Free trials are a great way to get someone invested into your product and prove its worth before they hand over the cash. It is a proven way to get people in the door with little risk to themselves and push those fence sitting prospects into action. There are a few ways to ensure that your sales reps keep conversion rates up (or, at least, they aren’t shooting themselves in the foot).
Make sure you have pinpointed the prospect’s pain.
Salespeople can get overzealous in offering free trials, especially if that is a major part of the selling cycle. If you are still on the symptoms of the problem and not the cause it can be a waste of time for everyone involved to offer a trial of the product or service without knowing for sure that it is a good fit for the client.
Make sure your sales team is well versed in what the product can and cannot solve. This can come down to strictly enforcing the ethics of your team to not push just the sale, but to only sell on what your product can offer.
Define success together.
Work with the prospect to clearly outline what a successful trial would look like. Does it solve the primary problem? If you outline the terms of success and failure early in the process, your team can train the prospects in how your product best helps them.
Create a series of benchmarks.
Every product or service has a learning curve. What does success look like during the first week? What does it look like in the second and third? Creating a path to the end goal makes it easier for the prospect to adopt your product.
Get to know their buying process and where your trial fits in.
Salespeople sometimes shy away from asking questions about how specifically the purchasing process works. Do they only agree to a trial when they have narrowed the solutions to the best option or top three? How many weeks beyond the completion of a successful trial does it take for approval to be granted? Let your salespeople know it is more than okay to ask these questions. It just clarifies the situation for everyone involved.
Most salespeople hear that you rarely close the sale in the first few contacts. Sometimes it takes more than 3 or 5 contacts depending on which anecdote you hear. Scheduling training and meetings in advance not only helps build that relationship, but it reminds the prospect they should be learning and testing the new system.
A prospect who knows they have a meeting coming up will make notes to ask more questions and work out more uses than someone who worries it may be an interruption to ask the tons of questions that comes with something new. Your team can check the benchmarks at each meeting, make more refinements to your specific sales process and be available to help sell anyone else in the company who maybe is not quite on board yet.
Much of this is common sense, but I am often surprised with how many salespeople skip over the extra effort on the well-qualified prospects in the pursuit of the law of large numbers. It’s easy to call it a win at the trial stage and let the average close percentage take its course, but with a little more care and attention, your team can raise that average percentage.