Sales Gifting
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9 Strategies to Add to Your Sales Closing Playbook

April 18, 2023
9 Strategies to Add to Your Sales Closing Playbook

Closing a sale is a milestone worth popping some bubbly over. In textbook terms, it’s the stage of a sales cycle when a buyer agrees to a deal and signs a seller’s contract. This penultimate part of the pipeline (coming only before post-purchase success) is arguably the most definitive moment of sales as the seller has finally come around to some serious commitment.

Cresting the “Closed-Won” deal phase is when sales pros smash quotas. It’s how businesses earn revenue and grow. It’s the heart and soul of doing business. It’s the reason startups have gongs. In a nutshell, sales closing is a big deal.

Closing a sale rarely happens overnight, and it’s often a long process of communicating, negotiating, and nurturing before a buyer signs the dotted. Since the dawn of time, salespeople have been trying to perfect and expedite the journey with a bottomless pool of techniques and tactics, and we’re here to toss a few more ideas into the mix.

Read on to gather a few more sales closing techniques for your playbook and get inspired to start closing some deals.

The Biggest Roadblocks Sales Teams Face

It’s no secret that the sales profession has evolved rapidly over the past few decades. What once was a deeply person-to-person craft has swung to the opposite end of the spectrum. The time of door-to-door salespeople showing tangible samples and entrancing demonstrations with real-time results is mostly lore.

With the exception of a few teams lugging Kirby vacuums around your neighborhood, door-to-door sales is largely kaput. What was once a person-to-person process has morphed into a platform-to-person affair. Despite all of the benefits, this digital transformation has brought some unique challenges to the forefront.

A chart showing hundreds of logos for platforms in a tech stack. It's overwhelming.
The sales tech landscape by Saleshacker.

When a salesperson would walk into a home or business, they could immediately make the best first impression and start building trust with the person in charge. Today, things like building trust and ensuring you’re selling to a decision-maker are some of the toughest hurdles to clear online—hurdles, it should be noted, that have only gotten higher since the coronavirus pandemic changed the working landscape from centralized offices to scattered remote locations.

"The ability to get in front of decision-makers is getting increasingly challenging, especially with the continued high percentage of leaders and executives working from home,” says HubSpot sales manager Jayme Manos.

Related to building trust is the struggle to create a personal connection in the sales cycle, which is a tough nut to crack through channels like email, landing pages, ads, and more. If making a relationship out of a cold email seems tough, try tacking on the fact that every salesperson out there is currently trying the same tactics, making it even tougher to stand out to prospects.

Differentiation, earning commitment with decision-makers, building trust, forging real relationships online—these are the challenges that sales teams are going to continue to face as more processes in the pipeline stay online. There are many sales platforms and AI tools that can automate everything from cold outreach to post-purchase but the key to winning is striking a balance between your tech stack and the human touch.

We’ve laid out some of our top strategies for busting through the noise, closing sales, and making a pipeline feel as personal as standing in someone’s cozy living room and throwing dirt on their carpet just to show off the suction power of the Sentria upright.

9 Sales Closing Strategies to Try Stat

When it comes to closing sales, it could be tempting to hold these tactics tight to your chest. Take some of these ideas, test ‘em out in your own pipeline, and share with your squad. You’ll be crushing quotas and hitting revenue goals alongside your entire sales team, which only means good things for your company as a whole.

1. Relational selling

We know you have a hefty tech stack on your side, but this first strategy is all about ditching the robots and building a real-life relationship with prospects.  

What is it?

Relational selling is the process of researching your prospect to create thoughtful and valuable touchpoints with them over time. This level of personalization goes far deeper than simply swapping out a first name in an email. Do your homework and understand things about them like:

  • Hobbies and interests
  • Family and life events
  • Business goals
  • Birthdays and milestones

Remember that not every conversation has to (or should) be about what you’re selling. Trust is made when you show support and create value for them beyond the scope of the deal. This means sending encouraging notes to celebrate their own wins, talking about your own tips and tricks about a mutual interest, and, yes, providing valuable info, videos, and how-tos around their business goals.

This tactic takes time and is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint in the sales world, but it’s crucial in landing your next high-quality client.

