Assumptive Close: Definition, How to Use It & Alternatives

Improve your conversion by checking out our guide on the assumptive close, complete with how-to steps and specific examples.

The assumptive close, also referred to as the presumptive close, is a closing technique that uses phrases and questions to imply that your prospect is going to make a purchase. Instead of asking the prospect if they would like to buy, you instead ask how they would like to buy. By assuming that the deal is a foregone conclusion, you show confidence in your product or service, propel the deal toward the close, and attempt to avoid a "no" from the prospect.

How the Assumptive Close Works

When you employ the assumptive close at the end of your sales process, you first nurture the prospect to ensure that you understand their needs and that they know what to expect from the product or service. When the prospect indicates that they're ready to buy, you make a transition statement to start the closing process, ask closing questions to help them see the value in purchasing the solution, then use a closing statement to assumptively make the official ask.

The assumptive close is a common and effective sales closing technique because it can help you sign a contract more quickly and can be used in combination with other closing techniques. For instance, you can use the summary close to list the details you've discussed around the purchase such as their package or color preferences, then assume the sale by saying you'll send over an agreement so you can move forward with the deal and deliver those details to the buyer.

As with any technique, there are pros and cons to the assumptive close, as well as alternatives for when the technique doesn’t seem to fit your prospect's personality or your own. For this reason, it's important to understand when to use or avoid the assumptive close as well as how to use it, including the best closing questions to ask and what a proper assumptive close looks like.

Who Should Use the Assumptive Close?

An assumptive close is known as an industry standard within sales; most salespeople should leverage this technique, especially when there’s clear mutual respect in the relationship and/or the prospect has been easygoing throughout the sales process. It offers a high chance of closing, as it sets the tone for a sale out of the gate. However, there are certain prospects who have temperaments that can cause the assumptive close to backfire.

When to Avoid Using the Assumptive Close

When considering whether to use the assumptive close or another sales closing technique, first ensure that assumptive language feels authentic for you and fits your selling style. Then, consider your relationship with the prospect, the buyer persona they fit into, and their personality to elicit a positive response from them. Not every person will appreciate being sold to assumptively, so avoid using it with buyers who exhibit aggressive, controlling, or hyper-analytical temperaments:

  • Aggressive Temperament: If you're contacting a prospect who seems irritable or aggressive about being sold to, an assumptive close may increase their level of irritation.
  • Controlling Temperament: Many prospects are open to discussing a deal, but are only comfortable if they run the show. Pushing the pace with an assumptive close can offend these prospects and reduce interest in negotiations.
  • Hyper-Analytical Temperament: Prospects who need to be aware of every little detail before making a decision may feel rushed by an assumptive close, and this can make them feel overwhelmed or pressured if they don’t feel they have enough information.

Unless your prospect shows signs of having one of these three temperaments or the assumptive close doesn't fit with your own personality or selling style, consider defaulting to this closing technique. It's an industry standard for a reason, and it works best in many circumstances.

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Once you understand whether to use the assumptive close with most of your prospects, it's time to learn how to do it well so you can increase your close rate.

How to Use the Assumptive Sales Closing Technique

To properly use the assumptive close, you need to know when to start using the technique, what to say and ask, and how to go in for the official close. First, you'll nurture and learn about your prospect until they seem ready to buy, then you'll transition to asking closing questions about the details of the purchase that you assume they'll make, and finally you'll use a closing statement to encourage them to sign a contract.

Follow these steps to use the assumptive close technique:

  1. Nurture Your Prospect Until They Show Buying Intent: Qualify and nurture your prospect using the activities within your sales process; once you understand them and they seem highly interested in your offering, use a transition statement to start the closing process.
  2. Ask Questions About Purchase and Delivery Details: Instead of asking if the prospect is ready to make a deal based on the value you’ve uncovered, ask assumptive closing questions about specific details of the delivery. 
  3. Use a Closing Statement When You’ve Covered All Details: Once you’ve received the delivery details you need, confirm that they're ready to sign the paperwork by making an assumptive closing statement.

Let’s cover how best to perform each step, including using sales transition statements, closing questions, and closing statements in each step to assumptively ask for the sale.

1. Nurture Your Prospect & See Buying Intent

Before you can successfully close a deal with a prospect, you must be sure that you've learned enough about them and their needs, taught them about your product or service and how any specific levels or packages can benefit them, and recognized that they're willing to move forward with a purchase. These three signs will indicate to you that it's time to make an assumptive close.

