How to close deals in sales: Best techniques and examples

Precious Oboidhe
Precious Oboidhe
Brian Hicks
Reviewed by
Brian Hicks
Reading time:13 m

Nothing beats the thrill of closing a sales deal. You’ve worked hard to identify your ICP, sent a brilliant sales pitch, and booked an appointment with your prospect. 

What’s left? Address objections, ask for the sale, and you are closer to hitting your quota. 

Theoretically, this looks easy. In practice, 40% of sales reps consider the close as the toughest part of the B2B selling process. This can put a sales team at risk.

For companies that have and know how to run a dedicated outbound motion, average closing rate for demos booked to closed deals is around 8%. I’ve seen salespeople do under 1% (team got shut down later) to 27% (company got acquired later at a HUGE valuation).

Tito Bohrt, CEO at AltiSales

If you’re struggling to close at least 8% of your prospects, our sales enablement consultants are going to show you why your leads hesitate to close deals, sales closing techniques to arm yourself with, some best practices to get prospects over the finish line, and some sales closing mistakes you should avoid.

Why do prospects become hesitant to close a sales deal?

Some salespeople believe that a perfect pitch, great demo, and specific closing technique will make a hesitant buyer say “yes” to a deal.

Spoiler ⚠️: This thinking isn’t 100% correct.

Besides a salesperson’s flaws like poor follow up, prospects also hesitate to move forward because of reasons reps don’t control. According to Robert Clay, these reasons include:

  • Lack of time
  • Cost concerns
  • Poor cash flow
  • Budget constraints
  • More pressing matters
  • Many other things on the prospect’s mind

Coming to terms with these psychological and transactional realities ensures you do 2 things right: 

  1. Follow up
  2. Ask probing questions

This duo helps you build trust, understand why a prospect is stalling, and prepare brilliant responses. Doing this is even more important in B2B where sales cycles last up to 8 months. A 2023 Vidyard survey gives a grimmer outlook as almost 350 sales professionals report their sales cycle lasts 4 to 18 months or longer. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

Personally, I follow up with every single conversation I’ve had until the prospect tells me they are no longer interested. For example, I just closed a deal with a company that I first chatted with over 19 months prior! I asked the prospect why he reached back out to me. He said, “I thought of you when this topic came up during our internal meeting.” Why? “You are the only person I spoke with that continued to stay in touch with me.”

Brian Hicks, VP of Sales at Belkins

See? Persistent sales follow-up pays off.

Whether you’re doing this through email, LinkedIn, phone calls, or texts, it doesn’t matter. Just follow up and be creative while you’re at it.

For instance, if a prospect uses certain words, use those words. I like what Nate Nasralla, CEO of Fluint, says about this:

Putting a lot of thought into follow-up emails also endears you to prospects.

Here’s an analogy:


As you can see, the first 2 reps ask for something in return — “Have you reviewed our deck?” This isn’t wrong, but Brian Hicks says,

I prefer to do what I call depository follow-up instead of withdrawals. When you deposit, you aren’t asking for anything.

Depository emails like the third above are more likely to keep your accounts engaged. However, understand that 2 or 3 follow-ups never scratch the surface. At Belkins, we do up to 6 follow-ups. If you have an incredibly long sales cycle, you could do as much as 10 follow-ups (or follow-up until a prospect says “no”).

By doing consistent follow-ups, you can leverage your relationship to ask questions, get responses, send rebuttals, and tip the buying scales in your favor. See an example of our follow-up operation:

Follow-up Operation at Belkins

Note: If you struggle to convert leads from your email sequences, consider finding an outsourced sales partner. The right vendor can help you boost conversions and engagement by 40% and more.

3 best practices to help you close sales deals

To break down some best practices for closing sales deals, I tapped Brian Hicks to share insights from his 10+ years of experience. Here is what he said:

1. Be human

Most buyers understand that salespeople have KPIs and a quota to hit, so don’t be afraid to reach out at the end of the month. Here are examples of what you could say:

  • “I am building my forecast for next month and wanted to check with you to see if we are still on target to have our contract in place by {day}?”
  • “I will never pester you, but since I know you need to have something in place next week, I’ll ping you every couple of days that I don’t hear from you in order to keep us on track. Sound good?”
  • “I like to follow up through multiple channels, so if I haven’t gotten a reply via email, I might shoot you a text or call to see where things stand. Is that okay with you?”

2. Keep things upfront and get confirmation 

If you and your prospect are on a different wavelength, your deal could stall. So be sure to communicate with your prospect as they move through the sales process.

