I love to meet with Action Selling clients. It’s not just that I want to stay in touch. It’s because they have so much to teach me—for example, Commitment Objectives and my own system.
Take Todd Eber, for instance. Eber is president of W.A. Roosevelt Co., a Midwestern wholesaler of electrical and plumbing products based in La Crosse, Wis. W.A. Roosevelt has been in business since 1868. It adopted Action Selling in 2012.
When a recent talk with Eber turned to the subject of Commitment Objectives, he surprised me. The concept of the Commitment Objective, he said, “is something that’s been missing from this company for 144 years.”
Eber backed up to explain that he is using Action Selling as a lever to achieve fundamental change at Roosevelt. The role of salespeople has changed; they now are responsible for managing their territories as if they were distinct business units. Also, their compensation structure is different. Compensation now is based on generating profit on a territory-by-territory basis.
“That causes them to think more like business owners than like salespeople,” Eber said.
This is where his view of the Commitment Objective as a time-management principle comes in. Action Selling teaches that a salesperson must never call on a customer without a Commitment Objective in mind. A C.O. is an action that the salesperson wants from the customer as a result of the call—a commitment from the customer to take the next step down the sales path. As the driving force that keeps the sales process moving ever forward, the C.O. is the foundation of the Action Selling system.
As Eber sees it, salespeople who think like business owners know that they must bring value to every customer interaction, both for the customer and for themselves. “We have to respect our own time as well as the customer’s,” he said.
Thus, the Commitment Objective actually is a crucial time-management tool. “We usually think of time management as using a calendar, following a to-do list, making a territory-management plan, and setting priorities for calling on the best prospects,” Eber said. “A more important time-management concept is this: When you make a sales call, if you can’t articulate your Commitment Objective, what are you doing there?”
Salespeople who always move the sales process forward are thinking like business owners. That can be the key to transforming a company—even one that’s more than a century old. No wonder I love talking to Action Selling clients.
Action Selling in Action
Whenever salespeople call on customers or prospects, they must be able to articulate an answer to the basic question, “What am I doing here?” says Action Selling client Todd Eber, president of W.A. Roosevelt Co. of La Crosse, Wis. “If they can’t do this, then their sales calls are just an expensive, ‘Hi.’”
Ensuring that a sales call doesn’t waste the time of everyone involved requires a Commitment Objective, rather than just a traditional sales call objective, Eber says. “Commitment Objectives are clearly defined and leave no gray area. With Commitment Objectives, every one of our salespeople has a truly actionable plan to move the sales relationship forward with every single sales call.”
Oh, and there is a side benefit from setting Commitment Objectives, Eber says: “We are far more comfortable asking customers for commitment than we’ve ever been.”
Yes, Commitment Objectives really can transform your sales calls. To find out how, contact The Sales Board.