Below are the specifics on these three triggers to start the assumptive close:

  • Understand Your Prospect's Needs: Review your prospect's needs assessment, revelant notes from your discovery call or other direct communications, and details from your marketing team or CRM software regarding the prospect's engagement with your brand.
  • Educate the Prospect About Your Offering: Sufficiently nurture the prospect using calls and emails plus a demo, presentation, proposal, or any other strategy in your lead nurturing process. Let them know what to expect from your product, focusing on their goals and pain points.
  • Spot Strong Buying Intent: Look for signs that your prospect is willing to buy — interest in a specific use case, questions about working with you, requests for confirmation regarding a detail you've communicated, or heavy activity on your product, service, or pricing page.

Once you fully understand your prospect and you've discussed in detail how your product or service can help them achieve their goals and/or solve their problems, they should start to show buying intent. This gives you confidence that you'll get a "yes" when you start your assumptive close. Depending on your industry, you might be able to accomplish all of this during your first conversation, but for most, these three triggers will happen after a few discussions.

At this point, it's time to use a sales transition statement such as "It looks like {product} will work perfectly for you," then continue with assumptive questions.

2. Ask Questions About Purchase & Delivery Details

Now that you’re prepared to start closing, ask assumptive questions about which product they want, how they want it delivered, and all other delivery details that you need to finalize the deal; we’ll cover specific examples later on.

The one rule here is to never ask “Do you want to move forward with a purchase?,” as you want to create an environment wherein the sale is a foregone conclusion and skip straight to delivery. Instead of giving the prospect an opportunity to say “no,” expect that they're on board with the sale. Buying is an emotional process, and creating social incentive to continue on with the delivery details increases the chances of a sale, as long as the product or service truly is a fit.

Here are some questions that I would ask to get the delivery details when I sold cars:

  • Product Type: “So the car you’d want to buy is the {year and model}, right?”
  • Product Specifications: “Alright, and you want the one we test drove: {color 1} exterior, {color 2} interior?”
  • Product Upgrades: “Great choice. Do you want the paint protection or maintenance package we talked about a bit? Any other odds and ends, like upgraded rims or running boards?”
  • Product Pickup or Delivery Date: “Awesome. If I can get that all together, are you looking to drive it off the lot now, or would you need to set up a pickup time?”

If the prospect says something like “Well, I never said I’m going to buy,” simply bring up the details that you discussed during discovery and nurturing. This will sound like “Oh, my apologies. You told me it was going to save you ${amount} every year and speed up your operations, so I figured that meant you were interested in purchasing. Is there anything holding you back from making a purchase?” This should help propel you toward a final closing statement.

3. Use a Closing Statement to Get a Verbal "Yes"

Once you’ve gotten all of your prospect’s preferences for delivery, you’ll assumptively invite them to finalize the deal. Consider starting with the summary close by mentioning all of the information they just gave you and then finishing with the assumptive close by telling them that you can get things moving right away. This makes the close as easy as possible by detailing exactly what the purchase will look like and telling them that the contract is the final step.

Below are a few closing statements that work well with the assumptive close:

  • Relationship-Focused Statement: "You seem to like {product} and how it'll help you accomplish {goal}, and you also seem to like working with me, so the last step is to get the contract signed."
  • Deadline-Focused Statement: "I know you're trying to hit {goal} by {date}, so let's move on to the agreement so we can help you do that."
  • Benefits-Focused Statement: "We've established that {product} will help you {benefit regarding time or money}. The sooner we sign the papers, the more you'll benefit, so let's do it."

For my car sales example, this is what the final summary and assumptive close could look like: “Alright, so you want the {year and model} with a {color 1} exterior, {color 2} interior delivered today with the paint protection and a maintenance package. We can get that into detail for you right now, and sign the paperwork, and you can be driving it out of here in about half an hour.” By this point, the prospect will likely be on board to move forward as a customer.

Pro Tip:

You can start the final close earlier only if the prospect invites you to. So, if they interrupt your assumptive closing questions with “Okay, I think I’m ready to buy” or any other invitation to get the contract started, you can ask the rest of your delivery questions while handling the paperwork.

Top 7 Assumptive Closing Questions to Ask

While the question examples above can help you in many assumptive closing situations, there are additional general questions that you can use in almost any industry to gather your delivery details. Take a look at the example questions below, using them as a reference point for your own or asking them exactly as they’re written.

Here are our top seven assumptive closing questions to ask:

  • Start Date: “When were you looking to {take the product home/start the service}?”
  • Quantity: “How many {products} do you need?”
  • Delivery Date: “Do you want me to set that up for delivery later today?”
  • Upgrades: “Do you also want some purchase protection with your order?”
  • Payment: “How would you like to pay for your {product}?
  • Billing Contact: “Whose name should I put on the invoice?”
  • Deal Specifications: “Which {product option/model} were you looking to purchase?”