Take some time to pick out a handful of high-value prospects and put together a folder for each that includes any info, content to share, and assets that would provide value. If you see something relatable in your daily scrolling, toss it in the respective folder so you’re always ready with something new to add to the conversation.

Why does it work?

This strategy inherently fosters the human-to-human connection that builds trust, stays top of mind, and gets stronger with time—all of which are needed to finally win commitment and close the deal. So, tug on those heartstrings while showing you’re also committed for the long haul.

2. Sales videos

Videos are consumable, accessible, sharable, and entertaining. It’s no wonder they can be a super effective way to stand out and get noticed by leads in a noisy world.

What is it?

Sales videos are just that—videos you record, edit, and send off to help you hit goals across your pipeline. Of course, there’s no one reason to record video, so consider your goals and go from there.

  • Introduce yourself with a selfie video. Making yourself vulnerable encourages others to let their guard down, making it easier to connect and keep the conversation going.
An example of a selfie video introduction.

  • Showcase your product in a video demo with a screen recording and webcam. This delivers value and erases any confusion on what your product does and how. Go step further and record your product interacting with the prospect’s brand or company. This way, your leads won’t have to strain to envision what a world where ou work together looks like.

  • Answer common questions in a video so that it can be referenced again and again while prospects can see the solutions to their questions unfold before their eyes. Technical answers can quickly get confusing with copy alone, so adding videos to the mix mitigates any stress or frustration that could turn a prospect away.

An effective video can take time to create and share, but that time isn’t lost on the prospect. It’s a thoughtful touch that’s direct while creating authority and providing instant value.

Why does it work?

No matter your goal, adding videos to your sales strategy helps build more trust than text alone. They put a face and voice to a name, instantly rendering you more memorable and personable to prospects

3. The cooperative approach

Team work makes the dream work. And in the world of sales, this means crafting a plan that gets a lot of people in the mix for the best possible outcome. (Ahem, closing the sale.)

What is it?

Simply put, this sales-closing strategy means incorporating a lot of skills and input from others instead of pushing ahead on your own. On the sales side, this approach means collaborating with other people on your sales team, or even across your company, to create, collect, and offer assets that are supremely useful to the prospect. If everyone on your team is hoarding content, that ultimately hurts the company as a whole.

On the other side, this approach means making a plan with your prospect that works for them and their team. Instead of pushing through your own plan, pricing, and timeline, turn your prospect into an important voice in the process. Consider their needs in negotiating a deal structure and your leads will feel like they’re joining a partnership instead of a one-time transaction.

Why does it work?

Making your prospect a loud voice in the conversations leading up to a close has a few benefits. The first is that they’ll feel like their business’s best interests are being heard and acted on.

Secondly, prospects will likely trust you more and commit sooner if they feel like they’re about to enter a relationship where their opinion is considered in every move. If your team is open and collaborative before they’ve even given you money, prospects can only imagine the benefits of the mutual relationship that follows closing.

4. Ask questions

This strategy may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worthy of making it into our playbook for a few reasons. How many questions do you typically ask? How many times should you be asking for a meeting? For a commitment? How much are you asking about their product, goals, or life? Are you asking the hard questions?

Turns out, the world of questions is bottomless, and maybe it’s time to expand your spectrum of curiosity to get closer to the close.

What is it?

Asking questions—and listening to the answers—is a must if you’re closing sales. At the very least, you’re going to need to ask something like, “Ready to ink this deal?” But rarely, if ever, will your sales cycle beeline from cold intro to signed deal.

Stoke your own curiosity and ask questions about not just their business, challenges, pain points, and goals, but also ask about the person you’re speaking with. The more you learn about them, the better you can communicate moving forward and refine your messaging, align your product to their specific needs, and personalize the experience. (And remember what we said about relational selling?) Questions help you poke and prod until you uncover their core challenges, and only then can you understand how you can solve them with your offering.

A blue speech bubble with a large green Q in it and a yellow speech bubble with a magenta A in it.

Combine more vulnerable questions with blunt necessities like, “How interested are you?” and “Are you ready to purchase?” and you’ll be moving deals down the line until they hit Closed-Won.

