise, provide a different perspective and even disagree with them if needs be.
  • Be curious, be humble and above all else, be ready to listen more than you talk


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Andrew Rudin

Managing Principal, Contrary Domino


The part the salesperson fully controls is intent. If the rep’s primary intention is to close the deal, that will come across to the prospect or customer, and it’s less likely for trust to be extended. If the rep’s primary intention is to provide the outcome the customer desires, or that he or she is working to preserve the customer’s best interests, those intentions better portend the extension of trust.


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Kara Lambert

Business Owner, Kara Lambert


The best piece of advice to close more sales is to know the audience, know what motivates them (I have 5 key motivators I teach), and be able to link their motivator to a benefit. The main benefits people want are to make things easier, to gain an advantage, to reduce risk, and to save or make money. Understanding what motivates your audience and applying it builds relationships, makes the customer feel understood, and closes more sales.


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Stacey Brown Randal

author of Generating Business Referrals…Without Asking and Growth By Referrals


No one wants to be sold, they want to buy. You can never forget this. The questions you ask during the meeting along with the language you use needs to focus on helping the prospect acknowledge they have a problem and getting confirmation they are willing to solve it. To many sales professionals or business owners responsible for closing new clients go in with a ‘pitch’ mentality…make sure the prospect understand our offerings, how we are better than the competition, and how we are the best choice. The prospect isn’t interested in any of that until they have made up their mind to solve their problem or fix their issue.

First, you need to ask better questions and actually listen to their responses. The best prospect meetings are the ones where you should only be asking a few very open-ended questions that allow the prospect to sell themselves on solving their issue and choosing you as the solution provider.

Second, never underestimate how a prospect can hide in the confusion you create. You must outline what it is like to work with you from start to finish. When you outline what it is like to work with you, you are able to manage their expectations, have a baseline to come back to if they (or mother nature) delay the process, and most importantly, it is easier to say yes when I know what exactly I am saying yes to. A prospect won’t make a decision when they are unsure or confused.

Stacey’s opening line hits the nail on the head. Think about it. When was the last time somebody ‘sold’ you something? If ever, you probably weren’t comfortable with it and/or had some buyers remorse. Killer sales people, and marketing companies make the customer choose them. If you can build that desire, you won’t need to ‘close’. Admittedly it is challenging in an industry that is ever more commoditized. If you’re struggling differentiate your services to a point of desire, look towards building an emotional connectionby using story. This is the emphasis of my ‘valve stem sales strategy’.

On that note, Stacey’s primary expertise in sales revolves around ‘Growth by Referrals’ (et al; the name of her website and program). It is no secret that increasing referrals is a powerful and low cost way to grow your business — certainly worth a look into


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Willis Turner

President/CEO, Sales & Marketing Executives International, Inc.


From personal experience, here are some tips for closing more sales during the appointment:

  1. Follow up as promised. If there is something that needs to be done after the appointment, for example providing a quote, confirming additional details or scheduling a service appointment, get it done and communicated back to the customer within 24 hours or sooner. This shows
  2. professionalism and commitment and will help build long-term trust with the customer. Many sales are lost after the appointment due to lack of follow up.
    Ask for referrals. If you have built trust with the customer, they may immediately refer you to a neighbour or friend who could use your professional help.


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Brynne Tillman

Chief Learning Officer, Vengreso


The biggest mistake service providers make is that they go into an opportunity focused on the sale versus focus on solving a problem. They tend to pitch way too much, talk about their features and benefits; never offering actual value. Today’s modern buyer wants to be educated. They want to be led not pulled. And it is insights that draw a buyer and keep them engaged in the process. So, the bottom line is that consultants need to lead to their solution not with their solution.


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Judy Hoberman

Tedx Speaker/Coach/SalesTrainer, Selling In A Skirt


Hmmm best piece of juicy advice…

STOP SELLING! Have a conversation with the customer and ask lots of questions. Use open-ended questions so that the customer talks and has a conversation with them. Take notes and write down what they are saying in their words. They will get lots of information including the customer’s “WHY”…why do they need whatever they are looking at. The why is the most important piece of information they will learn. Make sure they also listen to everything that is said. Ask questions and then listen. Asking questions builds the relationship. Listening cements it.

Here’s a big one though…IF the contractor/service business owner is speaking to a couple, make sure the wife is included in the conversation. 85% of all consumer purchasing decisions are influenced by women. That is something to remember.


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Paul Smith

Managing Partner, Story Makers, LLC


I’d say the most important thing they should be able to do in front of a customer is to tell the story of how they’re different from their competitors.

One of the most common observations I got from professional buyers in my research was that competitors in most industries are so similar it’s hard to tell them apart. They needed a differentiation story. Which means you probably need a differentiation story.

And when I say a differentiation story, and mean a real story, not just a list of ways you’re different. A story will be far more memorable and effective. Here’s an example of what that looks like: http://leadwithastory.com/swas024/.

Until you can tell a story like that about your company, you’re not fully prepared to sell.


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Michael Gass

Business Development Consultant | Speaker, Author of Fuel Lines


People want to work with other people that they know trust and like. Use social media to make a personal connection with your prospects that will enhance your offline engagements and increase your ability to close more sales.


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Kendall Haven

Story Consultant/Author/Master Storyteller, Kendall Haven


It’s not what you say, it’s what they hear that counts. What they hear will be a self-created, story-based version of what you say, altered from your original in order to make it make sense to, and to have meaning for them. (That’s neural story science.) Focus on their perspective–their needs, issues, drivers, and concerns—and build your story from there.


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Karen Dietz

Transformational Storytelling for Impact & Influence, Just Story It

Just Story It

As for your question, here’s what I’d say:
One of the best ways to build trust in your service is to share stories about happy customers. Now, the story isn’t about you — how you did an awesome job or saved the day — it’s about THEM. It’s about how you assisted them to do something amazing, achieve something wonderful, or have a meaningful experience. YOU are the secondary character who simply helped them.
And the result is never “And the beautiful addition got built.” It’s always, “And the beautiful addition got built. Now the family has a room for family reunions. For the first time in 15 years, both sets of parents, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins could gather together in one place. As client Jim said to me, “We now are creating more amazing family memories that will last a lifetime.”
These are called your People & Results stories. Why are they important? Because as you share the story, your listener is seeing themselves in the story. It’s a mini sales simulation. They want what your client got (or something similar) The story quickly makes a connection between you and builds trust. It becomes lots easier to close sales. What’s not to love about that?


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David Meerman Scott

Keynote Speaker and Bestselling Author, Freshpot Marketing


Educate and inform instead of interrupt and sell.


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No secret there’s a lot to take in here.  As I read through all of them I find a number of inspiring ways that I could boost sales with no cost.

On thought, myself and my sales team is really serious — no doubt this originates with me.  Lou Carlozo’s advice to use some humor would serve us well.

Story is also an area my company and nearly all other contractors could improve on!  What does the customer know about your company?  How can they relate to your business?  Story engages the customer and bridges those gaps to make connections… which lead to sales.

Going forward, what can you do to close more sales?

Let us know in the comments below.

About the author

Corey Philip

Corey Philip is a small business owner / investor with a focus on home service businesses.

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