Monday, October 24, 2011

The Sixth Key of Highly Effective Selling

6. Check Their Temperature

A trial close is a very valuable sales technique that enables you to do a temperature check as to your level of rapport with the customer and the customer’s overall receptiveness. A trial close ensures you are getting “buy-in” along the way and that you are on the right track in your customer’s mind. It also enables you to formulate your questions and your approach based on periodic, real-time feedback throughout your conversation. There are two main types of trial closes: open-ended and close-ended.  
“Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers that boast about your level of service, and then tell friends about it.”  - W. Edwards Deming
Here is an example of an open-ended trial close:
  • Rep: “Because you mentioned having so many boxes, I am going to recommend shelving units; they will give you three times the storage capability and allow for ease of movement and access. How does that sound?”
  • Customer: “Sounds good.”
  • Rep: “You are getting up early every day for your conference, so I am going to add a complimentary in-room continental breakfast. How will that work for you?”
  • Customer: “That would be great.”
A closed-ended trial close is most powerful and definitive when used after stating a feature and a benefit. It is designed to get a real “yes” or a “no”. Now don’t be afraid of NO. By getting an objection now, we can go back, ask clarifying questions, recalculate, resell and ask the trial close again before we give a price and ask for the business in a hard close. 

Here is an example of a closed-ended trial close:
  • Rep: “Based on what you are telling me, I am going to recommend that Lion Grip tread. As I mentioned, it is the most aggressive tread we offer. It would be perfect for winter driving in Michigan. As a benefit, for only an addition $100, we will take your old tires and donate or recycle them and give you one extra new tire, so in the event of an emergency you have a comparable and reliable spare. Does that sound like it will work for you?”
  • Customer: “Yes.”
  • Rep: “We have an executive suite with the complimentary in-room continental breakfast and I can add an entertainment package upgrade so you have everything you need to be comfortable and unwind from your busy work schedule. Would that fit you need?”
  • Customer: “No. I don’t want to pay for the entertainment package.”
  • Rep: “So the room will work for you without the entertainment packet, right?”
  • Customer: “Yes.” 
The habit we are seeking to develop is to consistently and confidently perform a trial close each time we have given a feature and benefit. If we are off track with the customers, a trial close helps us know what the customer is thinking and how we should modify our communication in order to hit their hot button.

It is very helpful to use the trial close throughout a sales call. Doing so enables us to create buy-in and move the process along so that when we get to closing most of the heavy lifting or hard work has already been done.

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