Traditional Closes & Trial Closing

Since selling has changed over the years from the simple, transactional sale to the more complex, high dollar relationship sale, salespeople need to be armed with as many weapons as possible.  The traditional closes described below are most appropriate in a lower value, transactional sale.  However, virtually all salespeople will find themselves in situations where these closes can be employed successfully, so they’re worth learning.

The most appropriate time to use these closes is when the prospect has sent some buying signals (“I like what I see”…”looks good”…“this would work for us”…etc.) and has enough information to make a buying decision.

The Presumptive Close:  This involves simply assuming that the prospect has already made the decision to do business with the seller.  Used correctly, it can be effective.  Used prematurely, it can be seen as manipulative.

Prospect:          “This makes sense for us.”
Salesperson:   “When would you like us to start?”
Prospect:          “Let’s get started on the first of the month.”
Salesperson:   “I’ll call the office to get it scheduled.”

The Alternative Choice Close: This involves giving the prospect two choices, both of which assume the sale has been made.  In retail, they simply say, “Will this be check or charge?”  Another example would be:

Prospect:           “Looks like this would be a good fit for us.”
Salesperson:    “Great.  Would you like the $100 or $250 deductible?”
Prospect:           “I think the $250 would be best.”
Salesperson:    “I’ll write it up now.”

The Trial Close:  This close is often used to deal with objections.  It gives the salesperson the chance to ask a “what if” question designed to bring the sale closer to completion.  The traditional trial close concludes with, “Would we have a deal?”  Not bad for a transactional sale, but it does put some pressure on the prospect.  You might consider saying, “What would happen then?” instead.  Open questions always get more information than closed questions and are less pressure oriented.

Prospect:           “We like your products, but your prices are about 3% higher than we’re paying our current supplier.”
Salesperson:    “I see.  Let’s assume we could match that 3%.  What would happen then?”
Prospect:           “We’d have a deal.”

Self-Study Assignment:  See if any of these closes would be appropriate in your selling environment.  Avoid using them when the sale is very complex, however.