How to Close a Sale: 10 Real Strategies and Examples from Service Industry Experts
We asked successful service business owners how to shorten the sales cycle and confidently close more deals. Here’s what they had to say.
After marketing your service business, warming up leads, visiting your prospects, and sending out quotes, you need to close the sale. Why are those three short words so hard to do?
Because salespeople walk a very fine line. Nobody wants to be the aggressive, self-serving agent pushing customers into an uncomfortable deal. But as a service business owner, you need to know how to confidently close sales if you want to see your bottom line grow.
Over the years, we’ve spoken to million-dollar business owners and trades industry experts to learn about closing more sales.
Now, we’ve gathered up their tried-and-true strategies for winning more deals and increasing your close ratio in 2019.
If you’re serious about growing your service business, use these time-tested strategies to close more sales, faster.
How to Close a Sale
- Earn your prospect’s trust
- Establish a genuine rapport
- Be prepared to overcome objections
- Create and send detailed quotes
- Always, always follow-up
- Use social proof
- Increase sales with existing customers
- Use tech as a sales tool
- Disconnect yourself from the sale
- Use sales closing lines with confidence
1. Earn your prospect's trust
The number one thing you can do to close more sales is show your prospective customers that you take their time and their business seriously from day one. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many contractors simply drop the ball when it comes to being on time.
“The best sales technique is to call people when we say we’re going to call them, and show up when we say we’re going to show up,” says Matt Logan, master arborist and owner of Logan Tree Experts. “We get prospects saying ‘thank you so much for calling me back!’ That’s literally the least we can do.”
Making prospects wait, especially during early conversations, sets the tone for the entire relationship and will send potential clients straight into your competitors’ arms.
Use scheduling software, automated reminders, or alarm clocks — whatever it takes to call and show up on time.
Matt Logan, Logan Tree Experts
The best sales technique is to call people when we say we’re going to call them, and show up when we say we’re going to show up. We get prospects saying ‘thank you so much for calling me back!’ That’s literally the least we can do.
2. Establish a genuine rapport
When you go to visit a prospective client, don’t just give them a number. Talk to them.
“The more you can interact with a customer, the more trust you establish,” says Stanley ‘Dirt Monkey’ Genadek, the lawn care and landscaping sales expert behind Dirt Monkey University. “The ability to do so will put you lightyears ahead of a contractor who simply shows up, writes a number down on a piece of paper, and walks away.”
Stephen Richardson from 20/20 Window Cleaning offers similar advice:
“Get to know your clients on a more fun level than just doing the service you provide and collecting payment. Being personable is huge in the service business. It can make a huge difference when someone is deciding between two companies for the same service.”
Avoid using jargon or telling them what you think they need. Instead, show a genuine interest in their needs, concerns, and lifestyle. Next, explain the root of the issue they are having and go over each of the solutions available to them — whether you offer them or not.
Yes, this will take time. But by doing so, you’ll gain their trust and ease their anxiety, a surefire formula to winning more business.
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3. Be prepared to overcome objections
We love this sales closing strategy from Josh Cronin, sales rep at Window Cleaning Resource:
“You have to remember that the more questions asked means the more potential for a no. Here is an example:
Hi, do you need a window cleaner? ((NO))
Can I give you an estimate? ((NO))
Here’s the estimate, can I do your windows? ((NO))
Now if you walk up, take a count of the windows, write the quick estimate, walk in, introduce yourself give them a card, and say ‘we are in the area doing estimates and I had a chance to take a quick count of your windows and here is what it will be.’ You have just skipped 3 chances for a no, now they have all the info they need without a no. The less steps you go through the less chances for a no.”
This tip works for window cleaning businesses or any other industry. Remove the opportunity to say no, be proactive, and show your prospects why they should choose your business — even if they weren’t looking for it!
Now that’s a sales closing strategy we can get behind.
Stephen J Richardson, 20/20 Window Cleaning
Cold calling has been the best thing for growing our business, as in going in to stores/businesses/restaurants and introducing our business and services and then following up soon thereafter. The cost of doing this is minimal and it can get you a lot of work quickly.
4. Create and send detailed quotes
Shorten the sales cycle by sending a detailed quote as soon as possible after your assessment.
List each part or service’s price instead of a lump sum. That way the client can approve the quote right away without asking questions that may delay the process.
5. Always, always follow-up
This simple sales technique can help you close more deals with practically zero effort.
How many times have you sent a quote to a prospective client and never heard back from them again? Maybe you figured they weren’t happy with the quote and went with a competitor instead?
In reality, many clients don’t respond to quotes either because they’re too shy to bring it up with you, or they’re busy and life got in the way!
“Jobber shows us if a quote hasn’t been converted, so we add a task to email or call that client,” says Matt Logan. “Often they’ll say ‘hey thanks, I was out of town’ or ‘I forgot to get back to you, go ahead.’”