Each of these questions can fill a line item on an invoice or a section on closing paperwork, and help create a faster and easier closing process. When you have your prospect’s answers and are able to put together the paperwork for them, it can make “yes” practically roll off of their tongue. This is helpful for you because you make the sale, and it can be helpful for indecisive prospects that struggle with analysis paralysis — in other words, those who overanalyze buying decisions.

Pro Tip:

Ask the amount of questions you need to both gather the key information and get your prospect in a place where you believe they'll move forward when you assume the sale. I asked many of these questions up front when I sold cars, but sellers in certain industries may only need to ask one or two before making a successful closing statement.

Assumptive Closing Example

To help you get an idea of what these steps and general questions look like in sequence, let’s flesh out our car sales example at its full length so that you can see the whole process. Because car buyers often visit a dealership and leave with a car on the same day, this example allows us to quickly show the sales process from lead generation all the way through deal close.

This script assumes some common responses from a prospect, starting with discovery and nurturing to learn about the prospect and help them get comfortable with a purchase. Then, after the prospect indicates strong buying intent, we ask purchase and delivery questions, then finish with a closing statement to verbally finalize the deal. We've noted each of these steps below.

Salesperson (S): “So, how much time do you usually spend driving?” (beginning of discovery and nurturing)

Prospect (P): “I commute a half hour each way to work, five days a week.”

S: “Wow, so having a nicer and more comfortable interior would probably make that easier, huh?”

P: “Yeah, I’ve really been wanting a car with a leather interior and a better sound system.”

S: “That’s good to hear. We definitely have solid options for you, both standard and upgraded. What are your other priorities in a new car?”

P: “I really want something safe. I drive my kids around a lot after work and do all of the driving on weekends.”

S: “I understand that completely. Luckily, our cars have great safety ratings, so we can certainly offer that peace of mind. The model we test drove has a five-star safety rating; would that be the one you want to take home?”

P: “Yeah, it’s my favorite SUV that you offer, so if I were to buy, that would be the one I’d choose.” (indication of strong buying intent)

S: “I love that car — I always enjoy the test drives. Would you want it in the same white exterior and black interior, or were you interested in a different color combination?” (beginning of specific purchase and delivery questions)

P: “I think I like the white-on-black the best.”

S: “Great choice. Do you want the paint protection or the maintenance package that we talked about a bit? Or any other odds and ends, like upgraded rims or running boards?”

P: “I’m not looking to go too overboard on the upgrades. Whatever the test drive car had on the inside is fine, but I think the running boards will help my kids get in a little easier.”

S: “Alright, I’ll mark those down for now, and you can always change your mind later. Looks like we have a 2022 {model}, white-on-black, with running boards. If I can get all of that together for you, would you be looking to take it home today, or would you need to set up a pickup time?”

P: “I’d take it home today.”

S: “Alright, well I can get the car into detail right now. We’ll just put you down for the one we test drove and have service put the running boards on while we get papers signed.” (closing statement)

P: “Sounds good to me!”

Through this example, we hammered out discovery items like how much they drive, if a newer car would improve their experience, and what they're looking for in the car, simultaneously nurturing them throughout so they felt comfortable to buy. Then, we covered all of the delivery details we needed, like what car they wanted, in what color combination, and with what options. After that, all we had to do was confirm the date and offer to do it all for them, and we got the deal done.

Pros & Cons of the Assumptive Close

The assumptive close is the closing technique that we recommend for most circumstances. That being said, there are pros and cons to consider so you can make an informed decision on whether to use it. For example, it can help you reach a deal faster, avoid a "no," remove pressure from the prospect, and inspire confidence in you both. However, when used with the wrong person, you might come off as salesy, interrupt your prospect's ability to develop product desire, or turn off your buyer.

Assumptive Close Pros

Assumptive Close Cons

Assumptive closing has a few powerful advantages, which is why we recommend it for most sales situations. The following aspects of the assumptive close make it one of the best ways to approach the closing process:

  • Speeds Up the Buying Process: The momentum-driven approach that the assumptive close takes usually results in a faster process for you and the prospect.
  • Never Invites the “No”: Assumptive closing doesn’t require any closed-ended questions, and doesn’t give your prospect any direct opportunity to say “no.”
  • Takes the Pressure Off of the Prospect: Assumptive closing uses a guided approach that lets the prospect go along for the ride until the very end, when they officially buy.
  • Inspires Confidence: If you seem confident in what you have to offer, it’s much easier to get your prospect confident in purchasing it.

