The Black Belt in Loyalty – Mike gets a glimpse – but a glimpse of what?

“So would you like to go ahead and make us your primary supplier?” Tony asked.

“Yes, I would,” Janice answered. “Let’s get started.”

“Thanks, Janice,” Tony said. “I appreciate your business. I promise we’re going to make you very happy with this decision. Now, when shall we schedule a quick training session for your staff on how the ordering system will work? Would Friday be convenient?”

“Let me check the calendar. Yes, let’s say Friday at 9 a.m.” Janice turned to Mike. “You’d better hang onto this guy,” she said, nodding toward Tony.

No kidding, Mike thought. He managed to smile back at her as he struggled to sort out his thoughts.

Mike was in awe, that much he knew. But he wasn’t sure why. On the surface, everything he had seen and heard during the morning’s sales call was perfectly familiar. Tony had followed the steps of the Action Selling system, just as it was taught.

In previous meetings with Janice he obviously had identified and gained agreement on her key needs. His concise presentation of the primary-supplier arrangement had been targeted straight at those needs, hitting all of the client’s hot buttons, with no extraneous talk about features or benefits that didn’t concern her. He had asked for her commitment and received it. Mike even recognized the followup business about the training appointment as a textbook example of what Action Selling called Act 8: After the sale, schedule a “future event” to get the buyer looking forward to the next step instead of backward to the investment she just made.

To anyone who knew the system, everything that happened during the call was as plain as day. Yet Mike felt as if he had watched the transaction unfold at some new, higher level.

He had a handle on one big difference, at least. Tony asks for commitment, Mike thought, but he asks for bigger commitments than our other reps.

The first clue to that one had come early, shortly after Tony picked up Mike at the airport and they got acquainted. They would make three calls today, Tony explained. The first was on Janice, who had been a customer for about six months. Starting from a trial basis, he had slowly gained a greater percentage of her business.

“She now does about 30 percent of her buying from us, with the rest split mainly among three of our competitors,” Tony explained. “Today I’m going to present an arrangement that would make us her primary, first-call supplier. We’d get at least 90 percent of her business. My Commitment Objective is for her to agree to grant us primary-supplier status.”

At the sound of “Commitment Objective,” Mike noted again, as he had on the phone, that Tony seemed to think naturally in Action Selling terms. “So you’re going to sign her up for TechShare?” he asked.

“That’s part of it…” Tony answered.

Duane Sparks

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).