Ask questions like “I know you’ve been evaluating several vendors — how do we compare?” This lets you know their inclination to move forward with a deal or if you need to rethink your value proposition. If they’ve resolved to move forward, ensure you truly understand their needs, your solution solves their problem, and they believe it does. After that, figure out if they have the budget and authority to make a decision, then send the contract and ask for their business.

3. Highlight the cost of not proceeding with a deal

Highlighting the cost of inaction is a good tactic to get prospects over the line. If a prospect is on the fence or concerned about cost, position your solution or service as an investment rather than a cost. Think about the big-picture problems and explain how your product fixes them by stating outcomes.

This puts your product in the best light and helps prospects recognize what they may miss. They’re talking with you for a reason.

6 sales closing mistakes you should avoid

New sales reps and even experienced sales executives often make mistakes when trying to close a sales deal. Here are some of them:

1. Taking prospects by storm on a call

“Hi, Dan. Pleased to meet you. So, when can I send you the contract?”

  • Being confident and assertive = good 
  • Being pushy = bad

Forcing your prospect to make a buying decision on your first call is unacceptable. It’s a mistake that many enthusiastic but inexperienced salespeople make. Most times, this results in a firm NO from prospects.

Understand that prospects anticipate being bullied into making a buying decision or having their words twisted to the sales rep’s advantage. To avoid being such a sales rep, get your prospects to relax and speak about their wishes freely. 

2. Not caring about long-term relationships

If you’re trying to close prospects on a call, recognize that you can’t close all deals with just 1 call. Not all long-time clients say “yes” in the first conversation either. This means you mustn’t give up after a call. Unfortunately, many sales reps give up after they hear “No, thank you” or “I have a vendor already.” By giving up, you mean that:

Prospects shouldn’t contact you in the future

When you call some prospects, you sometimes feel the enthusiasm fading away from their speech. Afterward, they find excuses to end the conversation and say their goodbyes in a hurry. Sometimes, they literally hang up on you, but that’s bad manners. Avoid both patterns!

Even if you feel it’s pointless to speak with an uninterested prospect, leaving so soon establishes you as uncaring or self-centered. So, even when your prospects find themselves in need of your product or service, they would rather turn to your competitors than return to you.

You don’t ask questions

It’s all right to back away, but you should do it gracefully. Appreciate and thank your prospects for taking the time to speak with you. Clarify what made your prospects hesitant about your offer. Agree with their concerns and carefully address them if your time allows it. Invite your prospects to a free consultation on any matters that you may help them with.

You don’t really care about the prospect’s challenges

After hearing “no,” most sales representatives burn all bridges and disappear from the radar. However, if this prospect who rejected you still matches your ICP, it’s a missed opportunity. Remember, nothing lasts forever: Opinions change, and the demand for new solutions and assets grows. Also, relying on the leads that need your solutions immediately may backfire when you enter your slow season. Therefore, when parting ways with your reluctant prospects, ask their permission to send some educational or informational materials occasionally.

Examples of content salespeople can use to nurture prospects

By doing so, you remind them about you regularly and they won’t mark your email as spam.

What will you get from playing this long game? At least, it’s visibility. At best, your insights may get your prospects interested in exploring your company further and even give it a second look when the need arises.

3. Poor follow-up cadence

This is truly worth reiterating. If you aren’t following up on prospects, your close rate will take a nosedive.

Sometimes, you may qualify prospects who want more time to decide on your offer. At other times, they could claim your pitch came at the wrong time. How about when they give you a straight “no”? These objections are normal. What’s abnormal is when you don’t follow up. Avoid this mistake!

Once, I followed up with an investor 48 times until I got a meeting. This investor was introduced to me and had responded positively to my initial email but then disappeared in limbo, and I couldn’t get hold of him anymore. He finally responded. We met, and he ended up investing.

Steli Efti, Founder at Close

4. Ignoring trends

Every industry depends on a myriad of things. Technological innovations, new laws, the fall of the industrial titans, and force majeure events can all turn the tide. In that scenario, the first company to adjust wins the race.

So, if you contact your prospects in the middle of the Microsoft shutdown (that sounds unlikely, but still) and casually ask them if they need advanced anti-malware for Microsoft platform, don’t be surprised when they don’t show any enthusiasm.

Staying ignorant of the trends leaves you blind to an opportunity. For example, if you know that a major ESM manufacturer is sunsetting its product (which is very similar to your product), it’s high time to look at their list of customers and connect with them.

5. Not considering more than 1 decision-maker and factors that could make them close a deal

Finding an ally in the prospect’s company is half the battle. When you need to close a deal with an entire decision-making group, don’t expect 1 person to do all the work for you. The title that agreed to give you a chance can only present your offer to the rest of the decision-makers but not convince them to choose you, especially if those decision-makers have never heard of you.

