Should You Offer Free Trials?

In some industries, it is common for prospects to request free, on site trials of the product before they make their purchasing decision. Whenever possible, regardless if it is commonplace in your industry, do not agree to these trials. The dealership would certainly not allow you to drive a car for a month before buying it, nor would a real estate agent allow you to live in the house before you bought it.

Sometimes, prospects use these free trials as a way of getting free use of a machine for an extended period of time, without ever having the intention of actually purchasing. If there are six possible suppliers and each offers one month free trial, the prospect just got a free machine for half a year! Even if this is not the case, the prospect should be able to make a decision without an extended on site trial.

A better strategy for these situations is a limited time conditional order. Conditional orders are a very effective way to ensure that you are working with a serious buyer. “Yes, Mr. Prospect, you can try this equipment before you purchase. I will post date my sales contract for one week. After that time, if the product has done what we promise it to do, we will exercise it. If not, we will tear it up. Does that sound fair?”

If the customer says no to this, chances are he was not ready to buy at the end of the free trial demonstration anyway. However, if the sales process has been followed, including a thorough fact find with a properly fit solution, chances are that the customer will say yes. Then your trial is not merely an on site demonstration for a prospect, it is actually operator training for a customer!

Aim Higher!

For detailed information on how to handle any objection, including the dreaded “I can’t afford it”, check out my book, Action Plan For Sales Success.  It includes sales techniques and tools that will improve your sales results immediately, including a proposal template that actually makes the customer want to buy!  As one reader wrote, “I am working through your “Action Plan For Sales Success” … and I’d like to say THANKS for a great hands on approach, with working documents that make it easy to turn learning into ACTION.”

For a free copy of our white paper How To Create Your Unique Value Proposition, visit our Download Centre at

Looking for ideas how you can build trust with your prospects?  Check out our free webinar recording in the B2B Sales Connections Free Download Centre!

Susan A. Enns, B2B Sales Coach and Author
B2B Sales Connections

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