Don’t Act Like a Seller, Think Like a Buyer
Chapter 7: Requesting a Commitment
The final step in the DELTA process is asking for a commitment.
This step is often referred to as “closing the transaction”.
In a sales contact,
what is more important than closing the deal?
Is there a topic in reselling that gets covered more than this one?
closing skills are skills
that all managers feel their employees must practice more
in order to work more effectively.
Different closing methods have different names:
(i.e. act as if the customer has already decided);
(i.e. asking the customer to choose only from the options you offer);
positive evidence method;
(ie giving positive and negative opinions about a product);
(i.e. extracting the main point of customer dissatisfaction
and turning it into a reason to continue the discussion);
(i.e. asking customers about the details
of a product they’re interested in
if they’re really going to buy the product);
(i.e. telling customers that if they don’t buy now,
they may not be able to buy it later);
method of intimidation
(ie giving customers reasons
for them to make a decision right away,
those reasons may be that the goods are scarce,
the price will go up…);
methods of inducing sympathy,
order inquiry method;
method of closing by order;
(ie stating the benefits that customers will receive when buying the product);
special treatment method;
method of convincing that the purchase is risk-free;
the “pretend to give up” method;
method of asking for help…
“It’s no longer about interrupting,
It is about listening,
and prescribing.” –Mark Roberge
We will not discuss the above closing methods because:
(1) you can look them up in any good book on personal selling methods;
(2) the closing of the transaction is simply to get a commitment to do something,
other than what the potential customer has committed
or has/are doing.
The main difficulty is here.
Day after day, many good sales contacts take place.
Salespeople still have the right conversations,
and opportunities to tell their stories;
They also do it all in a believable,
Then, at the end of the meeting,
the story sometimes seemed disjointed
because it wasn’t tightly connected
to a logical ending.
The story is fragmented because,
as many psychological experiments have demonstrated,
by the time the transaction closes,
the attitudes of both the seller
and the buyer are not the same
as they were during the sales contact.
There’s something emotional about the prospect
that makes them feel differently about
what the salesperson is about
to ask them to do.
It can be anxiety,
caused by buyers regret
or worry that they made a purchase on impulse.
Am I too hasty to decide that?
Have I understood this salesman well?
Enough to believe him yet?
Is this decision correct?
their anxiety is again:
the closing moment is the moment of truth
—the decisive moment:
“If I don’t get the order now,
I never will now get it,”
or: “I don’t want to be rejected.”
The fear of rejection is perhaps the biggest concern of all salespeople.
We have seen a very interesting phenomenon.
When there was no sales manager in the room,
we asked a group of salespeople to raise their hands
to vote if they agreed with the following statement:
“I am more inclined to ask a closing question
in the presence of my boss than
when I am alone.”
They all raised their hands.
Always the same.
Why is that?
Salespeople know very well that their boss wants them
to ask a closing question.
They understand that they need to do it
in order to be judged as doing a good job.
But at the same time,
they are often uncomfortable asking closing questions.
Because, if they feel comfortable,
they don’t have to have a boss to monitor them.
So why aren’t salespeople comfortable asking the usual closing questions?
They are uncomfortable
because most of the closing questions they learn year after year
do not match their personality.
If you’re not the aggressive or pushy type,
you won’t feel comfortable asking aggressive or pressing questions.
Those questions, such as:
“Do you want us to ship on Thursday or Friday?”
or “If I could show you how to reduce production costs
by 20% without sacrificing quality,
would you buy my product?” (random method).
Most of us,
don’t like aggression.
Most of us are not pushy either.
Yet the closing questions we learn not only make us uncomfortable,
they also make our potential customers uncomfortable.
It can be easily seen through their words
as well as through their gestures.
Many salespeople don’t want to ask such questions
unless they’re under some kind of pressure.
Why deliberately make people uncomfortable?
Especially if you want
– or need
– their cooperation?
If this is the problem of closing the transaction,
what is the solution?
The solution is to focus on getting the commitment
rather than closing the deal.
A commitment is the appropriate end
to a casual conversation.
It is not necessary to obtain an order,
although it may be necessary.
That commitment may simply be
to arrange another meeting,
perhaps an opportunity
to meet the client’s own boss;
Or maybe it’s just to get people to agree
to keep your devices
at that company for a month and try them out.
