Closing the sale is everything to small business owners. You know your work speaks for itself, but you don’t get the chance to prove that to customers until they’ve already decided to use your services.
That’s why business owners must do everything in their power to turn every conversation with a potential customer into a sale. Otherwise, all the hard work and money you’ve spent generating leads is wasted, and your business has missed a valuable opportunity to expand its customer base.
For many local businesses, that first point of contact with clients is over the phone. Whether a prospect has called you directly or shared their phone number through a form on your website, they want the same thing — to figure out whether your product or service can solve their problem.
Your phone conversation is how you show your prospects that you can meet their needs — the deciding factor in whether or not they convert into customers.
That can feel intimidating but never fear — there are many tried-and-true techniques to show your prospect how valuable your services are and close that sale.
Here are 6 of the most reliable.
1. Summary Close
With this approach to closing, you wrap up your pitch by summarizing everything your customer is getting if they decide to move forward and buy.
Especially if your conversation with them has been on the longer side, restating your offer will help them visualize what they’re buying in concrete, tangible terms. That redirects their focus to what they stand to gain — not the money they’re spending to get it.
“So, I’ve got you down here for the energy-efficient AC unit, white-glove installation service, three replacement filters, and a maintenance appointment in 6 months. What’s a good day for you next week to install?”
2. Now or Never Close
It’s not enough to convince your prospect that they need your product or service — you need them to see that they need it now. That’s the idea behind the ‘now or never’ closing technique, which adds urgency to your offer to incentivize immediate action.
Think about it — unless your prospect sees a reason to commit at this particular time, they’ll just walk away and mull it over. And unfortunately, in that scenario, they’ll most likely never come back.
This can be especially effective if your prospect seems unsure, but there’s no apparent reason for their hesitation. Offering a time-sensitive discount, extra service, or implying that the product is only available in limited quantities can be the push they need to take them from consideration into action.
This won’t work if your customer doesn’t think your product or service is a good fit for them. So, save this technique for potential customers who understand the value you’re offering and just need a little something extra to sweeten the deal.
“As I mentioned, we’re heading into our busy season for pruning and landscaping. We’re anticipating to be fully booked for the season very soon.”
“I’m willing to offer you 20% off installation — but in that case, I’d need you to book the appointment today.”
3. Question Close
This sales technique is all about listening. Instead of providing more information or adjusting your offer, you encourage your potential customer to share more about their needs and how you can meet them.
Sales is all about communicating to the customer that you can offer them solutions to their problems. To close in this way, you’ll ask your prospect direct, honest questions about whether your product or service would work for them. That shows that you care about their needs, rather than just pushing to close the deal at all costs.
In response to these questions, your prospect will either confirm that they think you’re a good match or provide you with more information about their pain points or concerns. Either outcome can help you move the sale forward!
“This sounds like a complex situation for you. Does our starting retainer package sound like it’s adequate to meet your legal needs, or should we discuss more comprehensive options?”
“Do you see any reason why our firm wouldn’t be the best choice to represent you?”
4. Sharp Angle
It’s very common for customers to ask for discounts, perks, or other benefits when they know they’re being sold. Particularly if they’re sales-savvy and listen to pitches often, some customers know that offering discounts is a common closing strategy. They won’t accept your offer without them.
These customers know what they want, and they’re willing to ask for it. To close your sale smoothly while benefiting both parties, try giving them what they ask for — but only if they buy right now. This shows your prospect that you’ll go the extra mile to meet their needs if they confirm they will buy from you.
However, don’t throw this technique out there unless you have to. Unless your prospect is pushing for something extra, there’s no need to come back to the table with your bargaining chip.
“Sure, we can add waste disposal onto your landscaping service. That’s a $150 value, but if you’re willing to book today, I’ll throw that in there at no extra cost.”
5. Takeaway Close
Save this highly effective closing technique for when your prospect understands the value of your service but is concerned about the price.
Think about which features of your offering could be easily removed or which your customer seemed the least interested in. Then, offer them a lower price for the same service, but without that particular feature.
This tactic can work in one of two ways. Either you’ve proposed a better deal that suits their needs, or reverse psychology kicks in, and your prospect realizes they did want that thing, after all.
“If price is a concern, we don’t need to use the most expensive pipes we carry. I have another option that’s only guaranteed for five years but would bring the cost down to $1050.”
6. Option Close
Everyone wants options. When you give your prospects just one offer, it means they only have two choices — accept it, or turn down the deal entirely. The reasoning behind this technique states that if you give your customer more choices, they are more likely to pick one of them, rather than just saying ‘no.’
Most often, this looks like choosing the cheaper option since your prospect likely wants to feel that they’ve made a wise financial decision. Some companies harness the power of the option close by posting additional service options at an inflated price, so customers get the experience of choosing the less expensive option.
There are many ways to offer options — while pricing is usually a component, there’s more to it than that. You could offer two different service levels, two different time frames for installation, or two different models of a similar product. As long as you’re giving your customer choices, you’re using the option close.
“If you opt for priority service, we can be there within two hours to restore your water main. Or for our regular price, our technician will be there on the next business day.”
Make Closing a Habit
As a business owner, you’re juggling a million responsibilities, and too often, answering the phone ends up taking a back seat. And that’s a real problem because phone calls from your customers aren’t just another task — they’re a significant source of new business, and staying on top of them is crucial to reaching your goals.
If you don’t have time to give customers the attentive, sales-oriented phone service your business deserves, consider contracting an answering service like Olly Olly’s. These services are more affordable than a full-time receptionist but offer a much greater roster of services, such as 24/7 answering, a dedicated phone line, lead qualifying questions, and more.
And far from feeling impersonal, we take the time to understand your business. Our live receptionists will offer your clients a phone experience that feels helpful, personal, and on-brand. Our goal is to represent your business well, help your callers, and close as many sales for you as we can.
Article by Genevieve Michaels
Genevieve Michaels is a freelance writer based in Vancouver, Canada, focusing on B2B marketing, tech, and software-related content. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from The University of British Columbia.