The English Seaside and Closing

Test and trial closing go back to my first days in sales in the early 1980’s and didn’t have a good name then. But the concept is sound; after all, asking for the business suddenly without warning can be dangerous to your health. And your customer’s too.

There’s not a better day out than spending it at the seaside. The sand, the sunshine and the sea. The 3 S’s. But here in the UK, even on a warm summer’s day, the sea can be alarmingly cold.  The secret is to gradually immerse yourself in the waves, an inch at a time until your entire body is submerged and you can dive into the depths.

Some people prefer to just run into the waves and dive straight it. After an initial shock and awe, they emerge victorious but it does look terrifying from my position, I’d prefer to steadily immerse myself. I also think most customers would prefer that we slowly close them rather than all at once.

Test closes are a neat way to slowly immerse yourself in the cold sea. “How does that sound?” “Would that be useful?” “What do you think so far?”

Watch for their reaction, any reservations at this early stage can swiftly be ironed out. Likewise if the sea is really cold, you can easily withdraw to the sanctuary of the towel.

Trial closes are just a little bit more to the point and make a suggestion to the customer of moving forward. “If we were in a position to move forward, would that be a good next step?” “If I can get the paperwork moving on this, would you be in a position to move forward?”

Finally ask for their commitment but do it in a question format:

“We’re in agreement aren’t we, so what’s your next step?” “Any more questions or are you ready to go ahead?” “How can we make this happen?” “We could get the ball rolling in August…what would you like me to do?”

So test, trial and ask – and if you have to swim in the UK make sure you enter the freezing arctic waters slowly, otherwise you’ll be in for more shocks than you think.