With that definition in mind,
consider these six principles of asking for a pledge:
1. People are more likely to change attitudes
when you ask for a commitment than when you don’t.
2. Questions to ask for commitment need to make
both you and the client/potential customer feel comfortable.
3. To make big commitments,
you need to plan
before you go to the client.
4. The sensory test method of closing deals makes it easier
to ask questions that lead to commitment.
5. Commitments are a natural,
logical ending to a conversation.
6. Asking to be serious when someone makes a commitment
is perfectly acceptable,
and if you do this well,
your sales will increase.
Let’s look at each of the above principles in detail
“I have never worked a day in my life without selling.
If I believe in something,
I sell it,
and I sell it hard.” –Estée Lauder
COMMITMENTS TO CHANGE ATTITUDE
Getting a commitment
– whatever it is
– requires an extraordinary capacity.
People’s manners often match the commitments they make verbally;
most people will try to do what they say they will
(people who don’t try to do
what they say won’t be trustworthy customers or good friends).
People are more likely to change their behavior
if you ask them to commit than if you don’t.
However, salespeople often ask customers
to commit to something huge,
and almost always,
such commitment requests will cause resistance
and only lead to changes very small change in behavior.
On the contrary,
if you ask for a small commitment,
potential customers are more likely to follow through
because they feel the commitment is justified.
Therefore, you should ask customers
to try your product for a week or a month.
Or in a training program,
you should just ask customers to try the pilot program
and see how it fits their needs.
Similar things tend to lead
to larger attitude changes:
if the product delivers exactly
what the salesperson says,
customers are more likely
to continue to be interested in the product.
Once, a company asked me
to come up with a business message
to introduce a new product line to market.
The first rollout was in October,
and the second into another market two months later.
That company hired me
to speak at the first product launch meeting.
they had seen how I worked.
I told them
that if I were to speak in the first meeting,
I should do the same in the next meeting.
The person who contacted me said he wanted to see
if I did well in the first meeting,
before committing to the second meeting.
You see, I asked for a commit,
which I thought was reasonable,
but I didn’t get it.
My assignment was to give a one-hour presentation
in front of 300 audiences.
At the end of the presentation,
I received endless applause.
As I walked to the back of the room,
the person who hired me to give the presentation,
and the same person I had offered
to do the second meeting, hugged me.
“I guess now is the right time
to ask you to sign your next contract,”
and he said,
“Let’s just pretend it’s signed.”
Commitments change behavior:
In particular, they change the behavior of
both customers and salespeople.
Customers tend to do what they say they will do;
And once you do exactly what you say you’re going to do,
they’ll be even more inclined
to do what you want them to do.
Be aware of the double commit issue here.
You are committed to doing the best job,
and providing the best service.
The customer promises to pay you.
When you receive the business contract,
to be able to open this business
and require additional commitments,
you must make one yourself.
The commitment I have to make is to get the job done
to the best of my ability.
This changed the client’s attitude,
and he voluntarily made a commitment in return
for my commitment to doing excellent work.
It is very important that you use “radar”
to detect the right to ask for a commitment.
You’ll have to judge
that based on the quality of the interaction
you’ve had with the other person.
You need to get a feel for whether the hypothesis
or rationale you are working on is really working
and having an impact on the customer.
This requires you to be a good listener.
“I think listening is really the ‘Achilles heel’ of salespeople
– especially young ones,”
says Shari Kulkis of Roche.
“They are deeply immersed in the business approach
and using ACR
Clarify and Respond
– they follow a certain default way of thinking,
but they don’t listenable.
They always think about what
they want to get from the customer,
as well as the message they want to convey.
They only care about their own interests.
When you really listen to
what the customer has to say,
you can learn what their needs are,
where their problems lie,
what they are concerned about,
and what they are upset about what.
If you don’t listen,
you’ll miss out,
and the way you respond won’t satisfy all
of your customers’ needs.
After all, they won’t buy from you.”
Professor Dan Weilbaker of Northern Illinois University agrees
with Shari’s comments.
Over the years,
he’s been looking for ways
to teach listening more effectively.
“I gave a lot of instructions
with both lectures and exercises
to help students realize that they had to listen
to understand what I was saying.
I don’t ask them,
‘Do you understand?’
They have two options.
One is to ask me about it,
the other is to just do what they think they need to do.
If students do what they think they need to do and get it wrong,
their grades will suffer.