This is why we suggest reaching out to at least 3 relevant titles within 1 company. Ask questions so you know all factors that are important to a company. For instance, if legal must sign off on a deal, involve them from the get-go to prevent a last minute stall. Mind you, if you’re selling to the C-level in large businesses, you may need at least 10 contacts to secure your success. In general, the more people know about you, the less friction you have to deal with.

Does it mean that you have to repeat the same process of introducing yourself to every prospect?

Not really. You can contact 1 decision-maker and ask to cc your email to the other decision-makers. If that’s not possible for some reason, then you will have to send a few handcrafted referral emails and ask for a call. 

Note: Need to get in touch with other stakeholders from the same company? Ask for our B2B research services and we’ll match you with the right decision-makers in no time.

6. Not asking for the business

I often see sales executives who are afraid of asking for the business. They work hard to build a relationship but never ask for the close.

Brian Hicks

If a prospect is ripe to close, you’ll never know it unless you ask — so ditch your fear of rejection and request the business! Don’t feel confident? Start by asking questions like “Do you foresee any reasons you won’t be moving forward with us based on everything we’ve discussed?” This question helps you ensure you’re both aligned.

Here’s another:

“If this discussion goes well and we determine we are a perfect fit, when would you like to have a solution in place?” This will help you stick to a strict timeline and show prospects you are listening! They’ll appreciate that and let you know about roadblocks they encounter that might delay the process.

Other common sales closing mistakes to avoid:

7 sales closing techniques to help you get a “yes” from prospects

The goal of any sales closing technique isn’t to psychologically trick a prospect into buying.

Even if this works for people who buy less expensive products, it rarely works for B2B buyers because the decision-makers are smart, comprising more than one person, and B2B products are usually more expensive — so these techniques have better odds of working only when the sales journey has been great for the prospect.

1. Now or never close

Use this sales closing technique when you want prospects to close deals fast. Do this by saying things like:

  • Hey, {first name}, if you commit today, you’d get an exclusive {X% discount}.
  • If you buy within the next 4 days, I can arrange for our tech team to {whatever they can do}.
  • Hey, {first name}, the price for {product} may change by {date}. Think you can commit before {date}?

These sentences trigger a sense of urgency and show what prospects can miss because of inaction. An excellent time to use this technique is when you’re trying to close prospects on the phone, as this lets you get an instant response.

2. Summary close

This closing technique reiterates the core benefits of your offer. When using the summary close, ensure your product is a great fit and your offer is enticing. Here’s an example:

So with {product name}, you’ll cut operational expenses by 20%, migrate your data free, and access a 30-day money-back guarantee. Will any day this week be a great time to commit?

Stating these benefits at once lets the prospect recap what they get by closing a deal.

3. Sharp angle close

If your prospect wants something that’s not in your original offer, this closing technique can help you seal the deal while offering what the prospect wants. For example, if the prospect is concerned about migrating their data, they could ask:

“Is it possible for you to migrate our data if we opt for {a lesser plan}?”

You respond:

“Sure. But if I do that for you, will you sign the contract today?”

By using this close, you offer a win-win situation. The prospect gets a benefit; you close a deal. Ensure you have the approval to offer what the prospect demands though.

4. Soft close

The soft close is like the sharp angle close. The difference is, when using the soft close, you propose something to a prospect who’s on the fence. Below is an example:

“If I could get my tech team to provide free migration of your data, would you be interested in learning more?”

This closing question is as soft as its name. It’s not pushy, and it states benefits for a prospect while asking a question that requires a simple yes or no.

5. The Columbo close

Inspired by an American TV series, the Columbo close is based on the famous one-liner — “Just one more thing.” Here are some clips from the show:

Like the detective, use this technique to regain the attention of your prospect if they are about to back out. When using this technique, you’ll want to highlight something about your product you haven’t mentioned before. Also, if you know a particular pain point your prospect wants to address, state how your product fixes it. This can inspire FOMO or make a prospect reconsider their decision. 

6. Question close

Unless you ask, you can’t know what works or doesn’t work for a prospect. This is where the question-closing technique shines. Use the question close when you want to ask if a presentation meets a prospect's expectations or if there are specific features or outcomes a prospect wants.

Here are some examples:

  • “Based on what I've shared so far, do you feel our {product/feature} addresses the challenges you mentioned earlier?”
  • “I think I covered everything that’d help you with {pain point}. Is there something you’d like to learn more about?”

