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A "Trial-Close" is a form of questioning the salesperson uses in order to get the prospect to commit to the vehicle before the negotiation process begins. With a trial-close, you can:

1. Sell the prospect on a feature that was important to him/her.
2. Give the prospect a feeling of ownership.
3. Try to increase the number of "yes" responses from the prospect.

The more "yes" answers you can get from the prospect throughout the presentation, the easier it will be to close the prospect during the negotiation process. It stands to reason that if you want to get a "yes" from the customer during negotiations, shouldn't you start getting him used to saying "yes" throughout the presentation? It then becomes easier for the word to flow off his tongue.

During the qualifying part of the program, you asked the customer this question:

"What's important to you about the next vehicle you're going to buy?"

And the customer said, "It's important that I have a large trunk, power seats, and a lot of interior room." You take these statements and stick them in the back of your head, and you'll use them in the form of trial-closes.

No matter how much information you give the customer on your vehicle, you know that these three issues are the ones you definitely need to close the customer on.


A typical "telling" presentation will sound something like this:

"Mr. Customer, this trunk has 14.9 cubic feet of trunk space. It has a low entry system to make it easier to lift your groceries in the trunk. It has a deck lid that opens to 90 degrees so you won't hit your head on it. And it has the spare tire underneath the wheel-well to give you more interior room."

This is a good feature/benefit presentation, but the fact is, all this salesperson did was tell about the trunk. He/she didn't sell the customer anything. The way you make this "telling" presentation into a "selling" presentation is by finishing it off with a trial-close.

After you do this presentation, continue with this:


"Mr. Customer, remember when you said that one of the things you wanted in your next vehicle was large trunk? Can you see how the trunk in this vehicle will carry all your groceries, or all your luggage on your next trip?"

In the first sentence, the customer is reminded that he was the one who felt that a large trunk was important. This statement adds more credibility to the close. This statement should get your first "yes" answer in the close. Then you finish the trial-close off with the actual close.

This statement has the customer acknowledge that your vehicle will satisfy the important concern. But the close doesn't stop there. Once you get the customer to agree that your vehicle has what he wants, you now need to psychologically tie the customer into your vehicle. You can accomplish this with a psychological tie-down.


"Now Mr. Customer, let me ask you a question. In your opinion, do you feel that this is the type of trunk you're looking for in your next vehicle?"

If the customer says "yes" to this, you have not only sold the customer on a feature that was important to him, you also psychologically tied him into your vehicle. That's real selling! It's not just enough to tell the customer about the vehicle, you also need to sell the customer on the vehicle.

The difference between a "selling" presentation and a "telling" presentation is in the use of effective trial-closes. If the customer can answer a "no" to your trial-close, it is not an effective one.


• Ask the customer, "What's important to you?" during Qualifying.
• During the presentation, remind the customer what he said.
• Ask customer the closing question - can only be answered "yes."
• Psychological tie the customer into your vehicle.

Remember to keep your trial-closes short and sweet. And above all, practice them before you use them. You never want to stumble on a close. If should flow off of your tongue like butter.

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Article ©2003 Mike Whitty

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