How to Use Hard Closing Techniques

Get the Deal Signed Type of Selling

Salesperson working to close a sale with a customer


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Like it or not, sometimes the only sales closing technique that works is a hard close. This is face to face, belly to belly, show no fear, get the deal signed type of selling. Often associated (and often associated incorrectly) with used car sales professionals, hard closing is not usually fun or enjoyable.

While being able to hard close may earn you respect from your fellow sales professionals, it won't help you build long-lasting customer relationships. Hard closing is not for everyone and should only be used when either you have no other closing skills or nothing else is working.

When to Use the Hard Close 

There are some customers that, no matter how much value you build into your product or service, and no matter how amazing of a job you did in your presentation, will not or cannot make a buying decision. Though it may seem brutal, it may be time for you to pull out the hard close from your bag of sales tools.

The reason that the hard close should only be used when all else fails is that using the hard close is either all or nothing. With most other types of closes, if the customer says "no," you still have the possibility to try to close the sale again at a later date. But when you employ the hard close and the customer says "no," you are most likely done with that customer.

Here's the trick to deciding when to use the hard close: Use it only when you have nothing to lose.

Your State of Mind

If you have determined that you have nothing to lose and have preferably consulted with either your sales manager or a tenured, successful sales professional, it's time to get into the hard close state of mind. Before the first word comes out of your mouth, you need to decide that you will not stop closing until you are either asked to leave, your prospect becomes visibly angry, or you hear at least five customer declinations.

Most rookie sales professionals and unsuccessful reps stop closing after the first "no" they hear from their customers. The fact is that most sales require getting past three "no" responses, and several take a few more. Though there is no golden rule, stopping your closing attempts after five refusals is a good rule of thumb. Any more and you risk not only getting the customer very angry but also having them harm your reputation in their networking circles. Try to remember the saying, "Drive to five, then drive away."

Do some pre-call planning to map out your approach. Relying on your quick wit and ability to "spin" is often not enough to successfully complete a hard close. Write down all the possible customer objections that you can think of and how you will respond to these objections. Each of your objection-responses must end with a closing question. Whether that closing question is "can we move forward now?" or "does that make sense to you?" doesn't really matter. What does matter is that you remove the customer's objections, one by one, and move on to either the next objection or to the final closing question?

Your Customer's State of Mind

Hard closes create stress, fear, anger, resentment, and a slew of other unpleasant emotions for customers. They know you are trying to close them and that they either don't want to buy from you or have not been convinced to do so yet. When you begin your close, their walls will immediately go up. Depending on how well they manage their stress, they will either become sharper or duller with their thoughts.

If they become sharper thinkers, you need to be even sharper and more realistic that you probably won't be able to get the deal closed. If, however, their ability to think on their feet becomes weaker, you need to respond quickly and use trial closes as often as you can. The key point to remember is that during a hard close, the person with the most confidence and certainty will win.