By simply taking a few seconds to send a follow-up email after a quote, Matt closes deals that would have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
The best part is, you can use field service management software like Jobber to track unanswered quotes and automate the follow-up process for you. You’ll be closing more deals while you sleep!
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6. Use social proof
Another effective strategy is to let former customers do the selling for you.
Social proof, such as positive reviews, references, and success stories, is a powerful sales tool.
To use social proof to increase your sales, share detailed examples of how you’ve helped other customers in similar situations improve. Instead of a mere reference, explain your previous customer’s challenges, how you addressed their needs, and the results they’ve achieved since working with you.
Pro tip: Use the power of storytelling to really drive your value home. “Today’s 30 year old is going to run their house like a business”, says Katie Pearse, service business expert. “They’re not spending their weekends cleaning. They’re booking snow removal, they’re outsourcing their laundry. Their thinking is: My time is better spent elsewhere.
You are no longer selling a luxury to people. People already want a cleaner, they’re already sold, so why should they pick you?”
7. Increase sales with existing customers
“Call and email to your current book of business,” says David Moerman from Revive Washing. “We reach out to our past customers 3-4X per year.”
Instead of chasing new leads, it’s both easier and less expensive to sell more to existing clients.
You can do this by:
- Analyzing your customer list for cross-selling or up-selling opportunities
- Automating follow-ups to stay in touch with customers and build repeat business
- Training your team to proactively offer related products or services while they’re in the field. For example, if your lawn care team notices that one of your client’s has a brown spot because the sprinkler system isn’t adjusted properly, have them take a picture. Follow up with the client and ask if you can assist with that.
To learn more about this deal-closing strategy, check out our easy guide to increasing sales with existing customers.
8. Use tech as a sales tool
Consumer demographics and expectations are changing.
Even if you’re a seasoned sales-pro, you should be re-evaluating your sales techniques regularly to stay ahead of the curve.
This came up in our Cleaning Industry Trends and Predictions:
“Our online leads from our website generate almost 80-90% of our business, having our phone ring less and less each month,” says Monica Doyle, owner of Monica Maid. “I believe people need the convenient and quick response options for all areas of the booking: confirmation, finalizing, and following up. This also means sending an email for a quote after business hours is what works for them, communicating via text and email, and limiting actual phone calls and voicemails.”
Monica Doyle, Monica Maid
We have found that especially in the last year, most people want to pay via credit card or e-transfer. So having those options readily available is definitely an asset.
The same goes for offering simple, convenient, and modern payment options:
“We have found that especially in the last year, most people want to pay via credit card or e-transfer,” says Monica. “So having those options readily available is definitely an asset. Cash payment is about 1% of our total monthly transactions.
Processing with Jobber Payments directly has been a huge time saver on our end, easier for our clients, and definitely better to keep everything under one profile.”
9. Disconnect yourself from the sale
Our final sales closing technique may seem counterintuitive, but it comes straight from Don Snow, owner of Halycon Consulting. He specializes in training HVAC sales representatives and offers tried-and-true HVAC sales tips from his own experience.
After years of experience, he believes most sales people are too pushy. “They try to make it all about them, always talking about features and benefits.”
If you push too hard, your clients will pull back. Maybe you’ll get the “actually, we’ve decided to postpone work for another season” line…or find out they’ve gone with a competitor they felt more comfortable with.
“Disconnect yourself from the sale,” says Don. Assuming you’ve followed through the steps above — showed up on time, listened to their concerns and educate them on available solutions, sent a detailed quote and followed-up promptly— you won’t lose them by simply giving them space and time to decide.
Just make sure you have a solid follow-up process. For Don, that means using Jobber’s HVAC software to automate follow-ups, keep detailed notes about each client, and wow prospects with professionalism.
10. Use sales closing lines with confidence
Now that you’ve learned some new strategies to help you close more deals, faster, it’s time to put them to practice.
Of course, no matter how hard you’ve worked to build rapport, establish trust, and follow-up, you still need to ask for the sale.
To help you confidently walk into that closing conversation, here are some respectful, non-pushy sales-closing phrases you can use:
5 Sales Closing Lines that Work
- Unless you have any questions or concerns at this point, it seems like we’re a good fit and I think we’re ready to get started. What do you think?
- If we can find a way to deal with [prospect’s objection or concern], would you be able to sign the contract on [date]?
- Taking everything into consideration, I’d say either X or Y are your best options. Which one do you prefer?
- If you’re ready to move forward, I can email you the contract and collect a deposit right now.
- If we sign the contract by Monday, the work will be complete by [date], just in time for your big event! How does that sound?
As you can see, each of these sales lines keeps the conversation open, while giving the prospect either added confidence in your abilities, or an incentive to get started ASAP.
Sales is an art, not a science. Adapt these sales closing techniques to your service industry business and then let us know how you’ve done in the comments below!