How to Win the “Contested Close”

by | Nov 4, 2014 | Sales Motiviation

By Jeff Beals

I’m a big believer in doing everything right before closing in order make the close anti-climactic.  If you have established a relationship and figured out what the prospective client truly values, then the close is generally a formality, a foregone conclusion.  All you have to do is ask, call the question, seal the deal.

Closes are easy when the prospect has a trusting relationship with you and you truly understand who they are and what they’re all about.  But what happens when the prospect has established a trusting relationship with you and your competitor at the same time?  What if the prospective client falls in love with two competing vendors?

This is a contested close. It is not terribly common but it does pop up from time to time.

When you find yourself in a contested close, be prepared to go into battle and fight until the very end.  Never give up.

I like to think of contested closings as being analogous to the fourth quarter of a tight football game or the bottom of the ninth inning of tied baseball game.  Keep battling so you are properly positioned in case the chance to win presents itself.  You never know what could happen at the very end of the game or the end of the sales process.  Like athletes competing to the final whistle, salespeople who keep fighting put themselves in position to snatch victory at just the opportune time.

If you are mired in a contested close, it might mean you tried to close too soon.  In other words, the prospect is not ready.  Take a few steps back in the process and go return to the fundamentals: ask more questions, build trust and search for ways that your product or service provides what they value.  Focus on your value differentiating factors.

You might also do some competitor research if you know which company or individual is competing with you.  Find their weaknesses as a provider and think about how your solution might be better.  Generally, it’s not a good idea to point out the competitor’s weaknesses directly.  Instead, accentuate your positives in the areas where you know the competition is week.

Jeff Beals is a professional speaker and award-winning author, who helps professionals enjoy greater success through effective sales, marketing and personal branding techniques. He delivers energetic and humorous keynote speeches and workshops to audiences worldwide. To discuss booking a presentation, go to or email at or call us at (402) 637-9300.

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Jeff Beals helps you find better prospects, close more deals and capture greater market share. He is an international award-winning author, sought-after keynote speaker, and accomplished sales consultant. He delivers compelling speeches and sales-training workshops worldwide. He has spoken in 5 countries and 41 states. A frequent media guest, Jeff has been featured in Investor’s Business Daily, USA Today, Men’s Health, Chicago Tribune and The New York Times.

To discuss booking a presentation, go to or send an email to

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