There is very little in the world of recruiting that is more disheartening or frustrating than having an offer declined. After all the work that was done to source the candidate, sell them to the customer, arrange interviews, and negotiate an offer, the whole deal falls through and you're back to zero. It stings, most notably in the wallet area for my compatriots on the independent/agency side. As a result, developing a method to boost offer acceptance is key for any recruiter.
There are a variety of tactics currently employed to close a candidate. You can implement the 'yes' method of using many little yeses to increase the odds of one big yes at the end. You can use the ABC method of closing, and re-closing the candidate on the offer amount, opportunity, etc. at every step of the process. You can even go really old-school and use the Ben Franklin two column pro/con approach. All of the above have their merits, but each one has downsides as well.
The fact is, none of these methods are perfect, and I can only think of one surefire way to avoid getting turned down: never make the offer.
Clearly this is not a very good solution if you plan on getting people hired, making money off of placements, or keeping your corporate job. So offers must be extended at the risk of having them turned down. It seems as though we're no further along than we were before! However, there is a lot that can be done to better your odds, and it doesn't involve using any closing tricks, tactics, or techniques.
Simply put - be the candidate's career coach.
The ultimate goal for the candidate/recruiter relationship should be one of mutual trust and respect. Ideally, the recruiter should know enough about a candidate to give actual consultative advice to them regarding career decisions. This takes a lot of work, hours of phone time, and a concerted effort to know what makes your candidate tick. This is why recruiting is hard work - you need to crack the shell of each and every person you get deep into the process and actually understand them.
Everybody has several spheres of influence and our job as recruiters is to make sure we make it into one of them. Which one we enter is largely dependent upon the approach taken during the recruiting process. If we give sound, honest advice, take time to listen to the candidate's needs, wants, and desires, and treat them accordingly, their stock in us will increase rapidly. In all reality I truly feel that a candidate who has been recruited properly will need almost no closing at all. The relationship you have built will do it for you.
When I look at the approach I take to recruiting, I am very hands-on with my candidates and do my best to be their confidant, advisor, and go-to person in the job search process. In fact, if I get a candidate to the offer stage and have failed to memorize every active phone number they have chances are very good that I have not built a strong enough relationship. This isn't because I'm necessarily a numbers guy, I just haven't spent enough time on the phone with them! If this happens they take advice less seriously, don't instill as much trust in me, and I have less influence over the end result.
Essentially you don't want to be closing your candidate at the end of the process. If you've made it that far without gaining their trust it is unlikely they will suddenly turn to you for advice on a decision as important as a career move. This is why I truly believe the best closers don't close the candidate, they advise the candidate beginning with the first phone call.