Posted by Bethany Handy ● May 10, 2014

The “Trial Close” Business Strategy and How to Use it Effectively


Closing is possibly the most invigorating part of making a sale, but how do you know if the client you’re pitching to is ready to be hooked? The “trial close” business strategy, when used effectively, can be an excellent way to get a feel for what your client really wants. You’ll know the best way to close with a positive result. By asking a series of open questions, you’ll be able to sit back with your best listening face on and let your clients tell you how they want to be reeled in. This method helps clients feel like the close is their idea. They won’t feel pressured or pushed into a sale that they may have been unsure about.

Listen and Learn

The trial close is all about listening. Use “if…then” statements and open ended questions to learn about which way your client is leaning. Do they really want this? Some sample questions and statements that you can use are:

  • If (insert proposed price structure) doesn’t work for you, then tell me about what we can do to make it work.
  • So are you hoping to launch your website three weeks from today?
  • When can we send someone to do an estimate?
  • If this strategy is agreeable, we can start your program next week.
  • How do you like what we’ve told you about today?
  • Is there anything else that you need to know about this product?
  • If you like what you’ve heard, then we can move forward immediately.

The sky is the limit! You can get creative with the trial close. Cater your questions to your client’s needs and the information he or she has already given you. Simply make sure that your statements and questions are open ended so that your client can take the reins after you’ve spoken.

When and Why

Use the trial close business strategy to learn why your client might be questioning his or her decision to take the sale. There a lot of reasons why a client may waver, but that doesn’t mean that that person has completely lost interest. The trial close can help you to discern which of these reasons is causing hesitation.

  • Financial –Many new businesses and small businesses have a very limited source of capital. They have to be careful with how they spend their money and that can make them wary of any decision to complete a sale.
  • Partners – Your client may not be wavering at all. The decision may be a simple matter of discussing the sale with his or her business partners to ensure that everyone agrees.
  • Investors or board approval –A large company often make large purchases. Before it does so, leadership may have to confer with a board to ensure that the decision is right for the company’s investors.
  • Insecurity about usefulness – The client may not be clear about how the sale can benefit his or her business.

Their answers to your questions will give you insight as to when the opportune moment is to shake their hand and ask the ultimate closing question: “Do we have a deal?”

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