Even a lot of veteran salespeople have never encountered sales training that introduces them to the concept of Commitment Objectives. They’re often astonished when they discover how much money they have been leaving on the table because nobody ever explained it to them.

Tiffany Love, manager of sales training for veterinary health company Ceva, with U.S. headquarters near Kansas City, Kan., saw a case in point when she gave some Action Selling-based sales coaching to a veteran salesperson named Becky.

Becky was a new hire at Ceva, but she was not lacking in sales skills. “She had more than 15 years’ experience in sales, and she had been through tons of sales training that always talked about ‘call objectives,’” Love says.

Call objectives are not the same as Commitment Objectives. You can have any number of perfectly valid call objectives when you visit a customer: conduct a needs analysis, explore opportunities to get more of the customer’s business, ensure that the customer is happy with your service, and so on. But a Commitment Objective is a different animal.

Sales training and sales coaching based on Action Selling explain that a Commitment Objective refers to a specific, concrete action that you want the customer to agree to take as a result of any particular sales call. What do you want the customer to commit to DO by the end of this call that will move things forward to the next logical milestone in your sales process?

I believe that the Commitment Objective is the foundation stone that supports all meaningful sales skills. So crucial is it to be able to articulate a Commitment Objective for every single sales call you make that sales coaching based on Action Selling puts the rule like this: No Commitment Objective, no call.

Test it Yourself

After being introduced to the concept of Commitment Objectives in sales training, veteran Becky wasn’t convinced that a C. O. would actually make a difference in the outcome of her calls. “So the week after she left the sales training program, she ran her own experiment,” Love says.

“On Monday and Tuesday, Becky set about her sales calls with classic call objectives: follow up on this, find out about that. On Wednesday and Thursday she developed Commitment Objectives for her calls; for instance, one C.O. was to gain agreement from veterinarians to dispense our Vectra product as the No. 1 treatment for flea and tick control.”

Love says that when Becky called her on Friday for some follow-up sales coaching, “she opened with the line, ‘Well, I’ve been schooled.’ Becky went on to say that she could not believe the difference in the outcomes of her sales calls. They felt more organized; she felt more confident moving through the sale; she knew what she really wanted to accomplish, so she was better able to prepare a strategy to get there; and she won more business.

“It was really fun to hear a veteran who thought she already had great sales skills get so excited about learning a new selling process,” Love concludes. “Becky is a true believer in Commitment Objectives.”

For information about how to improve sales skills and make sales training pay huge dividends, contact Action Selling at (800) 232-3485.

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).