Selling Power Blog

News & Insights for B2B Sales Leaders

February 13, 2023

Five Surprising Keys to Closing Deals Based on New Data

By Marc Wayshark, Founder, Sales Insights Lab
A laptop sits open, presenting an image of data.

Everyone wants to close more deals in today’s marketplace…

Our most recent study on selling gives fresh insight into exactly how to close more sales, more often. These brand-new sales tips are based on unprecedented sales data.

In fact, we analyzed around 24,000 conversations. This showed us precisely how top-performing reps are behaving – and talking – to effectively close far more deals than everyone else.

In this video, you’ll learn five keys to closing deals that might surprise you – all based on our new selling research:

Click here to register for free training on the five-step formula to closing more sales without the price-pushback, “think-it-overs,” and ghosting.


1. Slow your pace.

This might sound surprisingly simple, but slowing down is key to closing deals. Our research shows that, when it comes to the pace of talking, top performers are slower than everyone else – and so are their prospects.

While average and bottom performers speak at a pace of 182 words per minute, top performers speak at a pace of 171 words per minute. This 6.5% difference is very obvious to the ear. What’s more, prospects speaking to top performers talk at a pace of 174 words per minute, while other prospects are speaking much faster, at 198 words per minute. This 14% difference speaks volumes about the importance of pace when it comes to closing deals.

A fast-talking prospect is one who wants to finish the conversation, get off the phone, and just get away. A prospect who is slowing down, matching the slow pace of the salesperson, and taking their time to reply is someone fully engaged in the conversation. Pace makes a real difference – and has a tangible impact on closing the deal.

2. Switch back and forth – a lot.

The importance of creating more back-and-forth in sales conversations is one of the most powerful ideas to come from our new research. The data shows that today’s top-performing salespeople switch back and forth in their conversations with prospects far more often than everyone else.

When it comes to discovery conversations, top performers are making 54% more conversation switches; during presentations, they’re making 78% more. The best salespeople are repeating this dynamic back-and-forth interaction continuously throughout their sales conversations.

Above all, this specific data is crucial to our new understanding of exactly how top performers behave differently during sales conversations.

By creating constant back-and-forth, top performers bring the prospect back into the conversation again and again – even using small prompts such as, “I totally get that,” or, “That sounds really important,” to create mini conversation switches while the prospect is talking. This shows that top performers are actively listening while their prospects speak.

Top performers view the entire sales conversation as a series of opportunities to create as much back-and-forth as possible. This is crucial to closing deals in today’s marketplace.

3. Features kill the sale.

When it comes to discussing the features of your product or service, our new data is unequivocal: It’s time to stop. The research shows that, during discovery, top-performing salespeople are talking about features about half as much as everyone else.

During presentations, top performers discuss features around 63% less than everyone else, too.

Taken together, these two statistics prove that the best salespeople out there today are not spending their time discussing product features – no matter how great they are. Instead, they focus on the prospect and specific outcomes they want to achieve.

Avoid talking about the features of your product or service in order to close more deals. It’s as simple as that.

4. Expect more of their time.

The data is clear that top performers spend more time talking to their prospects than average and bottom performers do. In particular, our research shows top performers hold discovery calls that are, on average, 76% longer than everyone else’s; their presentation calls are 55% longer, too.

Not only are top performers better at engaging prospects for longer periods of time once they get them into a conversation, but they also set aside more time to talk to prospects from the get-go.

In other words, top performers expect more of their prospects’ time up front.

While other salespeople might schedule a few minutes to try to “get their foot in the door” and hope the conversation goes longer, top performers start out with enough time in the calendar to have a full-length sales conversation. The simple act of expecting more time from your prospects is key to closing deals.

5. Questions go both ways.

It might not be surprising that top performers consistently ask more questions than everyone else. But our data also shows that top performers’ prospects ask far more questions, too. And that’s a very good thing.

Here are the numbers: During discovery conversations, top performers are asking 39% more questions than everyone else; during presentations, they’re asking 40% more. And their prospects? They’re asking 40% more questions of top performers during discovery than prospects ask of average and bottom performers – and 43% more questions during the presentation.

This research proves that questions go both ways. Top performers not only ask more questions, but they receive more questions as well. The key point here is that both top performers and their prospects are highly engaged, fully present, and actively listening to each other. Questions, from both sides, are a sign of a successful sales conversation. Infusing the sales conversation with ample question-asking is key to closing deals.

So there you have it. Now you know five surprising keys to closing deals based on new data. If you got some value out of this discussion, please join us for our brand-new training on the step-by-step approach to closing more deals. Simply click here to register for that free training, and you can immediately get access to that step-by-step approach to closing more deals.

Headshot of Marc Wayshark

Marc is our Sales-Guru-in-Chief, practicing a data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today. He is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.