A core element of a number of well-respected training programs is something called the trial close. In effect, a trial close tests the prospect’s commitment to the sale prior to absolutely asking for the order.
Let’s say we are selling an investment product. After walking through the discussion, we might stop and ask something like . . .
“How do you feel about this product as part of your portfolio?”
The prospect’s answer can then guide your next move, ranging from more discussion and supporting information to an immediate close if he is ready to go.
There is some powerful psychology behind the trial close. Many people need to work up to a final close and by giving them opportunities along the way to get comfortable, the closing process can feel much more natural and organic than just jumping to a conclusion. Basically, the prospect sells himself which is always the best of all worlds for us, salespeople.
That said, the trial close does ask for a soft commitment which ups the ante from casual conversation to a more definitive discussion, which is a vital part of the selling process. Many are the salespeople who thought the vibes were great, only to be surprised at the final moment by prospects who were not even close to making a decision. The trial close gives us, as salespeople, time to pivot if we need to before the sales call reaches a conclusion.