One key tool in your sales toolbox is the trial close. A trial close helps test the water to get an idea on what the customer is thinking about the product or service. Trial closes are low risk because it is asking for an opinion or checking on how well you handled an objection and it is not asking for a decision from the client (Cardone, 2017). An example would be something like “On a scale from 1-10, how would you rate this new phone?” or “Now that you have seen how the product works in water, what do you think of its durability?” The best use of a trial close is after you have made a strong selling point or when you have answered objections. It can be simple like “It looks like you really like this. Is that true? Or “How would this look on your shelf back at home?”
“The Trial Close works by putting the idea of closure into a person’s mind. Their response will tell you whether they are ready to close or not” (Trial Close, 2020).
So, given the ease of using trial closes and following the 7 step process, why are salespeople reluctant to close? The number one reason is the fear of rejection. What if you ask for the sale and they say “no”? Research shows that this fear is attached to our culture where career success is directly linked to our self-worth and this impacts our willingness to close a sale (Pipedrive, 2020). One of the best ways to overcome this fear of rejection is to build confidence through sales training, having realistic goals, analyzing your calls afterwards to help improve, and practicing. Recognizing that it takes time to build relationships and that a No is not personal.
Some Suggestions to Help with Closing Challenges (Hoffman, 2022)
- Don’t just close once. If you wait until the very end to close, how do you know if you have answered the customers’ questions and objections? It’s important to consistently close through the sales presentation using trial closes and a variety of techniques.
- Not asking for what you want. This seems straightforward but as a salesperson might fear rejection, they soften their ask to minimize the change of hearing “no” or they don’t write out clear objectives for the sales call and leave without really getting what they want.
- Using statements instead of questions. This comes back to listening more than speaking and using good communication methods. Questions get at the root of the customer’s problems so that you can sell on the benefits. Try and remember that talking too much is one main cause for not getting a sale.
- Closing to someone who can’t deliver. This challenge results from not doing your research to properly qualify a lead or not understanding the decision criteria in a business to business sales call.
“12.3. Trial Closes and Closing challenges” from The Power of Selling by Dr. Michelle Clement is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.