Even if a prospect says no, continue to ask follow-up questions and pick at their pain points. At least 80% of people say “no” to salespeople at least four times before opening up their calendars to a call, so keep pushing until the timing is right or their problem becomes too big to ignore. Plus, asking questions after rejection is a way to learn and refine your own process.  

Why does it work?

Asking questions helps you both plan your next move as well keeps the conversation going. Insightful or intriguing questions that warrant more than a cut-and-dry yes or no answer engages prospects more while giving you more information to work with. Listen carefully to answers, jot them down in your notes, and use that to offer custom solutions, valuable assets, and more that leave prospects feeling seen and heard.

5. Generate urgency and FOMO

FOMO, or the fear of missing out, makes us do a lot of things we may otherwise not have done in life. Bungee jumping, backpacking through Europe, blacking out at Burning Man—you get the gist. When there’s a lot of hype around something, it makes others want to try it even more.

What is it?

Sales can often mean playing the long game, especially if your prospects are scarce or deals are huge. But it’s also not great to let the journey from “prospecting” to “close” linger indefinitely. But you also don’t want to be too pushy and sour the sale entirely. So, what do you do?

Fabricate urgency. This strategy works best when you can offer a discount or a limited-time special, such as free implementation or a steep discount for new accounts that sign on in the next week. Or add fuel to the FOMO flames by sharing testimonials and feedback from existing customers who’ve had irresistible results.  

Why does it work?

FOMO and urgency are effective strategies that have been in play for decades. You’ve probably jumped on deals of your own as a consumer, such as limited-time BOGO deals, social proof, or fire sales.

Ultimately, this strategy plays into your prospect’s fears. People are affected by losses twice as much as they are by gains. If a prospect is interested in your product but misses a limited offer or the gains they could have had from your product, not only will they feel pain from lost benefits, but they’ll also be dwelling in those negative feelings for a lot longer.

Creating urgency is a great way to make your deal more attractive, but it’s subconsciously making your prospects want to avoid the agony of defeat in the long run.

6. Face FOMU head on

Hot on the heels of urgency and FOMO is FOMU, the fear of messing up. (This may seem like we’re playing some psychological games with prospects, but remember that these are pretty harmless tactics that leverage human nature.)

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, an American medical drama and ABC’s longest-running scripted primetime series, you’ve witnessed the persistent battles the surgeons face when trying to pick whether to do the safe (legal) thing that will save their career or the unsafe (illegal) thing that will save their patient. This choice isn’t too dissimilar to what a lot of your prospects grapple with when it comes to your pitch.

What is it?

One of the biggest reasons prospects don’t move forward or commit to high-stakes deals is because a big wrong decision could cost them their whole career. So instead of taking a risk for a potentially great outcome, they’re playing it safe and sticking with what they know.

FOMU is a relatively new concept that’s a cousin of FOMO. But in lieu of showing prospects what they’re missing out on, FOMU is centered around de-risking your product or service. It’s addressing their fear of messing up by:

  • Providing real research or proof that your solution won’t result in catastrophe.
  • Deeply discussing everything they’re afraid could go wrong and assuaging those worries.
  • Create an offer that will “clean up” if any negative results do happen, such as an insurance policy or full refund.
  • Introducing prospects to successful clients in the same industry who could speak about the fears and results first-hand.  

Whatever you can provide for the prospect to show that their fears are valid and that there’s no reason to fear your offer, take the time to create it. FOMU is a guaranteed deal-killer, so squash it as soon as it rears its head.

Why does it work?

If your prospect is terrified of committing and messing up in a way that could cost them their job, even the hottest limited-time offer isn’t going to nudge them to closing. Instead of pushing more urgency and putting more pressure on your prospect, FOMU is a way to ease anxieties and play out every scenario from outrageous success to worst-case scenario.

This positions you as a helpful, compassionate resource and it gives prospects the clarity and certainty they need to make a safe and confident choice.

7. Create a community

Who doesn’t love the feeling when a bouncer lifts the velvet rope and waves you inside the VIP room? Even if you’ve never been in that exact scenario before, the point is that everyone loves feeling special, connected, and like a part of something bigger. Adding prospects to your own exclusive network helps them feel like the VIP they are.

