Great businesses know how to sell. Driving revenue through customers helps your business grow, and is the best way to bring money into your company. Because of this, it's essential that you know how to close clients when you have the chance.

To gain a deeper insight into this topic I recently spoke with sales expert Alex Pirouz. Alex is the founder of Linkfluencer, the world's leading online community for LinkedIn training. Over the past 10 years Alex has started seven different businesses, with two of them reaching a successful exit. He credits a lot of his success as well as his many failures to how he's been able to sell.

Here is Alex's advice on how to close more clients and become a sales machine:

1. Focus on the Customer's Problem

When first meeting with your customer, it's important to take time to understand their pain point. Too many times, we rush to show off our solution without understanding our customer's needs. This is a sure fire way to lose your next client. Instead, prepare questions beforehand to help find the problem during your meeting. Questions like "What's the greatest problem your department is facing right now?" and "What metric would you most like to improve on?" are great starting points. Once you know your customer's issue, tailor your pitch around how your product can solve that problem.

2. Develop a Relationship

Your clients want to do business with people they like. It's tough to create a friendship when all you focus on is closing the deal from the first handshake. Next time you have a meeting with a potential client, try taking them out to lunch or dinner. Getting them away from the office will help them put their guard down, and sharing a meal helps build companionship. Don't stop after one lunch meeting. Send them an article once in a while on a subject they're interested in, and try planning future meetings away from the office. It may take longer and a little more money, but the relationship you build and the loyalty you create will be worth the investment.

3. Prepare to Make the Ask

Once you've developed a good relationship, make sure you are ready to ask for their business. In this stage, it's vital that you bring the contract with you to the meeting. After they commit to buying your product or service, hand them the contract right then and there. You've gone through all the work to win this client, and you don't want to leave them with a chance to change their mind. Put on a big smile, ask the question, shake their hand, and give over the contract to close the deal.

4. Ask for a Referral

One of the easiest ways to close a client is through recommendations for your product or service. When you've done a good job for your customer, ask if they'd be willing to connect you with other potential clients they know. Every time you get an introduction this way, you increase your chances at closing your next sale. Also, make sure you ask your customers if they would be willing to give you a quote or testimonial on how well your product performed. Even better, make a video of all your happy clients giving you recommendations and put them on your company website. As you continue to do this, more and more business will start coming your way.

5. Build a Culture Around Sales

When everyone on your team values sales, it makes closing deals much easier. Make sure you award different parts of your team when you land a client, not just the sales force. This makes sure that everyone pushes each other to bring in new business. Ring a bell in the office whenever you close a sale, or create a point system based on new business brought in. Create a company culture that makes selling fun, and closing clients becomes much easier.