7 successful sales people share their advice on closing a deal

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Technology has brought endless new tools and opportunities to salespeople. But the fundamentals haven’t changed.

From subtle linguistic tricks, to the importance of relationships and building trust, here are tips to closing a deal from some of Australia’s sales legends.

Nick Bell, founder and managing director, WME

Nick Bell, founder and managing director of WME

It’s very important to build rapport with potential clients, because quite simply, if people don’t like you, they won’t buy from you.

Next, you need to outline the value of your services and how it can benefit your prospective client. Don’t bog them down with the features. Focus on how it can help them reach their business goals. 

When I’m closing a deal, I never ask “Would you like to proceed?” Instead, I say, “Let’s proceed.” It’s subtle, but it definitely makes a difference, as it gives people less opportunity to change their mind or back out.

Natalija Tanevska, associate, Cohen Handler

Natalija Tanevska, associate at Cohen Handler

In order to close a deal successfully, it’s important to keep a few things in mind. Success doesn’t come naturally; firstly, do your homework. Clients come to you for advice, and the advice you provide (be it price, time frame or industry information) needs to be accurate. Make it easy for the client, so they know they have the right support every step of the way, especially when they’re making a big purchase like a property.

Secondly, be open and transparent at all times. It’s important to be honest by letting the client know about the benefits and also risks that may be associated with a purchase — this not only comforts the client, but builds trust. A successful sale is not just about closing a deal — think about whether they’d enlist your help again, or if they’d recommend the business to their friends and family.

Finally, create a sense of urgency and excite them about a great purchase! If it fits in with all their requirements, then it shouldn’t be a hard deal to close.

Alastair Coleman, founder, Nothing But Web

Alastair Coleman, founder of Nothing But Web

If the potential client is stalling on a response, my advice is to re-confirm their pain points, and to evoke some sort of emotion in their decision-making process. For starters, I might ask them, “How might this impact your business if you don’t get started on this soon?”

Then, it’s a good idea to build the desire again and lead the potential client to agreeing to all of the reasons why they need to start now. Next, I would reiterate that you can answer the client’s questions and assist them in moving closer to achieving their business goals.

James Wakefield, co-Founder and director, InStitchu


The words “closing a deal” are often associated with aggressive sales tactics employed late in the game to get the other party across the line. However, closing the deal is less about applying pressure to the other party in the closing stages of negotiation and more about finding a solution that benefits both parties involved.

It helps if you think of a deal as a venn diagram. When two parties enter into negotiation there is always an overlap between the sellers bottom line and the buyers top line. Finding an outcome within this crossover section of the venn diagram is the secret to closing a deal. If both parties leave the negotiations happy with the outcome it also often leads to longer lasting partnerships, rather than one party pressuring the other into an unfair deal and coming out way on top.

Another thing to consider when entering into negotiations, is that there are often concessions which both parties are willing to make, not directly associated with the money or goods involved. These can be used to “sweeten the deal”, and while you can include additional extras in the deal that cost you nothing, this might mean enough to the other party to get the deal across the line.

Joel Katz, APAC managing director, FileMaker

Joel Katz

It’s not magic or a big secret, closing a deal comes down to filling the pipeline with highly qualified opportunities. The best qualifiers are usually the best closers. Qualifying needs to go far beyond BANT (Budget, Access, Need and Timing). For example, sales reps need to consider if there is a clear and compelling event, if there are competing projects, if your sponsor has buying experience, and if they outlined in intricate detail the procurement and legal process.

If the sales rep creates a relationship during the sales cycle where they are perceived as the trusted advisor, all while grinding through these tactics, then closing the deal becomes far more likely.

Damian Naughton, sales director media & sports, Brightcove

Damian Naughton

The most important rule for closing a deal — although quite obvious — is actually asking for the sale. Too many salespeople go through the whole sales process but forget to explicitly ask the prospect if they actually want to work with them.

A winning strategy is to reverse engineer the sale. This means, know your market and study your prospects, so you can talk to them like you’re part of the company. Be genuinely interested in the prospect’s business and think about it as if it was your own. Identify the challenges the business faces and ask yourself up-front if you can solve those challenges. Having that conversation early in the relationship and providing them with a real solution will give you a better chance at winning the deal.

It’s also important to set regular objectives that lead you to your revenue goals. Every week, establish objectives that are achievable and measurable, and monitor your results. Knowing how much work you need to do in order to achieve your number gives you a better chance of actually reaching your target.

Lastly, block out a couple of hours a week where you don’t have access to email (put an auto-reply on if required). This will give you valuable time to make calls without being distracted by emails.

Jack Campbell, managing director for client success, Meltwater Australia & New Zealand

Jack Campbell, managing director for client success, Meltwater Australia & New Zealand

Relationships are key to closing the deal. Creating value for your client is just the first step, but without a relationship, you’ll find your message falls on deaf ears. Taking a genuine interest in your clients, empathising with their challenges, and understanding how they fit into their wider organisation, is essential. If you build a relationship, you’ll find closing the deal is just one small part of a much larger partnership.

I encourage my team to understand the people they’re speaking to before they even discuss the services we provide. This makes for a harmonious partnership where we are seen as an extended part of their team, not just a service provider.

So in short, closing the deal is not just about the thrill of bringing money in the door. It’s a reward for understanding your clients and the value you and your service brings to their organisation.