These closing questions give you an opportunity to clarify how your product meets a prospect’s needs. If your prospect seems convinced but doesn’t want to move forward, you can ask:

“Is there any reason you can't proceed with the purchase today?”

This question above assesses whether your prospect is stalling because of your presentation or situations you don’t control.

7. Something for nothing close

In the something for nothing close, you offer an incentive (like a discount) to increase a prospect’s desire to make a purchase. The goal is to create a sense of reciprocity. Here’s an example:

“I know {competitor} does a great job. But we do even better. In fact, if you sign up today, I will ask my sales manager to offer you a {X%} discount for {X months}. What do you say, {name}?”

If you’re running sales for a new company that lacks social proof, consider using this technique. You should also use this technique if your prospect is comparing your product to a popular competitor but knows your product can match the competitor’s features.  

14 sales closing questions to help you close a deal

Sales closing techniques are often the same when you’re trying to close deals across industries. What works in B2C can work in B2B, and vice versa. Similarly, prospects can stall a deal irrespective of your industry. 

To get prospects to close, here are 14 sales questions that uncover why a prospect is stalling so you can respond and improve your close rate:

  1. “Do you foresee any reasons that could prevent you from moving forward with us?”
  2. “If this discussion goes well and we determine we are a perfect fit, when would you like to have a solution in place?”
  3. “Can you tell us the steps we have to take to ensure this deal happens?”
  4. “When would you like to implement a solution that fixes {prospect’s problem}?”
  5. “Would you commit today if I sweeten your deal with an {incentive}?”
  6. “Does {day} sound like a great day for me to follow up on our discussion?”
  7. “Do you have any constraint that could prevent you from committing at this time?
  8. “Can you share your best date and time so I can schedule our next meeting?”
  9. “Based on our discussion, are you convinced our product is a great fit for your needs?”
  10. “Which day will you discuss this with your partner? Can I join the discussion to answer your partner’s questions and save you both some time?”
  11. “Which day will you discuss this with your partner? Can I reach out a day after your chat with your partner to get an update?” 
  12. “It seems {objection} is a challenge. If we could fix {objection}, would you commit to a deal this week?”
  13. “{X} and {Y} plans are both adequate for your needs. Which would you go for?”
  14. “If there are no more concerns or questions, I think I can send the contract in {X} minutes. Should I proceed with the contract?”

How to close more deals in less time

When 40% of salespeople claim that closing is tough, it means they’d require more time (and maybe training) to focus on this crucial task.

Not only that, salespeople must know the pain points and objections and note the progress of prospects in their sales funnel. Top these responsibilities with day-to-day appointment setting and the entire process becomes cumbersome for your salespeople. This could even extend the length of your sales cycle, which is why you need the help of a proven company that can do the groundwork while your team focuses on closing deals.

Belkins is one of such companies, providing appointment setting services since 2017. At Belkins, we have 60+ case studies of client successes. We’ve gone from just 10 clients to over 180 in 2023 in 6 years, and our team has qualified salespeople who have a lot of skin in sales. 

If you want your team to have all the time they need to close sales deals, contact us and we’ll discuss how we can help.

FAQ about closing sales deals

How do you close a sale without being pushy?

To do this, I want you to think about the people who made you buy their product. How did they do it? Did they respect your time, listen to your needs, provide valuable content, and make the sale about you (NOT them)? Do these and more.

What is a good way to close sales deals faster?

If nothing is holding back your customer, you can close a sales deal quickly by providing social proof, doing consistent follow-up, and requesting the sales. You can also do this by listening more instead of talking and being empathetic instead of shooting for the sale.

What is the average close rate for B2B sales?

This depends on the prospects, industry, and skill of the salesperson. Generally, you can expect to close a B2B sale within a few weeks to 9 months or even longer.

Why do closing techniques usually not work well in B2B negotiations?

A closing technique may fail if you haven’t humanized your conversation from the get-go. If you’re just after the sale, every closing technique becomes a psychological trick in your arsenal. However, if you’ve been empathetic and cared about your prospect’s problem, most sales closing techniques become a bonus that sweetens the deal. Remember, people buy from those they know, like, and trust. Cliché? Yes. But it holds true in sales.

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Precious Oboidhe
Precious Oboidhe
B2B Content Strategist & Writer
Precious develops content marketing strategies and frequently blogs for the well-known B2B players. HubSpot, CoSchedule, EngageBay, and Foundation Inc. — this is only a small part of the MarTech brands Precious collaborated with.
Brian Hicks
Brian Hicks
VP of Sales at Belkins
Brian is a professional with 15 years of experience in relationship-based sales and management. He built teams and implemented sales processes in startups and Fortune 500 companies across numerous industries.