Trial closing in sales is a strategy that sellers can use to gauge the level of buyer interest at various stages of the process. It’s an effective way to understand just how ready a prospect is to make a purchase. This clues sellers into how they should proceed, or if they should even continue pursuing a deal with a buyer. Other benefits, according to Indeed.com, include:
- You get to hear how the customer feels. Trial closes offer prospects the chance to share their feelings, strengthening the buyer-seller connection. Knowing how a customer is feeling also gives the opportunity to offer empathy.
- It’s easier to establish a timeline. Because sellers can use this strategy to measure a buyer’s readiness to purchase, it’s easier to create a timeline. Then, guide the buyer accordingly.
Overall, this type of close is a great way to educate yourself about the buyer. It also helps you strategize how their journey should continue. You'll also build trust and credibility by expanding your knowledge of the buyer. As Indeed notes, “… trial closes are a helpful, low-risk tool that sales professionals can employ to strengthen their sales process and increase their chances of closing deals.”
Trial closing in sales in a few steps
The professionals at indeed.com shared ways that sellers can effectively incorporate this strategy. While situations may vary, these basics will likely be essential each time you do a trial close.
The first step is to observe the prospect’s behavior. While sellers should already be doing this, it shifts a bit when doing a trial close. When looking at their behavior, do it from a position of curiosity, i.e., how can their behavior clue you in to what questions you need to ask. This will help you proceed more intuitively and determine the questions that will give you the best insights to make the close.
Not sure where to start? Indeed points out that questions should always be open-ended (check out SalesFuel’s tips for asking this type of question). This invites deeper thought and discussion. Indeed shares a few suggestions to get you started:
- How do you feel about what we have discussed so far?
- What do you think about the solution I’ve shared with you?
- How does what we’ve talked about sound to you?
- Based on what you’ve heard so far, what are your questions?
Remember, tapping into the prospect’s feelings and opinions is a key element of trial closing in sales. So, make sure your questions align with that goal.
Evaluate and adjust
Once you’ve tapped into how the buyer is currently feeling at that particular stage, it’s time for some strategizing. Remember, their responses may not be positive and may include objections. This gives you an excellent opportunity to directly address their concerns. Sellers can also shift their strategy in response to what they hear to ensure the buyer continues to be interested and moves toward a sale.
Likely, when you practice trial closing in sales, you’ll get a variation of one of three responses, according to WebStrategies writer Neal Lappe. Here’s his advice for how to respond accordingly:
- “Cold as Ice.” The prospect responds to your questions with disinterest or a flat-out rejection. In this case, acknowledge the prospect’s concern, and then immediately follow up with another open-ended question to gauge interest in another aspect of your offering. This will let you know if there are features or benefits that do interest them, which can guide your next move.
- “Feeling it.” The prospect responds favorably, if hesitantly, to your questions. “If you get this type of response to your trial closing question, you know you are on the right track, making progress and it is time to strengthen your story before asking for the sale,” Lappe writes. Consider ways to strengthen the value that they already are seeing. A demo, trial, client testimonials, and storytelling are great next steps to consider.
- “Ready to roll.” In this situation, all signs from the prospect suggest they are ready to buy. Take the next steps to make the ask.
Trial closing in sales can be an effective way to take a prospect’s “temperature." It clues you in to where they are at in the process and how to proceed to move them forward.
SalesFuel’s own Tim Londergan, an experienced sales professional, supports this strategy, noting, “The beauty of this technique is that it feels more natural and informal when applied to the overall sales conversation.”
This soft close technique will likely be a welcome change from tough closes of the past. Additionally, it helps deepen your connection with the buyer and nurtures them toward a deal.
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