How do you know when to ask for the sale? If you use trial close questions, you’ll know when they’re about to say, “yes!”

A trial close isn’t a hard close. Instead of aggressively asking the customer to buy, you dip your pinky toe in the water to feel the temperature. Is he cold, warm, or hot? Depending on his response, you’ll know where you stand in the sales process. Closing a sale is all about timing. If you don’t know when to ask for it, you’ll have a harder time. Instead, use trial close questions to test the waters until he’s ready to buy.

Gaining confidence in sales: learn to ask the right question at the right time

There are salespeople out there who can pull off the “hard” close. They know how to cut deals. They know how to persuade and charm people. They ask for the sale without much conversation. Just ready, set, close.

Not everyone is like that. In fact, many salespeople don’t have the ability to perform hard-nosed sales. That doesn’t mean they can’t sell. If you’re like them, you need to start using trial close questions (and similar types of sales questions) in your favor.

You can picture a trial question as both a thermometer and guiding light. It’s a simple, open-ended question that gauges the current attitude and emotional state of your prospect in regards to making a purchase.

Very important: trial close questions are not the same as “asking for the sale.” They’re the questions that lead up to it. You use these questions as a way to guide yourself through the sales pitch and “take the temperature” of the prospect.

A few examples of trial closing questions you might use:

  • How do you feel about our services so far?
  • Do you feel like our solution would work for you?
  • Now that we’ve gone through the features, how does it sound to you?
  • What are the next steps you’d like to take?

Notice: you’re not asking for the sale, but simply dipping your toe into the possibility of it coming next. You’re finding out how cold or hot they are, and then making adjustments in your pitch.

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The anatomy of trial close questions: How do you construct the perfect pitch?

A typical trial question is pretty simple. They’re flexible and can be used in a variety of sales situations.  When you get good at posing questions like these, start to manipulate the formula and add more flavor to it.

The basic template:

  • They’re open-ended and aim to get the customer talking (can’t be answered with yes or no).
  • They seek to create and sustain conversation.
  • They engage the prospect’s emotions, not rational side (How do you feel about this, Mike?).
  • They’re flexible enough to be used in different situations.

The examples used above adhere to the basic template. They’re straight-forward, open-ended, and flexible. Once you get your feet wet and build some confidence, you can start using these types of additions in certain situations:

  • Stating the prospect’s name to gain his full attention
  • Giving a solution to a previous issue he brought up in the conversation
  • Asking for the sale within the question

A few examples of a pro-level trial close questions:

“Thanks for sharing your struggles/story about _____. I can see how that could cause a lot of stress, given the situation. May I ask your opinion on something? Do you feel our services suit your needs?”

“That’s an excellent point you made. It sounds like you need extra time to consider our policy agreements. If I could walk you through and explain the terms in an easy and timely manner, how would you feel about making a decision with us today?”

“Thanks for taking the time to express your concerns about ____. You’ve made it clear that we can help you achieve your desired outcomes. Based on our conversation so far, how do you feel about giving us a chance to do business?”

You’ll gain confidence through experience, but remember: you’re only asking a question!

If you’re relatively new to sales, you’re probably familiar with the feeling of awkwardness. It’s okay! Every great salesperson goes through that process. The issue is that we put too much pressure on ourselves to “sell” as if we have to persuade every person that comes our way. Hard-nosed selling is not the best option out there. If you ask questions and understand how the customer is feeling, you can walk into the sale rather than sprint. Give it a try.

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lead-managerLet us help you simplify your sales process. Schedule a free demo of our lead management software and turn leads into customers with less work!

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Do you have any trial questions to share with our readers? Show off your best sales advice in the comments!