Whenever I am facilitating a sales training session – whether it is something as simple as networking skills, as day-to-day as tendering effectiveness or as detailed as complex selling situations in sophisticated markets, this nearly always comes up as a question. And for someone who started their sales careers over 20 years ago it is a frustrating question because it shows that some people still see selling in the professions all wrong.

But to avoid criticism I will answer the question. Classical selling – where the aim is to get the business regardless of whether it is truly in the interests of the client and focused on the short term transaction – taught about trial closing – where you “test the water” by exploring the likelihood of the client saying “Yes” before actually asking the question. And then there are all the old favourites for a formal close like:

  • The conditional close “If we do x, will you be able to do y…”
  • The assumptive close “Well, that means we can get started on Monday…”
  • The alternative close “Shall we go with option A or option B?”
  • The questioning close “So how would you like to proceed?”

And so on and so forth.

However, what this question misses is that in modern professional services where the typical prospective commercial client relationship may have taken much contact over many months (even years) in order to gain trust, build rapport, explore needs, network through numerous decision makers, assess existing advisers, identify an appropriate opportunity and confirm the necessary authority and motivation there should be no need to “close” as you will have been working towards a business relationship over time and it is therefore a natural progression rather than a step-change driven by one question.

But if you really want help in how to close that sale, then please give me a call and we can find a way to achieve your business and sales aims without alienating the client with naïve sales talk and condemning your hard won new relationship to a short term one…


I do not restrict access to the FAQs but I politely request that you let me know by email and acknowledge the source (www.kimtasso.com) if you wish to use the material anywhere.

As always, if there are particular topics you would like me to address in the future, please let me know. You will also find a source of more and up to date information on a broad range of management and marketing issues in the professions by checking out the blog where I also post regular reviews of books that might be helpful.