Most of the time students complain
and I take this opportunity
to emphasize that they are not listening.
You need to listen,
and if you don’t understand, ask again.”
The business training program
at Northern Illinois University also included role-playing
for teachers to record.
As the students reviewed themselves on the videotape,
the students began to notice things that
they had overlooked
during the back-and-forth interaction.
They can review what
they have done without any pressure.
“That usually helps a lot of students come to their senses,”
said Professor Dan.
‘Oh my god,
this is what the client is saying
and I completely ignore it.’
They can see the importance of listening
and how effective it can be.
During the role play,
I said, ‘I really want this product,’
but they cut me off to tell me something else.
Then they watch the video again and say,
‘You told me you liked this product,
and you didn’t even mention it!’
I think it helps,
but I still do.
I haven’t found an effective method
to help students learn to listen better.”
Really good questions are the result of listening.
People with good listening skills are often the ones
to ask good questions,
because they really listen.
They not only hear the words,
but also understand the meaning,
nuances and hidden meanings of the other person
– or if they do not understand,
they will immediately ask questions to understand.
The combination of good listening
with good questioning helps
to properly understand
what the other person is saying.
Professor Dan said that listening attentively for students
and sales staff is very difficult.
“If I were a sales manager,” he said,
“I would work with my employees
and illustrate what they missed by not listening.
Then after a customer contact,
I would ask them,
‘Did you hear the customer say this?
What does that mean?
How do you understand that?
What’s going on here?’
Understand that you can only get clues
from what the customer says.”
One of those clues sometimes shows that you are…
choosing the wrong object.
Back to offering to commit.
Never underestimate the importance of a commitment.
You need to ask questions
to get the customer to commit,
whether your boss is present or not,
as such questions will have a profound effect
on the customer’s attitude.
Again, you must consider what should be done
to make the customer feel comfortable.
Look for questions that you find easy to ask,
and that the customer is comfortable answering,
“Do you think what we discussed today makes sense?
Would you mind giving us a visit?
And then listen to the answer
before continuing to speak.
No matter how hard it is,
it’s still something you have to do.
“Losers don’t have goals.
Winners have systems.” – Scott Adams
QUESTIONS REQUIRED COMMITMENT MUST BE EASY
One of the keys to quality closing is making sure
you feel comfortable asking closing questions.
Questions that require commitment need to be comfortable
for both you and the client.
If you feel uncomfortable,
your attitude will make the customer feel uncomfortable too.
Commitment should be based on whether the customer finds
it reasonable and enforceable,
not just your own perception.
Closing a trade starts with how you think.
The anxiety I shared in this chapter is caused
by salespeople traditionally viewing the “close the deal” step
as a one-times-and-done event.
They think their boss expects them
to strike a deal right then and there,
or else the office will go to hell.
Closing a transaction is an integral part of a process.
This section may or may not push the deal
to its climax at that particular time,
or on that particular day.
If your thinking is correct
and you have carefully considered your plan,
you will see that the goal today is
to take just one step further in the buying
and selling process,
or to get your signature of customers in the contract.
In a meaningful conversation,
there should be no anxiety,
only comfortable questions,
and only then can you move forward.
So you have to get off to a good start
before you get to the end of the trade.
The environment you create at the beginning of the contact
will be closely related
to how you and the customer feel at the end of the transaction.
It’s important that you clearly understand what
you want to have in this conversation.
This clarity is needed during planning.
Define your specific goals for the meeting
– what do you want to happen?
It could be the successful closing of a sale,
but it could also be just
to learn more about the prospect’s needs,
the company’s buying process,
or the customer’s position in the organization in that position.
Your core goal might be to arrange another meeting.
The point is (you’ve heard of this) you have
to plan the conversation well.
This plan can be changed during the meeting,
because the nature of conversations is volatile.
Sometimes when you get there,
you realize that some issues have changed,
so you need to be flexible
when setting requirements for customers.
selling is all about finding someone who is open,
willing to talk, and trusts
that they will have a mutual interest in what you offer them.
Try to understand the client’s situation,
try to make the customer understand
and win their agreement
before you present your hypothesis.
Potential customers will respond immediately
if what you say makes sense.
If, at the end of the presentation,
your hypothesis seems to be moving in the right direction,
you can ask, “How do you feel about that?”
