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Sales Consulting and Training:

One of the Softest Closes You Can Use

Using a Trial Close

You’ve been working with your customer over the past few weeks.  After two on-site meetings and several follow-up phone calls, you provided them with a recommendation that you felt was a good fit and delivered a solid proposal.  Things have been going smoothly… is it time to close?

One of the easiest closes to use is also the safest and “gentlest” closes. It is called the Trial Close. Rather than pressuring the customer into making a decision, it allows you to test the waters by asking the customer if she is ready to sign the deal. In essence, the customer will be asked to make a decision but you will also have the opportunity to massage your proposal if the customer is not quite there. It leaves them a temporary out while you determine what is left to seal the deal.

Three of the most logical times to utilize a trial close include:

  1. When a customer shows a sign of approval of your recommendation
  2. After you have stated a major benefit that can be dovetailed into a close
  3. After effectively handling an objection that the customer has stated is an obstacle to closing the deal

So… the trial close is delivered in the form of a question.  When you encounter one of the aforementioned scenarios, it is time to use a trial close. 

Customer: “This really does look like what we’re looking for.”

Sales Rep: “Shall we go ahead and draw up an agreement in order to schedule an on-site visit?”

As you can see, it’s very simple.  It asks for the sale without knocking the customer over.  Many customers won’t even know what hit them.

Here are some other questions you can use:

“Does this make sense?”

“When would you like to have the licenses sent to the IT department?”

“Would you like to have our contracts department draw up the paperwork?”

“Given that we can decrease your expenses by 20%, does it make sense to move forward?”

“When should we send out the installers?”

“What would you like to do next?”

“Is it worthwhile to start the process of having the first shipment sent out?”

“Are on the same page with this proposal?”

“Can you see the benefit of rolling out this system internally?”

“Is now a good time to have the paperwork sent over?”

“Do you feel the proposal, as it is laid out, will make sense for your organization?”

“Where do we stand?”

“Would you like me to provide you with a final enterprise license agreement?”

Think about some of your target accounts and how you might be able to use a trial close effectively. Some sales professionals like to come up with one or two “favorite” questions that they can use with their clients. Make the transition smooth and effortless to transition from the sales process into the close.

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