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Why your dealership should put an end to trial closes

On this edition of Straight Talk, our host, David Lewis, shares with us his lastest car buying experience. About 30 days ago, Lewis decided it was time to buy a new car. Like most shoppers, he began his search online and narrowed down the make and model that he wanted. However, when he ventured to the dealership to make a purchase, his experience was lack-luster, to say the least.

The salesperson that Lewis worked with immediately asked him a number of questions before they even began to look at cars. Including:

  • What is your budget?
  • Do you have a trade?
  • What is your timeline for buying a car?

This line of questioning instantly put Lewis on the defensive. He decided to fudge the truth slightly and underplay his hand. Unfortunately, after David’s underwhelming answers, it was clear that the salesperson had the wind taken out of his sails. For the next 45 minutes, the salesperson showed Lewis a line of base model cars. Every time Lewis would venture towards upgraded vehicles, the salesperson would steer him back, not believing that Lewis could afford anything else.

After a demo drive, the salesperson asked the infamous trial-close question- So Mr. Lewis, if we can come together on terms and numbers, would you be willing to buy this car today?

Lewis did end up buying a car, from a dealership about 40 miles away. Lewis decided not to buy the car from that salesperson for two reasons. First, he made Lewis commit to a budget and other numbers right off the bat and Lewis didn’t want to go back on those numbers. Second, the line of questioning the salesperson posed to Lewis about why he would not buy a car from him.

Trial closes are the killer of deals. They back the customer into a corner and give them no room to be flexible. Lewis felt defensive, the salesperson deflated, and the manager frustrated. This is not a good environment for car buyers to have.

David Lewis is one of the most respected automotive sales trainers in the country. For nearly 35 years, David Lewis and Associates has been working with all members of the dealership including general managers, F&I managers, salespeople, and many more to improve the quality and effectiveness of their team’s automotive selling performance. If you would like a free copy of any of David’s books, including Understanding Your Customer and The Secrets of Inspirational Selling, feel free to email him at

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David Lewis
David Lewis
David’s firm is a national training and consulting business that specializes in the retail automotive industry. He also is the author of four industry-related books, “The Secrets of Inspirational Selling,” “The Leadership Factor,” “Understanding Your Customer” and “The Common Mistakes Automotive Salespeople Make.” Visit his website at

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