Salespeople are expected to perform many duties, from market analysis to customer training. But in the end there is only one reason why a salesperson’s job exists. Your principal mission is to Gain Commitment from customers. To do that, you have to know what you want the customer to commit to do and you have to ask for that commitment – every time.
More than six out of 10 salespeople aren’t doing their job. They fail to ask for commitment consistently in sales calls.
How do you Gain Commitment from customers? First, set a Commitment Objective for every call. You may have any number of legitimate goals for a client call, such as exploring the customer’s needs or finding out who the real decision-makers are in a prospect’s company. But your Commitment Objective must be something you want the customer to agree to do.
The Commitment Objective is not always to “get an order.” Sometimes you may want a commitment to attend a demonstration, to schedule another meeting with all decision-makers present, to grant you primary-supplier status, etc. But the commitment must be for something that will move the sales process forward and bring you closer to the ultimate goal. You must not only plan to gain such a commitment, you must ask for it – in every call you make.
Salespeople have been taught to act like consultants, but they are consultants who get paid for making sales – and their clients know it. Customers actually lose confidence in salespeople who do not ask for commitment – because if the process isn’t moving forward, you are wasting their time.
Never forget that your principal mission is to Gain Commitment. Begin every call with a plan to ask for it. Have a solid procedure that helps you gain it. Become an expert at Gaining Commitment and you’ll supercharge your sales career.
Action Selling In Action
The commitment you gain from a customer doesn’t always have to be an order, but it must be concrete and specific. It cannot be just a vague promise to read your brochures or an invitation to “call back in a week or so.”
At Melody Inc., Miami, a Muzak Franchise, a new member of the sales team recently accompanied a veteran sales rep on a call. As they were wrapping up, the prospect displayed strong positive signals – not to buy at that point, but to have another meeting. The veteran was happy to leave the details up in the air and started to end the call.
But the new salesperson had just been through the Action Selling training program and knew that unless they secured a specific commitment, the deal was likely to slip away. He spoke up. As a result, they got the prospect to commit to a specific date, time and agenda for the next meeting. Thus, the process gathered momentum and continued to move forward toward a sale.
ABOUT DUANE SPARKS
Duane Sparks is founder and chairman of The Sales Board, the authoritative source of practical and leading-edge information about the art and science of selling. He has created Action Selling sales training products and learning systems that transform sales organizations. Duane is author of these best-selling books: Action Selling, Selling Your Price, Questions (the Answer to Sales), Masters of Loyalty (How to turn your sales force into a loyalty force), and Sales Strategy from the Inside Out (How complex selling really works).
Discover how the best sales training process can make spectacular improvements in sales skills. Action Selling: How to Sell Like a Professional (Even If You Think You are One).