I always find it amusing when someone is trying to sell me a product and they use a common closing technique. One minute we'll be engaging to small talk, and then all a sudden they'll say something like, "Great, how many orders can I put you down for?" Not only does this take me by surprise, but also it makes me hesitant to work with the seller.

While people brag about pressuring customers, intimidating your client to buy can be trouble. This is shown in sales books like Spin, which shows the negative results that come with using closing lines on big sales. Not only do common closing techniques lead to fewer closes, they also lead to poor relationships. This presents a huge problem, since the value of your customer should come from a long relationship, not their initial buy.

With all this said, it begs the question of how to move clients to the close without over pressuring them. While there are many strategies, I've found a few to work most successful. These tactics will make the buyer feel more comfortable, and increase your close rate. Here are the 3 moves you need to start implementing today.

1. Include a contract with the documents you pass out in the meeting.

You should always carry documents with you that highlight what you're saying in writing. Basic documents should include an FAQ, pricing sheet, and more information on your product. As you're explaining your company and pitching the purchaser, start passing out these documents. This builds trust with the customer because you have everything in writing. It also allows them to repeat the highlights of your presentation to a higher up if they are not the sole decision maker.

Now as you get to the end of your presentation, the last document you hand over is the contract. Instead of pressuring them to sign the contract, you can say something like "And here is what a sample contract would look like." Of course, you should have the contract filled out and ready to sign if the customer is ready, but you don't pressure them. Instead, by just passing over the document, you leave it up to the client to interpret the contract as informative or decisive. If they see it as you just giving more information, they'll say, "thank you" and be appreciate of you giving them a sample. But if they're ready to make the sale, they'll ask you when you need back by or reach for a pen.

2. Edit the contract with the buyer

If your purchaser takes your contract and doesn't look like they're closed on your sale, that's not a problem. Keep going with your pitch or answer any questions that customer has. Then when you think you have another chance to close ask to check the guidelines of the contract with the client. Say something like, "I know you said you're not purchasing today, but I just want to get my information correct. If you decide to partner with us, how long would you prefer the contract for? Is there an ideal start date?" What this does is help complete the paperwork without making the customer feel threatened. All you're doing is asking what the customer wants, but your also moving the client closer to signing with you. When the buyer tells you edits he wants, write them down and say that you'll take care of it.

If your client repeats that he's not buying right now, say "Of course, I just want to make it easy for you once you make your decision." This helps you keep the purchaser on your side, because he's already done so much work to finish your deal. If he were to go to your competitor, he'd have to start this process all over. The other benefit is that you're giving him a few wins in the contract negotiation. This makes the customer think he's getting a great deal, and encourages him to complete the deal now.

3. Before leaving, set up a time to go over follow-up questions

Once you've given a sample contract and wrote down edits, judge where the purchaser is with closing. If they still aren't ready to give you a commitment, before you leave the meeting ask when you can have a follow up call about the paperwork. Your client might suggest that they get back you if they're interested; but that leaves too much risk that you'll lose the sale. If your buyer says this, respond with "OK, would it just be possible for us to ask you some follow up questions next week?" There's no pressure in this because you're just trying to find out more information so you can deliver the best product.

When this meeting arrives, you need to make sure you use it as a way to move the deal to the end. Useless meetings just extend the sales cycle, and waste everyone's time. The point of this call should be you asking final questions on what they expect, and reviewing contract terms. By the end of the encounter, your customer should know that your company wants to get started now. By knowing the terms of the deal and realizing that your team is ready to begin, they'll want to make a decision quick. When you find out people are waiting on you to decide, you get more motivation to take action. This will help you either close the client, or find out that he isn't interested. Either way, you brought the buyer all the way through the sales cycle without wasting time or ruining a relationship.

Published on: Nov 17, 2014
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