Real Closing Techniques

Expert AdviceSo many times when I am training or coaching I am asked “how can I close better?” There is far too much rubbish written, discussed and taught about closing which creates some kind of mysticism or aura of difficulty around closing.

Many sales people get hung up on improving their closing skills (Is there really that much skill in asking a single closed question??)

The bottom line in closing is to be a good listener – hear what the client or candidate says is important to them and acknowledge it, then demonstrate your capability to provide it and then close them! The only time closing can be difficult is if the listening and the demonstration of capability have been missed out.

The golden rule of closing? Ask a closed question. As recruiters we need to know where we stand with our clients and candidates.

“If I get you an offer of £50k, will you definitely accept?”

“So I’ll have 5 CVs with you by the close of business tomorrow. On that basis can we proceed as your sole supplier?”

“The rate will be £635 per day. Shall I have him start at 9.00 tomorrow?”

The answer we are seeking to the above questions? Yes! Or No! At least with a “no” you know where you stand and can seek clarification as to what you need to do to make it a “yes”.

Remember this article on lead tracking? The definition of “NO” is “NOT YET” so if you get a “NO” clarify and then ask again. Once you have asked any form of closing question to conclude your business discussions, SHUT UP. Unfortunately, many consultants and recruiters who ask for the business or close a candidate start talking again. Another big mistake is to let a “maybe” through and agree to speak another time. Uh-oh – poor close or poor demonstration of capability to deliver.

Naturally there are other closes available, though the one above (the direct close) has to be my favourite as it is so direct.

Others to consider:

Assumptive close –

This makes the assumption that the deal is already done.

“So I’ll get those CVs to you by Wednesday morning and from that we can agree a shortlist of 5 candidates for you to interview that Friday. Is there anything else I can do for you whilst we’re talking?”

Dual close –

Very popular as it softens the close to a choice of two options.

“What time is best for us to meet? 2pm tomorrow or 10am Friday?”

Because it is so popular it is also heard a lot. This does make it a bit of a signposted close to the buyer. Try this (amazing how much better the results can be with a tri-close):

“What time is best for you? I can do 2pm tomorrow, 10am Friday or alternatively I have first thing Thursday also free…”

With the tri-close I find that the preferred option of the buyer tends to be the second one. Give it a go and see what results you get!

Agreement staircase –

Also known as the “3 yes set” or the Meg Ryan close.

“So you definitely need to get someone in place by the end of March?”


“..and you’re happy with how I described what I can do for you on this position?”


“So you’d be happy to proceed to see my 3 best candidates for interview before the end of the week?”


I could go on with more yet I don’t wish to complicate things. The real art in all of this is making sure you ask enough questions to definitely show you understand and can deliver what the customer wants. As tips go – this is relatively short and sweet and that’s how closing should be. The gift of a professional sales person, including recruitment consultants, whether they are “new business” or not, is to make sure they close their prospective client or candidate safe in the knowledge they will say yes. This stems from the whole of the call – introduction, rapport building, questioning, listening and presenting a solution.

If you think you have difficulty closing it’s easy to change – ask a closed question and shut up! I think you will quickly establish how easy closing is – getting people to say yes takes everything that has gone before the close to be right.

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2 Responses

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  1. Great article. Short , sweet and to the point. Caught my attention and I will be using this as a training session in my branch, thanks. Its what we already know but always good to be reminded that its quite simple actually. Thanks

    Maryanne Tiedemann 18 April 2012 at 4:05 am Permalink
  2. Candidate experience, much like eeompylr brand is way too big of a concept to assign to one person or team. It has to start from the top and be reinforced all of the way down through the ranks including, but not limited to talent acquisition. I think it’s this nebulous task that has kept many companies from making it a priority until now.

    Edith 23 November 2012 at 11:22 pm Permalink

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