Selling Techniques - The Trial Close

Selling technique - the trial close

How to insert a trial close into your sales pitch.


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Need sales help? Try a Trial Close – In fact try several.

© David Peterson - 2006

I’m actually writing this article to remind myself of the fundamentals of selling. Even after 20 years of selling I still need to remind myself to follow the basic outline of sales:

  • Open
  • Qualify
  • Probe
  • Present
  • Close
  • Follow-up

I need to remind myself of the fundamentals because after 20 years of selling I still go through sales cycles. There are two tricks I would like to share with you that help me even out these cycles.

#1 When sales are good “pedal as fast as possible.” When you are at the top of a sales cycle don’t stop. In fact when things are going great – go faster. Your attitude, your presentation, your ability to close are so much better when you feel good and it seems everything is going your way. You will need these prospects you gather when you are at the top of your game for when things are not going as well as they could be.

#2 When sales are flat quit complaining and find out what is wrong. There is a possibility that the product you are pushing is not right for you. If so move on - you will never have real success at selling a product that is not right for you. More than likely the product fits you like a glove but your not moving enough of them. If anyone around you (notice how I didn’t say everyone) is having success selling the product then the problem is you.

What is wrong with you? The answer is probably that you have forgotten the fundamentals like the ones listed in the outline above. The outline is one I have been following for years but you can find any number of them in contemporary books on the subject. Also the outline at the top is only meant to help you move the prospect in the right direction. Within every category of the outline there are subcategories. I want to focus of the Probing category and look specifically at a subcategory called the Trial Close.

Trial Closes are meant to steer your conversation in the right direction, and determine if you have a prospect or a suspect on the other end of the phone. They are also meant to find out if your prospect is listening. If you do them right the prospect will close himself at the end of your presentation.

 Most of the time your prospect is multitasking and not really listening to you. Get them into the conversation. The sales process is a two way street, you take control of the conversation and the prospect follows. You need to know if your prospect is really listening to you. The easiest way to find out if they are listening and more important if they have any real interest in your product is by using a Trial Close.

The following Trial-Closing statements should be used all over your probing questions:

  1. How does that sound to you?
  2. Will that work for your situation?
  3. If I could do that for you, would you purchase the product?
  4. If I can fix that problem for you would you be interested?
  5. Does this fit into your budget?
  6. How about I do this for you…

Now there are 100’s of Trial Closes you can use. The point of all of them is that they set up the prospect to give you a buying signal. If you get a strong buying signal you can present your solution and the close should naturally happen. If you get something other than a buying signal you should start thinking that you have a suspect and not a prospect.

If you don’t use Trial Closing statements you end up trying to close a suspect. Trying to close a suspect is a complete waste of time and lowers your closing average. When I’m at the bottom of my sales cycle this is typically what I catch myself doing – pitching suspects. It takes me a few pitches to get back on track and I do it by using trial closes. Why waste your time, throw out the trial closes often to find out your prospect’s interest level throughout the probing stage. The object of selling is to close – not pitch for the sake of pitching. Now why couldn’t I have thought about that on Monday instead of Friday evening!


David Peterson

David Peterson

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