The hard close is a closing technique that some salespeople don’t like to keep in their arsenal. This happens because it’s more of a black and white close and can come off as pushy, if not trained properly on it. It’s not for everyone but sometimes a client will never buy unless they’re hard closed. The hard close is for those customers that can’t seem to make up their mind but want to “think about it.”
Essentially, the hard close is when you get down to brass tax and straight up ask the customer to buy or attempting to figure out the true objection. I say true objection because “think about it” more times than not is a stall or fake objection. Why would you have to think about a sure deal anyway? So it’s basically the customer letting you down easy.
Keep in mind that there’s multiple ways to use the hard close. It’s when you’re being as professionally blunt as possible asking for the sale or what the objection is. The ask I tend to resort to is “do you want to go ahead and buy this today?” or “what can we do to get you to sign this deal today?” Now, for the objection pull I say “what’s holding you back from buying this today?” Blunt. To the point. Effective. Simple as that.
When to Use the Hard Close
The reason most salespeople don’t like the hard close is because they don’t know when to use it or got burnt using it, in the past. It’s important to remember to not cut this closing technique out just because a specific customer didn’t respond well to it. I tell you this because the most common sin is using this on a customer that needs the soft close or more of The Assumptive Close.
This close is meant to be a last ditch effort. It’s best used towards the end of an interaction. Mainly you’re going to want to use it after testing the waters with a various soft closing techniques. This is the best way to know if your client even needs the hard close to get the deal done.
Using the hard close too early will either kill the deal completely (even if it’s a person that needs the hard close) or you’ll give yourself quite the hole to dig out of. Either outcome is not ideal. The customer will respond by being completely turned off by you or by building barriers and closing them-self off.
I recommend using 2 or 3 soft closes, in your sales process, before resorting to the hard close. When used at the right time on the right person, the hard close will be sure to get the deal done. You’ll become more effective with your close rate and become with the timing the more you use it.
What to Watch Out For
Keep in mind that the reason the hard close is a last ditch effort is because it’s considered a bridge burner. I would say that there’s a 1-2% chance of the customer coming back to buy after the hard close. Typically, if your customer doesn’t buy they aren’t coming back after the hard close. But the reality is, that client was never going to buy in the first place.
Certain *cough* under-performing *cough* salespeople will disagree and say that a hard close never works and avoid it completely. I have countless stats that prove those salespeople that use hard closes perform better than those that don’t. For those hesitant salespeople I urge you to master this closing technique because it’s a killer. Plus if you don’t like to hard close, sales might not be the best profession for you.
Remember, it’s all about how well trained you are on the hard close. I like the example of firearms. Is someone less likely to get hurt using a firearm if they’re a 25 year old Navy Seal or a 25 year old who’s never wielded a firearm before? You’d pick the Navy Seal because they have extensive training with firearms and know how to use them. The more training and practice you have with this closing technique, the less likely you are to get killed by it… or to have the deal killed by it… you get the point.
Don’t worry nobody’s dying. Or I guess you could look at life as we’re all dying…
In all seriousness, the hard close is widely used by sales masters. This close has the power to take you from average to top producer. It’s all about how open you are, your timing, and how well trained you are on it.
No matter what you can’t close all your clients, as much as I would love that. It’s just impossible. So don’t get discouraged if this close doesn’t work for you to start. Repeated use will allow you to be way better at using it. Let these recommendations be a way for you to start dominating in your industry and take your performance to top producer level.
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