Without the commitment of customers
to get them to visit the sales
and showcases quarterly,
the business of the direct sales representative
of the fashion company Doncaster would soon come to an end.
Lesley Boyer was once a successful representative of Doncaster.
Lesley says her role is to help customers
with their purchases
and to encourage them to commit to returning.
Lesley cites her new client,
Sharon, as a prime example.
Like 70% of Lesley’s business, Sharon was a referral.
Over the phone,
Sharon learned about prices in Doncaster.
Sharon told Lesley she was taking a year off from work,
“I want to start over.
I want you to help me renew myself completely.”
Lesley told me,
“The first feeling I had was dollar signs in my eyes,
like Scrooge McDuck ducks,
and that was a real danger.
I don’t want that feeling.
I think by the time a girl is ten,
a girl already knows what she wants,
and Sharon is no longer a ten-year-old girl.
It’s not easy to “lead” her.
So I told Sharon we had to think.”
Sharon asked Lesley what color she went with.
Sharon is a woman with plaster-white skin
and dark brown eyes.
Lesley said, “Red.
And now I have a red coat here.
I thought you said you liked a long coat.”
Lesley handed the shirt to Sharon and said, “Try it on.”
Sharon put it on and said, “Awful!”
“Tell me what you see,” Lesley said.
“Tell me about the bright colors you have in your wardrobe.”
Sharon paused, and said,
“I don’t have any bright colors.”
“Then you see,” Lesley told Sharon,
“you don’t have any red
my wardrobe, so even if I think red suits you well,
it doesn’t matter.
She’s the one who’s going to wear it,
and if she doesn’t have any red in her closet right now,
there’s no reason why she should try wearing red.
I don’t want to take on the responsibility of telling her what to wear,
because these clothes will end up in her closet,
and then she’ll get mad at me.
I want you to come back
and I want you to refer your friends to shop at my place.
So let’s talk about what you already have,
and we should just add what you’re used to.
Today we should add more wardrobe than revamp it.
We have four product launches a year,
so next time you can buy a few more there.”
Lesley accomplished many goals at once.
She assured Sharon that she had enough money
to furnish a brand new wardrobe,
but she didn’t have to.
Lesley helped Sharon with the purchase on the first date,
but more importantly she got a commitment from Sharon,
she would return to buy at the product launch afterwards.
Indeed, Sharon went to Lesley’s referrals two or three times a year,
for many years,
even after she became pregnant and gave birth
to two more children.
“Do what others don’t and you’ll get what others won’t.” – Aysa Hazan
IMPORTANT COMMITMENTS START WITH PLAN BEFORE THE CONTACT
The most effective questions to lead
to commitment are those that are planned in advance,
which progress naturally in your story,
and eventually lead to closing a deal.
Planning before contact with customers is not a rigid process,
but on the contrary,
must be very flexible.
Part of Tim Wackel’s pre-client planning is
to prepare everything well.
If sales were to be stopped,
or stalled in the middle of a promising sale,
he would have a plan
to “push” the customer lightly.
“Sometimes everything seems to be going great,
but then the leads just disappear,” says Tim.
“They don’t answer my calls and emails anymore.
I understand that my client is busy,
and that I am not at the top of their to-do list.
It’s the money,
the financial freedom,
the vacation planning…
But if the previous meetings worked,
and I gave they have enough time,
have actively contacted,
but they still do not contact me,
then I will contact them one last time.”
This communication will usually be done via email
or sometimes voicemail.
He would first apologize for wasting the prospect’s time, and say,
“From past conversations,
I get the impression
that you are quite interested in our product.
It seems to me that we have found a possible solution together.
I thought we were getting closer to doing something.
However, since he hasn’t responded,
I think either the problem has been resolved,
he has found someone else
to do this for us,
or this is no longer a priority for him.
I want to prove my perseverance,
but at the same time don’t want to be a nuisance to you,
that’s why I will wait for your response.
We will not attempt to contact you further,
unless you still need us and contact us again.”
Apologetic tone of voice
(We’re sorry to have taken your time.)
(We think things are going in the right direction…
this is what we assume.
his non-response indicates that something has changed.)
Tim says he usually gets an email reply
within a few hours that says,
“No, please write me a letter little.
I’m so busy these days.
Our side just reorganized.
I have some family matters to deal with.”
potential customers cite some compelling reason
for not being able to respond sooner.
