The Twelve Steps to Successful Telemarketing – Step Nine: The Trial Close

By Kathy Sisk

We’re nearing the end in learning the skills of successful telemarketing, but don’t rush things. The next step in is the trial close.

The trial close has two functions. The first allows you to summarize the product or service benefits for the prospect. The second asks for a commitment; this is called a trial-closing question. This question must be close-ended (able to be answered with a “yes” or a “no”) and assumptive in nature – that is, it assumes that the prospect will agree with you. Because you are seeking either a “yes” or a “no” response, a trial-closing question allows your prospect to inquire about any missing pieces.

If you follow the twelve steps precisely, you should not receive objections until the trial close, which is meant to encourage objections. If objections do arise, you want to address them during the trial close rather than in your close. An outstanding presentation in Steps One through Eight should elicit a positive response during trial close, preventing objections from surfacing. This will eliminate the need for Step Ten (Handling Objections) and should make Step Eleven (The Close) the simplest of your twelve steps.

Here is an example of a trial close:

“Our Objection Hotline membership will allow you unlimited training support over the telephone. Our trained consultants will coach and role-play with you while offering words of encouragement to keep you motivated. In this way (pause) you will have greater success in achieving the results you are anticipating. Your membership investment is only $1,299 per year, and each call you make to the hotline is completely toll-free and should increase your production by a minimum of 10 percent. Does that sound reasonable?”

The following trial close is aggressive and should not be used as a first option, except when you’re faced with a prospect that has a bottom-line or controlling personality. This type of trial closes is also very effective when used after certain objections where you need to trial-close again.

“We have a challenge for our prospective clients. Try our products once and allow us the opportunity to serve you at our best. If we are unable to impress you with your first order, we simply don’t deserve any of your continued business. Does that sound fair enough?”

Whether you are closing for an appointment or a sale and what your product or service is greatly affects the wording of your trial-closing question. The rule-of-thumb is to summarize your benefits and ask for an attempt to close. If your prospect is receptive and her or his needs have been satisfied, you should be ready to close. Otherwise, objections may surface, and you must be prepared to handle them.

In many scenarios, an objection during the trial close may be an indication that your presentation needs further improvement. You’ll want to review how you executed each of the previous steps and where you need to strengthen the process. However, some prospects will interject an objection only to test your persistence, in order to see how far you’re willing to go to get their business.

Should your prospect object during your trial close, go directly to Step Ten: Objections. However, let’s assume your prospect gives you a positive response in your trial close; your next step then is Step Eleven: The Close.

Kathy Sisk is CEO of Kathy Sisk Enterprises Inc.

[Read more of the series “The 12 Steps to Successful Telemarketing”: the prior article or next article.

[From Connection Magazine September 2012]

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