By Dave Kahle

How to Close the Sale ~ You’ve Got to ‘Open’ Before You Can Close

How to Close the Sale

Every salesperson talks about “Closing the sale.” The best salespeople understand that before you can close the sale, you must open it.

What is opening?

“Opening” means using well designed and delivered questions to thoroughly uncover as many aspects of the buying decision as possible. Too many salespeople mistakenly concern themselves with only the technical aspects of the sale, and neglect entirely some of the other issues.

Most competitors are able to meet the prospect’s technical needs. The sale often goes to the supplier who takes the time to understand the personal and situational aspects of the buying dynamics.

Personal illustration

I made a joint sales call with a client’s salesperson which illustrates this important skill.

After measuring the area and recording the specs for some new equipment the prospect was interested in, the salesperson I was coaching said to the prospect, “I’ll fax you a proposal in a couple days, OK?” He had done an excellent job of noting the technical requirements, but a non-existent job of “opening” the sale. As the salesperson was preparing to leave, I intervened and asked the following “opening” questions.

In order to qualify the prospect, I asked, “What’s the possibility of you ordering this within the next few weeks?”  His response? “None at all. I’m just collecting information for the budget.”

The salesperson would have vainly tried to close a sale that was never opened! He didn’t realize that because he didn’t take the time, nor have the courage, to correctly open the sale.

Here are the rest of the questions I asked.

“What’s your situation?”The answer to this helps you understand the underlying motivations for the prospect and gives you a broad view of the pressures on him/her. The more you understand the situation from the prospect’s perspective, the more prepared …


Discover how mastering the sales opening process is crucial for successful closure. Explore effective strategies with insights from Commence’s blog. Improve your sales approach with a robust sales tracking system.