“Always be closing” – using trial closing to create (and save) deals

In ever changing markets, recruiters are battling with a host of challenges. Be it scarcity of jobs and an abundance of direct applicants or not enough qualified candidates to fill niche roles. These challenges make each opportunity to close and place candidates a crucial part of the process.

Mastering the ‘trial close’ is a vital step to locking in consistent billing success – even in the most challenging market conditions. 


Among many sayings commonly heard around recruitment businesses the world over, there are some that never get old.

Up there with the truest and most enduring is that “time is money”.

For recruiters at every level, each month kicks off with a limited set of hours in which to create and close opportunity and revenue. 

But so much time in recruitment gets wasted working on low-committed jobs and with non-committed candidates. 

And, as much as we hate to admit it, the blame often lies with us – the recruiters.

Our desperation to get deals done can lead to cutting corners in our workflows – skipping over the very steps that give us the highest possible chance of being successful.

In current market conditions, letting deals slip through our fingers is simply not an option if we’re going to have any chance of filling the few jobs we have access to and hitting or exceeding billing goals.


The ‘trial close’

Closing in recruitment is often (wrongly) considered the last step in the process.

In many ways, it should be one of the first.

Successfully closing a candidate on a job isn’t something that can be done at the end of the recruitment cycle without preparation – it’s part of a strategy that runs throughout the process, kicking off at the very beginning. 

And while every process will eventually end in a ‘yes / no’ decision from client and candidate, our work as recruiters is not to parachute in at the last minute and work miracles to bring client and candidate together, it’s to control events from the start to create the maximum possible chance of a deal taking place. 

‘Trial closing’ is key to this – a technique that allows recruiters to measure where client and candidate commitment levels are at any point in the process.

It’s among the most powerful diagnostic tools a recruiter can ever use, and it arms recruiters and recruitment teams with all-important information with which to manage and direct processes at each stage. 

Where trial closing differs from traditional ‘closing’ is that it asks for opinions and confirms understanding levels, where closing asks for a commitment.

Trial closing isn’t about continually asking for a ‘yes’ from people – it’s about engaging with client and candidate throughout multiple touchpoints along the process, using these opportunities to reconfirm motivations, perceptions and expectations from both parties to ensure continual alignment. 

Instead of drifting further apart or being blown off course by external events, hiring manager and candidate come closer together throughout the process, with each stage underpinned by a clear initial framework and re-calibrated as the process unfolds. 


Low risk, high value

Implementing a trial close technique is a low risk, high value strategy.

It helps recruiters massively boost their close rates, and vastly increase their ROI from roles worked. 

Through integrating trial closing at every step of the recruitment process – with both client and candidate – recruiters can radically shift the likelihood of creating and closing deals in their favour, while building relationships and insight along the way which will position them perfectly for future revenue opportunities. 



About Nicole Plinston

Nicole Plinston is co-founder and director at This Is Prime, award-winning R2R, sales

recruitment and training specialists and was recently awarded the UK’s No.1 Sales Trainer

2019-20. Nicole has also previously worked as national sales talent & development training partner at Virgin Media.



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