“Usually a customer or prospect will come back and say,
‘I’m so sorry.
Yes, I have received your email,
but please forgive me,
I have not been able to reply
because I have been busy,
but please don’t withdraw from this work.’
Once I say I don’t want to do it bother them,
they’ll probably say they’re
still interested in the case.”
Tim says that,
in his experience,
most salespeople will continue
to leave messages and keep emailing customers.
“I teach salespeople that you can make a career
by finding ‘Yes’
or ‘No’ answers.
Both are good answers,
but of course ‘Yes’ is better.
And ‘Maybe’ is the answer that completely fails you.
Make sure your potential customers say ‘Yes’,
or allow them to say ‘No’.
As for the exchanges
and conversations that are not answered,
Aiming for clear,
precise results is just a waste of time.”
And don’t forget that the customer’s commitment can be “No”,
and that’s not a bad thing.
“In business as in life,
you don’t get what you deserve,
you get what you negotiate.” –Dr. Chet Karrass
THE FEEL TEST ENDING METHOD WILL MAKE THE PROBLEM OF COMMITMENT EASY
One of the easiest ways to get comfortable
with closing questions is
to use the “try it out” approach.
This is a method for creating closing questions using words like
combined with sensory words like look,
When you ask questions like this,
customers will usually feel comfortable answering,
and you should also “relax” when asking them those questions.
Before asking a customer commitment question,
it is a good idea to ask a “probing” consent question.
Here are some examples:
° How do you see that?
° If you think it makes sense, in the next few weeks,
when there is an opportunity to use similar products like this,
can you try ours?
° Does this argument make sense to you?
° A little glance at the product seems to make sense,
° In your opinion,
does what we have discussed sound appropriate to what you are doing?
° I feel like we’ve done everything we’ve agreed to,
so what do you want us to continue?
° How do you feel about what we discussed today?
It is a process of discovery.
What you are trying to do is discover the nature of the situation.
Does the customer understand your hypothesis?
Is your hypothesis convincing and is it time to “take action”?
You can identify situations, problems,
and challenges that potential customers say they want to solve,
but don’t actually want to solve.
Assuming they want to deal with it,
it’s not right now,
or they place it less of a priority than anything else.
Part of what salespeople need to learn in this process is
to determine if this problem
(or opportunity) is so important
to the customer that they need to act now.
And if not now,
By asking the customer,
“How do you see this?”
you will have a chance to see how they rate your hypothesis.
So, what kind of response can you expect from the client?
We hear only two types of answers to the above question:
“Yes, that sounds good,”
or, “Yes, that sounds good… but…”
We very rarely, really, hear them. say no”.
The answer like “Yes…but,”
is actually “No.”
“Yes…but” is often an opportunity for the client
to explain the shortcomings they see in your argument,
or to explain the problems they see
as still an obstacle before completing the transaction.
If you ask, “How do you feel about this?”,
and they say,
they are signaling that it is now up to you
to find out if they are ready to buy.
Some questions you can ask are,
“If it sounds good,
how would you feel if we suggested you give it a try?
Shall we deliver these 20 products to you next Thursday?”
In other words, if they already agree with your hypothesis,
they are implicitly allowing you to go one step further.
If they say, “Sounds great…but,” then
that “but” becomes the most important issue of the sales contact:
But… we already have too much stock.
But… I’m still worried about your prices.
But… we’ve never dealt with you guys before.
But… you’re not in the same system as us.
But… we only accept one source.
But… I’m not the only decision maker…
The business world is full of “buts”.
They’re the key factors that get you closer to a sale,
because they tend to reveal the real reasons why someone isn’t ready
to complete a transaction or make a purchase.
When you come across the word
“but” (an expression of disapproval) in a business conversation, do three things:
Make sure you recognize your customer’s concern or problem
and show empathy for them.
The worst thing is that you continue to push,
ignore or ignore the customer’s concerns.
“Commit to the income, not the problem.” – Grant Cardone
Either reconfirm what you’ve heard to get to the core of the customer’s concerns;
or if it’s not clear, ask questions to get a better understanding.
Salespeople – who are too sensitive to customer concerns
– to customer objections, sometimes respond
with a completely different grievance.
Don’t assume you know all the things the customer
is aiming for if you don’t already have more information.
“Forward thinkers don’t copy.
