The most important event in sales is the closing of a deal. And some people believe that a sales person is either a closer or they are not. Or the harder they work, the more aggressive they are, and the more times they call they prospect translates into more closed deals. While some of that may be true and some may be false, what is true is that there are clear tactics that one can implement to improve sales effectiveness and improve the ability to close deals. One these tactics is to trial close throughout the sales cycle.
What is a trial closing?
Trial closing is simply checking in with the prospect to get their opinion. This differs from actual closing as the goal is only to get feedback and information and is not intended get their final decision. The goal of this tactic is to gather information to identify if the prospect is onboard and heading in the same direction as the sales person.. This can also be utilized to identify the path forward in terms of challenges and opportunities.
When to use this tactic?
To improve sales effectiveness, it can be helpful to use this tactic throughout the sales cycle. If this can be viewed as a “check in” or opinion gathering technique, than it is reasonable to use this tactic during and at the end of every meeting with a prospect.
Examples of a trial close
Below are some examples of trial closing questions:
What do you think of what we have discussed so far?
What are your feelings for what we have demonstrated?
How would that feature help your operation?
Is this something you could see your employees using?
Do you agree with the return on investment analysis?
Do you want to continue forward with these discussions?
What direction do you want to go from here?
Benefits of trial closing
The main benefit of the trial closing is that it gives the sales person valuable information on what is going on the prospect’s side. This tactic can help a sales person to understand what the prospect’s perception is and any challenges or opportunities that exist. By having this additional information, the sales person will be able to be execute better in two key areas:
Qualification: By having more information on the prospect’s perception of the solution, the sales person will be better able to qualify, or disqualify, sales opportunities. Being able to execute in this area alone can help a sales person to spend valuable time in the right areas.
Navigation: By asking trial close questions and having key information from the prospect, a sales person will be able to better navigate the sales process and sales cycle in terms of focusing on the key areas where attention needs to be placed. This can help to ensure that the messaging and execution is tight and aligned with what is needed to stay ahead of the competition.
Cost of not using trial close questions
The main risk from not trial closing during the sales cycle is that a sales person might not know exactly how the prospect feels and this could create the probably of wasting time on unqualified deals. In addition, the sales person might be focusing in areas or messaging that is not important to the prospect negatively impacting sales effectiveness.