How To Dramatically Improve Sales Closing Ratios

A closing question asks for a final decision. A trial-closing question is one that asks prospects for an opinion. Trial-closings should be non-threatening questions that ask how your prospective customer feels about what you have presented. Typical trial-closing questions can build in their directness as these examples illustrate:

? "How does this approach sound?"

? "Which of the two demonstrated packages do you like best?"

? "Do you see how this approach can save you money?"

? "What are your feelings about our guarantee program?"

? "Do you need additional information before making a decision these products and/or services?"

Ron Willingham, one of today's top sales trainers has stated, "From the time you begin your demonstration to the point you feel a close is appropriate, your objective is to get opinions, reactions, feelings or feedback." Without asking trial-closing questions you'll never have enough information to effectively close a sale.

When a sales or service industry professional closes after a presentation, tying off a sale is made much easier when trial-closing questions are executed throughout the presentation phase of your discussion. For example:

"Paul, how do you feel about our program as it has been explained to you?"

- or -

"Paul, can you see how the cost savings in our plan will more than offset the cost of installation?"

When you close on an appointment, tying off an appointment (sale) is made much easier when you use trial closings throughout the conversation. For example:

"Bob, with your busy schedule, would an afternoon or early morning meeting time be best for you?"

- or -

"What this means to you, John, is that you can receive a free analysis on your present services with no obligation to purchase our services. Can you see how a 15, no more than 20 minute meeting might clarify some of your issues with your present vendor and give you the information you need to make a sound decision?"

As you receive a favorable response from your trial closings, it really makes it difficult for your prospects to give you an arbitrary "no," when you later ask them to purchase your product or package of products that you have demonstrated. As you practice using trial-closing questions, you'll watch your closing ratios and profitability dramatically improve.

VIRDEN THORNTON is the founder and President of The $elling Edge®, Inc. a firm specializing in sales, customer relations, and management training and development. Clients have included Sears Optical, Eastman Kodak, IBM, Deloitte & Touché, Bank One, Jefferson Pilot, and Wal-Mart to name a few. Virden is the author of Prospecting: The Key To Sales Success and the best selling Building & Closing the Sale, Fifty-Minute series books and Close That Sale, a video/audio tape series published by Crisp Publicantions a dividion of Thompson Learning. He has also authored a client acclaimed Self-Directed Learning series of sales, coaching & team development, telemarketing, and personal productivity training guides. To obtain a substantial discount on two of Virden's new manuals, 101 Sales Myths and Organizing For Sales Success, check the listings on The $elling Edge, Inc. website at:

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