Last week we saw how consultants can benefit from looking at the sales process as a series of conversations and commitments, and the importance of learning how to do both.
If you like the conversation part but aren’t comfortable asking for commitments, you are going to struggle to sell. If you like asking for commitments but don’t have too much to offer when it comes to conversations, you aren’t going to gain the commitments you need to move the deal forward.
Here's what a reader asked me this weekend:
"This makes a lot of sense Danilo, it's so much easier to look at our buying process from this perspective. Quick question: Do you have any practical tips on how to gain more commitments from prospects?"
Thanks for the question. Yes, I have - here are the three big things I talk about in my training program for consulting partners:
- Know what your outcome is.
- Be transparent and speak naturally.
- Only ask after delivering value.
Here's a quick explanation of each point.
Know What Your Outcome Is
Before every sales meeting or call, decide what you want the outcome to be.
No matter where your prospect is in the buying process, there's always one commitment that you can ask to move the opportunity forward. Sometimes you will need to take a step back before advancing, but this still requires you to ask your prospect to commit to something.
Draw up a list with all of the commitments you need to move a deal from beginning to end (if you want a template, just shoot me a line). Look at it before every sales interaction so you know which commitment you'd like to ask. This will ensure you're not moving too fast and skipping important conversations.
Be Transparent And Speak Naturally
Instead of tricks or manipulative scripts, use honest, natural language to ask for commitments from your prospects.
The best closing language is other-oriented, not self-oriented. Explain how they benefit by agreeing to your request. For example, if you're doing discovery and need them to agree to inviting other executives to the conversation (build consensus):
- Don't say: "Who are the decision-makers?"
- Do say: "At some point, we're going to need to bring those who will be involved in making this decision into the conversation. Who are we going to need, and when does it make sense to bring them into our discussion?"
Don’t worry if prospects reply with objections - that's good since you can go deeper (you're in discovery, remember?) and work on resolving them.
Only Ask After Deliver Value
Remember the golden rule here: To get commitments from your prospects, you must earn the right to ask for them.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- How does the prospect benefit from saying yes to my request? What do they get from it?
- If at some point the prospect chooses to exit the conversations, will they still have received good value for the time they invested?
- What can I do to make sure this call or meeting is worth their time?