"Could this work for you?"
As a child, I loved listening to my grandmother talk about life in the late 1800's, and as I approached my teen years, was fascinated by her stories of how young people "courted" in those days. As was typical of proper ladies in the Deep South at the time, dating took place on the front porch swing in the company of her rather large family. My grandparents kissed for the very first time when they were pronounced man and wife!
So, what does my grandmother's love life have to do with sales? Nothing! It's my grandfather you should focus on. When he proposed to my grandmother, he had no way of knowing whether she was ready to make that commitment. There had been no prior affirmations of love; no hint that her interest in him went beyond friendship.
Now, imagine how much more relaxed and enjoyable the day would have been if my grandfather had been able to trial close a few times before popping the question. If only he could have arrived for a visit, dressed to impress, and asked, "After seeing this handsome devil, can you picture yourself in these arms?" Her smile -- or the lump on his head -- could have eliminated any apprehension he had about the timing of his close.
TAKE THE FEAR OUT OF CLOSING
Why are so many sales associates reluctant to ask for a purchase commitment?
- Afraid of rejection
- Unwilling to pressure the client
- Fear of failure
- Worried about overcoming objections
These are issues that have plagued nearly everyone in the sales profession at one time or another. For some, the anxiety associated with closing is almost paralyzing.
Trial closing can help relieve this physical and emotional pressure by allowing you to make several "mini-closes" throughout your presentation; stepping stones, if you will, toward the Grand Finale'!
The Purpose of the Trial Close
The trial close is a question asked during a presentation for the purpose of gaining feedback or confirmation from the customer about information you feel is important. You aren't asking him to sign on the dotted line; you are simply asking him to agree that something "meets his needs," or "is valuable."
Using trial closes in a relaxed manner as you tour a home, home site or community will engage the customer in conversation and gain a lot of small agreements in the process.
Suggestions for When to Use a Trial Close
1. After any part of your presentation ask, "Does that make sense," or "How does that sound?"
Listen carefully to what they say and how they say it.
2. Any time you point out a benefit or specific value ask, "How would you use that?," or "Would that be beneficial to you?"
3. Throughout your presentation ask, "Do you have any questions so far?"
Be sure to ask this question often!
4. After you overcome an objection ask, "Would this solution work for you?"
Practice, Practice, Practice
I can't over emphasize the importance of practicing the use of trial closing. Why? Because trial closing should become as natural as breathing.
The trial close is the only way you, as a sales associate, can possibly know - at all times - where your customer is in the sales process. Only by asking open-ended questions at fairly frequent intervals will it be possible to determine when or if your customer's interest level fluctuates between cold, hot, and indifferent. The last thing you want is to ask for the sale only to have the customer walk away because you missed something important.
When viewing video mystery shops, I see so many sales associates ask few questions, begin their presentations prematurely, and jump to the close much too soon. An estimated 30% of them fail to utilize trial closes.
"Could this work for you?"
Whether it's called "courting" or trial closing, building rapport . . . truly understanding another person's wants and needs . . . is the least stressful, most successful means of securing that all-important commitment. Make trial closing a habit and watch what happens!
Until next time . . .