The Science of Closing in Sales

“Science is a way of thinking much more than it is a body of knowledge
—Carl Sagan

In sales, there is art and science to what we do. The art of sales is about knowing what language to use with a prospect or customer to get them engaged and the style in which you engage. But the science of sales is much more rigorous. There, you consistently apply a way of thinking and are disciplined in following the same steps each time…and you get predictable results as a seller.

That’s why I describe closing as the science of sales.

Forget common assumptions: highly effective closers are not at the top of their game simply because they have some gift for negotiating or are skilled at persuasion. As I regularly explain during my webinars on this subject: sellers that close more deals at higher values get that way—and stay that way—because they follow a repeatable set of steps each time. They do the legwork until there’s no guesswork.

Here are the real secrets to improving your performance as a closer…

Data rules everything

Ideas and assumptions only become testable if you have data. Only then can you have knowledge that you can apply as a seller. That’s why a well-prepared closer approaches every deal with a complete understanding of their closing ratio and sales velocity (i.e., how fast you’re making sales and earning revenue). They know their prospect inside-out. Therefore, they never panic when something unexpected happens and then resort to manipulative tactics. They are always in command of their deal.

Time ticks slowly with confidence

Closing is a math exercise. When you apply that way of thinking, there’s no uncertainty or a need to push the panic button when a deal isn’t moving quickly. Well prepared, well informed closers know in advance how much time it’s going to take to reach the finish line. Time moves predictably, slowly—and to your advantage—when you have that kind of confidence.

Quality prospecting

The quality of your closings is determined first by the quality of your prospecting. What that means is that you must always have a sales pipeline that’s five-times greater than what you need to close. This entails working your prospecting further inside your customer’s organization and outside, too. When you achieve that kind of consistency on the prospecting side, your closing rate is at minimum on target. The rest is gravy.

Stay paranoid

I don’t mean irrational paranoia here! The best salespeople look at all the risks in a deal and ask themselves what could possibly go wrong…and then come up with a plan to mitigate. They ask scientific questions: ones that prod themselves to examine more carefully what they don’t fully know about their prospect or customer. Furthermore, they take ownership for potentially losing a deal before it happens to remove all the potential pinch points.

It’s a team exercise 

Closing is a science and it involves a whole team the lab to make things work best. Top closers—using data and applying the rigors of a scientific approach—involve a growing number of people in their process. And get winning results each time. For example: a client of mine improved their closing ratio from 25% to 40% simply adding two more people to both the selling and customer side of each deal. More numbers get the bigger numbers.

So always be disciplined about closing in sales. Adopt this scientific mindset—coupled with operationalized value and showcasing how your solution can create compelling ROI across the customer’s organization—and your deals practically close themselves.