A simple word that plays a complex and critical role in the sales process.
We need a “yes” after each presentation of a benefit (or feature) before moving on to the next qualifying question. Small yeses bring us closer to the big “yes” when the deep close comes up.
But how does one achieve “small yeses?”
In sales, the “Trial Close” is how we win small and win early.
If we can win small, we’ll win early. If we can win early, we’ll win often.
This is known as the “Upward Spiral.”
What is a “Trial Close?”
It’s more simple (yet more complex) than one might think.
A trial close is merely asking our prospect’s opinion of what we’ve just shown them. For example, we’ve just shown the fact/feature of our product, and then more importantly stated the benefit of the fact/feature we’ve just demonstrated. After we’ve shown and explained the benefit of what we have to offer, the sales professional asks the customer for their opinion. Some examples of the trial close;
“Would it be important to you that this does XXXX for you?”
“Is this an improvement over what you’re using now?”
“Do you think this XXXX (benefit) will save you time?”
“How do you feel about the payment terms?
“Does this fit into your budget?”
What aspect of this product do you like the best so far?”
“How do you feel about what we have discussed so far?”
“What do you think about the features I’ve shared with you?”
“How does what we’ve talked about sound to you?”
“Based on what you’ve heard so far, do you have any questions?”
“Based on what we’ve talked about, I’ve put together this quote for you. Are there any changes you’d like to make?”
“Does everything we’ve talked about today make sense to you?”
“Are we on the right track here?”
“Does this seem to be the kind of solution you are looking for?”
“Do you see what I mean?”
The unprofessional salesperson asks “What do you think?” Avoid being “that guy.”
A powerful Trial Close, “Is there anything that’s really important to you that I haven’t shown you or answered yet?” encourages the customer or client to share any specific thoughts, questions, or concerns they might have related to what you’ve shown them.
Trial Closes are merely taking the “temperature” of our customer. We want to know how they feel about what we’re showing, and backstop ourselves from going too far down the wrong road, or from travelling too far if they’re not in the right space to make their purchasing decision at this time.
There’s a time and a place for your closing action question. The purpose of the trial close is to see if you’re on track, and to have a chance to adjust BEFORE you ask your closing questions. It’s important to ask these trial closing questions; they set you up for the actual closing question.
The point of the trial close is to set up the customer to give you a buying signal.
If/when you receive a strong buying signal, the close should naturally happen. If you get something other than a buying signal you should start thinking that you have a shopper and not a customer.
Trial closes also help to clarify the conversation. With roughly a third of what you say to a customer being misheard or misinterpreted, trial closes allow us to correct perceptions or missed points. Once you’re comfortable with this technique, you’ll be surprised at how much information customers actually misunderstand or miss altogether.
Trial closes are NOT closing questions any more than Qualifying Questions are closing questions.
Closing questions involve pressure, and force the customer into making decisions.
Trial closes are merely asking for and confirming a shared understanding of the product and its features/benefits.
If you’re uncomfortable asking closing questions (the mark of a weak salesperson), try asking more trial closes. Test the waters. It won’t take long before the actual close comes naturally and easily (and you’ll quickly increase your closing ratio).
Simply asking questions, followed by actually listening to the response, is one of the most important traits and tools of a successful sales professional. More importantly, knowing which close to use after listening, and having that “inner-sense” of how to best manage the closing question is the mark of a true professional.