Closing calls are a big deal, and, because they’re so important, they’ve acquired a certain mystique.
They aren’t anything to fear, though, because the right phone sales technique can help you close the deal and drive it home every single time. Below is a nine-step closing call sequence that’s served me well for years.
How to Close a Sales Deal on the Phone
1. Introduce everyone on the call.
The first thing you should do when you make any sales call is to have everyone on the call introduce themselves.
I like to have everyone state their name, title, and any specific goals they want to achieve during the call. If you need to inject some levity into the situation, you can have some light-hearted conversation, but make sure it doesn’t last too long and take time away from the matter at hand — closing the deal.
2. Limit commonalities to two minutes.
If you’re beginning the conversation in a light-hearted manner to warm everyone up, spend no more than two minutes building rapport.
Aim to chat about things you might have in common with those on the call. For example, if your prospects are located in an area you’ve visited you can mention a small anecdote, or if you went to the same college or university, you can call that out as a shared experience.
However, aim to be brief so you’re not getting too involved in non-business matters, as this can negatively impact your ability to close the deal if you have busy executives on the line.
3. Open the discussion with a question.
I usually say “So the goal of our call today is to get you started with HubSpot. Where do we stand?” It’s a bold move, and a lot of salespeople are scared to be this direct, but it’s important to be upfront. At the end of the day, you’re conducting a business transaction, so it’s important to be transparent.
Even though you have planned it as a closing call, the direction of your entire call hinges on your prospects’ answer. Either they’ll respond, “We’re good to move forward, but we just have some last-minute questions,” and you’ll be set to continue as expected.
Or, they’ll say “There are a few things we still have to figure out,” and you’ll need to pivot your strategy and maybe spend the call presenting a value proposition to drive them home.
4. Set an agenda.
If your prospect has expressed they’re ready to close, you can say something like “The rest of our conversation will involve answering any last minute questions, explaining how the closing process works, and setting you up for onboarding once the contract is signed.”
If the question you asked before leads you to believe that your prospect is not actually ready to buy, you can express that you’d like to spend more time answering their questions and giving a value proposition. However, you don’t necessarily have to do this. If your prospect isn’t ready to buy this week or this month, you’re wasting your time. Put the deal back in the pipeline.
5. Establish an onboarding timeline.
If your prospect is ready to go, talk through the specifics of getting started — how they’ll buy your product, and how onboarding and implementation works.
You’ll also want to make them aware of the customer success manager (CSM) handoff, which is when the deal is closed and the prospect begins working with a CSM that will onboard them and help them succeed with your product or service.
6. Answer objections.
A sales objection is a concern a prospect raises in response to something that obstructs their ability to buy from you. Closing calls are often when last-minute objections make themselves known, so it’s important to be prepared to handle them.
If confronted with an objection, your most significant task is to listen. This will help you clearly understand the concern, and figure out how to adequately respond and counter the objection.
The most common type of sales objection is a price objection, and even the most ready-to-buy prospects may make them. For example, a prospect may say “This may be a bit too expensive for us,” and you can follow up with something like “I’d love to go over X’s features and how it will help you address X,” helping you again make a value proposition that sets your business apart from competitors.
Since you want your customers to close, it’s a best practice to welcome objectives and make time for them during the call. To make space for them, you can say something like “Do you have any questions about X?” or “You seem a bit worried about X. What are your main thoughts at the moment?”
7. Negotiate price.
Going into the closing call, you’ve likely already discussed the price with your prospect. Despite this, it’s possible that your prospect may raise a point for negotiation.
These negotiations will have some back and forth, where you approach each other with concessions you’re both willing to make. You should have already established your reservation price so you know your negotiation limits. Many prospects don’t require a discount to get started, so don’t offer if you don’t need to. Let them name a number and go from there.
If you do negotiate, make sure you’re speaking to the decision maker, or whoever has the financial power to approve a deal. If you negotiate with the wrong person, you’re wasting your time and you may leave at a disadvantage if you give away too much.
8. Review the purchasing process.
This step might not apply to you — not all prospects have an extensive procurement or legal review process. But if procurement and legal are getting involved, understand exactly what your prospect needs from you and establish a timeline by which the process should be completed.
9. Get started.
At the end of the call, if everything has gone well, you and your prospect should be all set to sign a contract and start the onboarding process.
Be crystal clear that everyone’s on the same page. Reiterate what you discussed in the call, and literally say the words, “Okay, so we’re in agreement here. I’ll send you a contract and expect to have it back by [agreed-upon date].”
At this point, you should also circle back to the CSM handoff. You can invite the CSM on the call to give a brief introduction so they can develop rapport, or simply let them know that a CSM (give their name) will contact them to help them begin the onboarding process.
Sales Closing Call Tools
Having tools at your disposal during a closing call can help you feel more confident in the process and ensure everything runs smoothly. Below we’ll go over two high-quality tools that will help you nail the close over the phone.
Aircall is a high-powered tool that helps you view your prospects' entire history with your business so you know exactly where they stand with your business. Its standout feature is the call whispering tool that allows your coworkers to discreetly speak to you during calls and provide advice or feedback about the conversation.
This can be incredibly helpful with negotiations and objections, as your coworkers can quickly access a customer profile, identify common issues they’ve faced, and give you advice on how to respond to their questions.
Dialpad’s live call sentiment analysis tool is valuable for closing calls as it analyzes the words prospects say, identifies keywords, relates them to other calls, and lets you know how the conversation will likely go.
The real-time assist tool works hand in hand with the sentiment analysis and surfaces relevant resources to help you move the call along. For example, if a prospect raises an objection and uses the keyword “price,” the tool will surface information that helps you negotiate and discuss pricing.
Over To You
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about salespeople waiting around at the office until 11 p.m. sitting vigil, waiting for a contract to come in. On the last day of the month or quarter, a prospect who’s dragging their feet can be disastrous for your quota. Always make sure you have a way to get in touch in case the decision maker is sitting on your contract and simply needs a nudge.