They don’t compete
they create.” – Grant Cardone
Correct the problem or resolve what you misunderstood.
Henry Potts of consulting firm Melillo suggests to good salespeople that,
if objection, such as,
“We don’t have the money right now,”
they should continue to probe.
I will pay the price if I do nothing!
Focus on whether your product
or service improves the overall cost structure of your customer.
“Any CEO who runs a company,
no matter what type of company,” says Henry,
“is very concerned with cutting costs,
increasing business efficiency,
increasing sales, or all three.
Ideally, all three of these should be done.
Every salesperson who has a message to convey at that level needs
to be able to communicate.
It’s not a matter of whether or not there is enough funding for this?
It’s about making an investment
so that it can be profitable
and in the end the total cost is minimal.”
“I found that if I just do the best that I can,
in every moment I have,
the future looks after itself.” –John Kavanagh
COMMITMENT IS A PERFECT END OF A DIALOG
Any conversation will eventually come to an end.
Sometimes the ending will be nothing special, such as:
“Talk to you later,”
“See you later,”
or “I’ll call you next Monday,”
but with With these sentences,
we would normally end the conversation with a commitment.
It’s a natural thing to do,
although we don’t always want a formal commitment, like,
“I’ll call you at 2:30 on Monday.
Is that convenient for you?”
This is one of the problems that salespeople often face:
they think every customer transaction must end
with some kind of formal commitment.
Every conversation requires an appropriate closing,
and that closing can lead to,
or is, a commitment,
but it doesn’t have to be.
Customer interaction is a dynamic process.
I recently had a conversation
with a potential client I was working to close.
I asked a friend to tell the customer
to call me at the golf course.
For me, it’s a business interaction.
But it was also a short conversation. I said,
“How are you?
How are things?
I haven’t heard from you in a long time.”
He said, “You know what,
we were told today there are some changes,
and I need to talk to you
because we’re going to need your services.”
I said he should call me back,
and ended the conversation
without asking for a commitment.
A week later,
I sent him an email,
which included my schedule
and suggested a date if he could arrange a time;
Or, I ask, is it still too early to talk now?
I still haven’t asked the client to commit.
Five minutes later,
I received an email from the above customer,
saying that he had informed the sales team in his company
that the company would use our service,
and that he would reply to me about the date I proposed.
I will have to ask for a commitment at some point,
but not every sale requires a commitment to be properly closed.
Closing the deal appropriately means:
having clarity on what you’re trying to accomplish,
and making sure you end the conversation the right way.
Closing the right way can mean
that you have to create certain actions
to speed up the sales process.
To get a deal or a clever question
to get the customer to commit,
you have to find a particular action
or new behavior that makes the customer more inclined to agree.
This will happen because that action
or behavior will help you make the most of what the two of you have discussed,
and it doesn’t seem unreasonable
or too greedy to the client.
Don’t ask the customer to commit
or agree to everything,
just ask the customer
to agree on a part that you deserve,
based on the conversation.
“Conquer yourself and the world lies at your feet.” –St. Augustine
REQUIRED SERIOUSLY IN COMMITMENT
It’s perfectly acceptable to ask seriously
when someone makes a commitment,
and if you do this well,
your sales will increase.
Here’s an example of what not to do:
I haven’t contacted in two years sends me an email,
then calls me and says,
“We need to talk..
We need you… send me the proposal.”
I spent an hour on the phone with him,
and another two
or three hours drafting the proposal,
but I never asked him about the seriousness of the commitment.
I consider his commitment serious, based on the tone
and content of the conversation,
as well as the email he sent me.
It was a huge mistake because since then,
I haven’t heard from him again.
I left him four texts,
three or four emails and more,
but got no response.
Since he seemed serious,
I was subjectively not checking
to see if his commitment was really serious.
I should have
I should say something like,
“After talking to you,
I feel like it’s important to you
to draft the proposal quickly,
and that if I draft it,
– and budget isn’t too big of a deal for us
– then you’ll stick to it.
Am I right to say that?”
Maybe then he’ll say,
“Yes, you’re right,”
or “No, we’re just getting started,”
or “The budget is a big deal.”
Or something else that means “No.”
But unfortunately many people don’t have the courage
to say it outright that they are just in the early stages
of the buying process;
or tell you they’re just scouting places;
or, to be nice, they say,
“Yeah, just send me a proposal.”