What is it?

If your company has a community of users or experts, leverage that group as a perk to your prospects. Being included in a network of happy customers not only reassures your prospects that they’re making a good decision, but it also gives them a support network that you don’t have to manage.

This play isn’t just limited to companies with existing communities, though. Even if your network is just getting started, frame it as an opportunity for your prospect to be a leader in the space and have impact in guiding feature development, strategy, and more.

Why does it work?

Similar to FOMO, promising valuable connections to a community of successful customers pushes prospects to want to be included. They want to be in an exclusive community, especially if you can name drop a few leaders in your space. Connections in different industries are worth more than gold, and a prospect who’s hungry to grow their business through connections will be champing at the bit to get in.

Plus, a built-in community means endless opportunities to get inspired, ask for feedback, and collaborate in new ways. It’s an opportunity to sweeten the sales pot.

8. Summary emails

This tip is actually a favorite of John Barrows, and we loved it so much that we added it to our list. He’s a sales guru who leans hard into the value of meaningful conversations, and in this tip, the meaningful summary.

What is it?

The summary email is a message you draft and send after a call that highlights:

1. Next steps and action items

2. A summary of the conversation

  • Priorities
  • Timeline
  • Budget
  • Impact
  • Pain points

3. A CTA for the prospect to check it out and email back

This tip may seem like standard practice, but it’s worth a mention here to ensure you’re hitting the key step: asking for a response. Instead of a passive summary, that little CTA amps this puppy up to critical conversation flywheel.

Why does it work?

A summary of everything you discussed in a call is both a helpful note for prospects to reference, but it’s also proof that you’re invested and actively listening. It takes a higher level of care to pay attention and pick out the key parts of a conversation, and it’s reassuring to prospects that more conversations can be as fruitful.

The reason this tip works so well, though, is that it directly asks for a response. It creates urgency and accountability for the prospect. Asking for a review of the summary and a head nod that it’s all correct engages them after the conversation is over, and if they respond, it keeps the conversation going. You can bet that those who do respond right away are going to be highly engaged prospects crossing the finish line faster.

9. Sales gifting

Who doesn’t love a gift? Gifts are universal symbols of peace, care, compassion, and trust. All of which, as it happens, are essential to building relationships and closing deals in your sales process.

What is it?

Sales gifting is a strategy that can be plugged into any part of the sales pipeline. While sending a gift to a cold lead could be a great way to stand out in the inbox or entice a booked meeting, this strategy really shines further down the sales cycle.

The more questions you ask about prospects, the more you get to know them, and the opportunity to send truly intentional and memorable gifts ramps up exponentially. Thoughtful gifts infuse sales cycles with moments that engage and delight prospects, making them feel cared for and considered.

If you’re looking for a sales tool that defies cold automation and embraces warm connection, thoughtful gifting is the best option.

An example of the Zest gifting interface.
The perfect gift at the perfect time adds warmth and connection to help close deals.

Why does it work?

Much like relational selling, gifting is an inherently kind and emotional act that not only provides value to prospects, but it also builds a bit more trust than an email or whitepaper alone. It’s proof that you’re thoughtfully invested in the relationship (and you’re willing to put some money behind it).

Gifts are an expression of feeling, and the more personal or thoughtful your gifts are, the deeper the relationship will grow between you and your prospects. You’re already going to reaching out and trying to engage until you can close the deal, and a perfectly timed, personal gift amplifies those touchpoints.

Also, gifts subconsciously trigger feelings of social connection, pleasure, and trust—all of which are much-needed factors in closing a deal. Gifting in every stage of your sales cycles  taps into emotions that even the best AI-generated messaging simply can’t. It’s the human connection everyone craves that automation simply can’t touch.

Stuff Your Sales Playbook and Start Closing More Deals

A career in sales means a lifetime of learning, listening, refining, and growing. Plumping your playbook with tactics that are proven or just being tested is what prepares you to take on any prospect in any situation. Never stop learning and your Closed-Won stats are sure to reflect that.

Liz Lorge
Liz Lorge
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