The Trial Close – How to Assume the Sale

You’re in a sales conversation with your prospect, walking them through your product, answer questions, and handle objections. Sometimes, right off the bat, the prospect says things like “How can I buy?” Or signals the intent to buy through a buying question or signal.

If you’re not sure if the prospect is ready to buy, you can use the so-called “trial close” to test the waters.
You’re not asking for the sale. Instead, you see how far along you are in the process of getting to the sale.

The trial close indicates how the prospect feels about the sale in general. Are you on the right track, or are there more objections that didn’t surface yet?

For instance, you could ask questions like:

  • “When do you think you want to start using the product?”
  • “What is your timeframe to establish this new solution at your organization?”
  • “What do you think about this benefit/feature?”
  • “What is the next step on your side to move forward?”
  • “When is a good time to talk to your manager about the decision?”
  • “Would you like to use a Credit Card for payment?”

When should you use the trial close?

The trial close comes in handy in several different scenarios. For instance, a prospect got in touch with you through a contact form, and you’re on a discovery call right now.
Usually, during discovery calls, you’re not necessarily asking for the sale right away. Instead, you can use the trial close to see if the prospect is ready for the next step, such as a product demo or trial.
Also, if you’re interviewing for a new job, the trial close is an excellent technique to signal the interviewer you’re ready for the next step, as well as testing how they feel about moving forward (“When could I speak to the rest of the team?”).

What should you do if the trial close fails?

For instance, you ask, “Would you like to pay via bank transfer or credit card?” And the prospect objects with “Hmm, I’m not sure. To be honest, I don’t know how well your new software fits into our organization.”
Now, it is time to go one step back and handle the objection. Ask the prospect about concerns, why, in this case, they think the software doesn’t fit very well. What additional requirements should you discuss?
After you handle this objection, ask again if there further concerns or questions. You use the trial close explicitly to find out if anything stands between you and the sale.

Now, I am curious to hear from you how you leverage the trial close in conversations. Share your experiences and trial close questions in the comments.