How to Overcome the Fear of Closing a Sale

Businessmen shaking hands
••• Tom Merton / OJO Images / Getty Images

You put in a lot of work prospecting, qualifying, building rapport, designing a proposal, and delivering presentations, and now it's time to close the sale. But maybe your palms begin to sweat. Your stomach begins to churn. You become increasingly self-conscious and you're afraid to do it.

Sound familiar? You're not alone with apprehension when trying to close a deal. But thankfully, anyone can move through the fear to a confident close with the right approach and mindset.

Remember Your 'Why'

Take some time to look past your sales quotas and commission goals and remember why you do what you do. Think about what makes you passionate about the product or service that you're selling, and list the ways that it ultimately helps people. This is your "why."

If you approach every close as a chance to personally ensure that a prospect is having their needs met and their problems solved—a chance to help and serve them—then it can suddenly seem a little less scary.

Yes, a sale does result in a profit, but more importantly, it leads to a happy customer.

Don't Get Discouraged by a 'No'

Hearing "no" from a prospect doesn't necessarily mean that you should give up and move on. If you ask for a sale and receive a "no," it doesn't mean there won't be a sale. It often means that the prospect needs more information or you need to help them more clearly see the value of the product or service you're selling.

Fear of rejection is often a major source of anxiety for salespeople.

In most cases, you shouldn't abandon a close after getting the first — or even third — "no," although you may be tempted to. Instead, keep building rapport, asking and answering questions, demonstrating value, and showing your prospect that you can provide the solution to their problems. Finding out why the prospect gave you a "no" will help you better understand a prospect's needs so you can better explain how you can meet them.

Many successful salespeople look at a "no" as an opportunity to get to a "yes." In fact, you can even ask a prospect what it would take to turn that "no" into a "yes."

Have a Plan for Handling Objections

By the time you get to the close, you should have a comprehensive understanding of your prospect's needs and demonstrated how you can meet them. If you asked the right questions, then you should also have a solid understanding of all of the possible objections that could come up during that particular customer's close.

If you know the possible objections, then you can prepare responses to them. Or better yet, you can try using the preemptive strike method—bringing up and then busing objections before the prospect even has a chance to do it.

You can prepare responses to common objections you see across customers, but also make sure you're able to handle any objections that are particular to that company.

Prepared salespeople are confident closers. Brush up on how to close a sale, whether you're a beginner or a veteran. You can start by learning these three basic strategies for closing a sale:

  • The Assumptive Close: Ask a question that assumes your prospect is about to buy the product, such as, "Which color would you like us to send you?"
  • The Time-Limit Close: To help speed up the customer's decision-making, mention any limitations that exist, such as, "This special discount expires in two days."
  • The Custom Close: Look at your notes about the prospect's needs and incorporate them in the closing question. “So, you need a car that can seat at least two adults and two children, has a high safety rating, good milage, and costs less than $30,000, and you'd prefer it in blue? Anything else you'd like to add?"

Only Promise What You Can Deliver

Making promises that you're not certain you can deliver on is bound to cause any salesperson anxiety before the close. But if you enter a closing conversation knowing that you have not over-promised and do not run the risk of under-delivering, then it'll be easier for you to view the close as a natural part of the business cycle. While you shouldn't fall prey to the attitude of being "owed a sale," you can go into the close with more confidence knowing you're done the best you could do to earn the business.

Know When it's Time to Move On

Even the best sales professionals in the world understand that no one can close every sale. Remembering that can help take an awful lot of pressure off your back. And the more relaxed you are during a sales close, the better off you and your prospect will be.

If you asked for the sale a few times and can't get the prospect to become a customer, you may need to regroup, develop a new strategy, and take some time away from the prospect. Anxiety is often caused when trying too hard to close a deal or trying too often to close a deal that just can't be closed.

If you have approached a closing opportunity with a positive attitude, knowing that you have delivered your best and that your proposal is a sound one that makes business sense and your customer simply says "not interested," it may be time to move on.

Remember: The Close is Not the End

Another cause of closing anxiety is the belief that closing is the final step of the sales cycle. Closing a sale is actually a chance to begin a new kind of relationship with a prospect. Once you ask for and earn a sale, they become a customer—hopefully a loyal, repeat customer who can be a positive reference for you in the future.