If you have been in sales for any amount of time, you have heard the term “Trial Close”. But what does it mean? Simply, it’s a process gauging and feel out someone’s interest.Why is it useful?
1. It can save you time … you will quickly find out if you should continue to pursue this opportunity or not.
2. It will help you understand what gaps &/or hurdles still exist so you can plan or strategize accordingly.
3. As discussed in the “Understanding Human Nature” module, people don’t like to come out and say no. By asking gauging questions, you are forcing (subtly) some kind of response.
Like in dating, it’s far more comfortable to ask gauging questions or do something and see how they respond than to say “do you like me”? When it’s time to “ask for the sale”, you should already know what answer you are going to get. If you don’t, you have not been practicing trial closes.Trial Close Examples:
There are endless examples of questions or statements you can use. Here are a few:
- How do you see us working together best?
- What you are looking for will cost between x & y. How does that compare with your budget?
- How do we fit so far?
- Next time we meet, we will review the quote together, agree on any adjustments and then get going … you good with that?
- How are you feeling about our discussions to date?
- What are the next steps to us working together on this project?
- How can I win your business?
- What stands in the way of us doing business together?
- After we review the plan together next week, my intention is to ask you for your business (this is a statement … not a question)
NOTE: Adjust the style of your question (either more or less assertive/direct) based on your assessment of their style and the quality of your relationship with them at that point. Better relationship, more direct.Queues To Look For
You know things are going well when:
- The customer shares more and more personal information about themselves. This means they are willing to be vulnerable to you, so you can more easily take a risk too.
- Enjoys your conversations … they are not all business.
- Responds positively to your emails (e.g. responds with “looking for to it” after receiving your meeting confirmation).
- Are there, as planned, at the other end of the phone for your phone meetings.
- Agrees to your agenda
- Accepts your Outlook invite.
I tend to ask 1 gauging question or make one trial close statement at the end of each meeting. Sometimes, I even re-ask question (using different wording) at the beginning of the next scheduled follow up meeting.