As with anything, though, there are drawbacks to this approach, as well. Click the next tab to learn a few of those and make your decision.

While a guided, streamlined approach can make it easier for most of your customers to make a purchase, there are some drawbacks to this technique for prospects who like to have more control. Here are some of the cons of the assumptive closing approach:

  • Can Come Off as Pushy: While many prospects welcome the easy flow of assumptive closing, it can turn off prospects who don’t like the assumption, or feel underinformed.
  • Doesn’t Leave Room for Desire: Sometimes, it’s better to let the prospect’s desire for your solution grow. Assuming the sale may not give them time to want your product.
  • Turns Off More Controlling Buyers: Some prospects are more comfortable if they have control, and this guided approach strips them of that agency and can blow the sale.
  • Poor Execution Can Backfire: If you try to close assumptively without practicing or preparing questions, the approach slows down the deal and can be confusing.

These cons relate to the list of temperaments that we mentioned above, and you should be cognizant of them when speaking with your prospect and deciding how to close the sale.

The pros, in our opinion, far outweigh the cons, which is why we recommend that most salespeople default to using this closing technique. You can try the assumptive close with several of your prospects that have the right personality for it, then note your success rate and your own comfort with it. You can then decide if it's right for you and better understand when to use or avoid it.

Alternative Sales Closing Techniques to Use

If assumptive selling won’t work for a given prospect, or it doesn't feel authentic to you and your style, you should know some of our recommended alternatives to use instead. Some of the top options include the soft close, the inoffensive close, and the 1-to-10 close. Each involves asking direct questions about the prospect's desire to purchase and use your product or service; while they all invite a "no," they could be a better fit in some cases.

Soft Close

Inoffensive Close

1-to-10 Close

Soft closing is similar to assumptive closing in the sense that it takes place over a somewhat long period of time. Throughout the sales process, you’ll make soft, conditional closes to get your prospect used to saying “yes” and to gather concrete commitment from them.

These will usually sound like the following:

  • “If we took 20% off of your first order, would we be able to make a deal today?”
  • “If I can get you a free navigation upgrade, would we be able to do a deal at MSRP today?”
  • “Could we get a deal done today if I could get you your first month free?”

The soft close is a great way of working with prospects who seem close to saying yes but might just need even a small concession in order to commit to a purchase. It gives the prospect control over the process, but still ushers them toward a close because it makes them feel like they're getting a special deal.

An inoffensive close is a solid way to handle more controlling prospects, as it eases the prospect into the close by asking them questions regarding how pleased they are with your product. You start by listing off all the ways that you have discovered that your product fits their business, and then ask them if there is anything else to include.

This technique looks like this: “So our commercial washer will save you around $20,000 a year on staff costs, increase the speed of the washing process by around 50%, and ensure that dishes are always hot and ready for plating. Is there anything I’ve missed?”

If they don’t have anything to add, you can ask them questions that lead them to the final close. Questions like “Are you satisfied with what our product has to offer?” and “Do you think we offer the best solution for your problem?” look for a yes to then initiate the paperwork.

1-to-10 closing is a check-in style of closing, similar to soft closing, wherein you check up on your progress toward the sale by asking the prospect to rate how close they are to buying on a scale from 1 to 10.

It should sound something like this: “On a scale from 1 to 10, one being not interested at all and ten being ready to buy right now, how interested are you in what we're offering?”

If you get anything less than an 8, follow up with questions about their concerns, or possibly some information that you missed that they want to know. Questions like “What exactly is holding you back?” or “Is there anything else that you’d like to know about the product?” should help you get closer to a 10, which is when you can seal the deal.

Consider using the assumptive close for all prospects who seem as if they'll respond well to it, then trying some of these alternatives with the prospects who aren't a good fit for assumptive closing. This way, you can become an expert in the assumptive close plus at least one alternative, which can help you come off as more confident about yourself and your business.

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Additional Reading:

Learn more about our top strategies to close a deal in our article on sales closing techniques. There, we explain each technique (including the assumptive close and the three alternatives above), who should use it, and how to successfully execute it.

Bottom Line: Assumptive Close

Assumptive closing is a great way to nurture your prospects to a sale without opening the “no” door at all. You're able to create a strong current toward the sale, and do enough of the work for your prospect that it makes almost no sense to halt the progress you’ve made. So, try it with the right types of prospects, and your conversion will improve.

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