There are salespeople who still say to me,
“I visited this customer.
The contact was very successful.
They seem interested in our product.
They told me to send them a proposal,
but then I got no response.”
I told the staff that they hadn’t checked the seriousness
of the client’s commitment.
If a guest promises to do business with you,
you have every right to ask:
“Is your commitment serious?
Is it enough for me to draft a proposal [or schedule,
or order spare parts,
or do whatever your organization will have to do in the next step]?
I am willing to do these things to complete the work you request,
but I do so only
because I believe there is a high probability
that you will do business with us.
If I misunderstood,
please just tell me straight.”
When you take closing deals to the next step,
checking the seriousness of your commitment,
you will increase your odds of reaching a deal dramatically,
because you’ve eliminated people
who aren’t really serious about the deal purchase.
You will find that,
what they say is not necessarily what they think.
You will probably meet people who say to you,
“I am not the final decision maker,
but I think this is exactly what we have to do,
so give me a proposal
and I will act card to help you.”
That shows that you are choosing the wrong object to exchange.
So instead of wasting time drafting a proposal,
you need to find the right person first.
So the next step you have to take in the process is not to draft a proposal
and hope for a sale,
but to find someone who
is both serious about the commitment
and can stand up to it, that end.
You have to be mindful of your assumptions,
test them against your own potential customers.
Valerie Sokolosky’s omission in negotiating (as she has realized)
is that budgets aren’t a hindrance,
but she hasn’t tested that assumption with the client (see Chapter 4) .
There’s nothing wrong with saying,
“I’m guessing you’ve budgeted for this deal, haven’t you?
Can you talk to me about it for a bit?”
Then stop and listen.
When you check the seriousness of someone’s commitment,
if it’s not serious,
you’ll see they’re backing away.
And when you find out they are backing down,
you should know that you haven’t got the deal.
Salespeople very often fail
to check the seriousness of a prospect’s commitment.
This is one of the most overlooked things in the sales process.
And at the same time,
asking traditional closing questions
that you don’t feel comfortable
with is the worst way to ask for commitment from a client.
If you really want to increase your chances of success,
check the seriousness of your customer’s commitment.
And you have every right to do so.
Sometimes people say to me,
“Send me a proposal.”
Usually I would reply,
“I won’t do proposals.
If I remember correctly,
I told you how much they cost.
I told him what we were going to do.
I have already shown our progress.
Why do I need to make a proposal?
If you tell me that if I send a proposal you will sign it,
I will be happy to write it.”
Ninety percent of this is successful;
remaining ten percent,
you submit a proposal but still no transaction.
But if the client
and I had had a meaningful conversation before,
I understood how the situation was,
I explained how our projects usually cost,
and they took it seriously commitment,
I’ll feel free to say that I won’t draft a proposal at all.
Most people with serious commitments will stay true
to their commitments.
There is incredible strength in those commitments.
However, there is a difference
between a soft commitment
and a firm commitment.
A flexible commitment yields modest results.
Solid commitments produce tangible,
I always mon
wants to turn soft commitments into strong commitments.
Most salespeople are happy
to receive a flexible commitment,
as this is like a “eureka!” (found it!) I’m done!
However, you are not done
until the customer places an order.
If you want to increase your chances of success in getting this deal,
turn the soft commitments you have into solid ones
by testing the seriousness of your clients.
Pushing for a firm commitment requires four things:
1. Establish a positive mindset
and clearly understand what
you need to accomplish
to push the client or prospect forward.
“Have a higher purpose than money.” – Grant Cardone
2. Plan and think through the appropriate closing questions
or think through the questions carefully
before proceeding to the closing process
(or any other process) in a manner,
that you feel most comfortable raising.
Make sure you feel okay
with the questions you’re about to ask.
3. State your assumptions
and ask questions so that your client
or prospect won’t be upset and will see this
as a logical follow-up to the discussion.
“Be nice to people.
It doesn’t cost anything.” – Grant Cardone
4. Listen to customer feedback.
This response may not be an order,
and that’s okay,
but it’s not necessarily a rejection either;
it is an ongoing part of a dialogue process.
Remember, closing the deal is not the end of the business;
it must be seen as a continuation of the business or discussion.
Closing a transaction is a process.
And even the best sales process can be further improved
by building positive business relationships.