Malcolm asks, “How do we gain a commitment for a potential customer on the phone?”
The best way to gain commitment from a potential customer on the phone is to ask for the commitment. So many people avoid just simply asking, would you be committed to working with us in solving these problems? We have a way to do it. We have case studies to illustrate how we’ve done it for others in like situations. Yours is unique however. Let’s work together to bring this problem to resolution. Are you willing to commit because we are. Just make sure that you’re thinking give to get, but also thinking win-win. If it’s not a win-win situation, no one’s going to win. So, have that right mindset when you’re asking for commitment from your prospects and customers.
I think my view on gaining commitment is there aren’t any tips, or tricks, or tactics that are going to trick a business customer into saying yes. Maybe that works if you’re at the county fair or the used car salesman that’s going to trick you into making that commitment today because you think you’re getting a great deal. I think in a business to business relationship it’s actually much more straightforward, and we have to be thinking longterm. Even if we were able to use some high pressure or manipulative tactics, they’re probably going to come back to bite us because we’re not going to get the second deal or they’re going to realise that maybe there was some smoke and mirrors involved.
In my view and what we teach actually in our training is a simple ask model. We want to align with their priorities, so make sure we’re aligned. Recap what it is that we understand they’re trying to do. Secure the commitment. Simply asking for it. Can I send over the proposal today and can we review it? If I get you the proposal and the agreement, are we able to sign it by Friday? Does this make sense, and a great commitment is just to really make sure we understand their needs and we’re asking for it. Creating urgency in B2B selling can be very valuable if it’s not high pressure to say, you said you wanted to get started next month. In order to do that, we probably have to get this wrapped up this week. Does that make sense? Great. So, get their buy-in to that.
And then the final piece, so ask, right? Align, secure, and the K is keep the commitment alive. What we mean by that is once they say yes, make sure we know exactly what the next steps are to finalise that agreement, to get the purchase ordered, to get the contract in place. Whatever that is, let’s make sure we know those steps. We book a kickoff meeting, or whatever that looks like, or the shipping information. We’ve really made it very easy for them to say yes, and that there’s no guess work left after we do.
In summary, I think we should just ask for it once we get aligned and we’ve gone through the sales cycle. When we think they’re ready to buy, ask for the commitment and get their feedback.
To get a commitment, businesses got to give a shit, right? They’ve got to one of two things. They’ve got to know, like and trust you before they pick up the phone because it’s very difficult to do this in a 10, 15, 20 minute conversation. It’s very difficult to build trust and rapport. Some people can do it, but that’s down to charisma, that’s down to rapport building, that is down to knowing things the NLP. All stuff we’ve talked about within the sales school, but these are not typically taught and most sales people are not great at these techniques to build rapport very quickly, and it can get weird and manipulative if you get it slightly wrong.
Ideally to get a commitment, you need to have the prospect know, like and trust you before they even pick up the phone. You’ve sent them content. You’ve sent them- Video content is best because they can see your face. They recognise your voice for a second occasion when you get on the phone with them. I have this all the time when I deal with potential sponsors when I’m selling ad space for the podcast. I get on the phone, they go, oh- Almost every time, oh, you sound just like you do on the podcast. It’s because yeah, sat here in the same room talking to you right now.
So, you need to hopefully to get that commitment, build, know, like and trust before the phone call. If you can’t do that, you’ve got to change tactic slightly. You’ve got to get them to have, we call it, “ah-ha!” moment. Moments where you go, oh, shit that was interesting. It’s questions that you’ve got to ask such as if you could start over [inaudible] marketing. If you could wave all the marketing that you’ve put out, all the branding, all the messaging, how would you start over? How would you do it differently? Or if you could click your fingers, what’s the one thing you would change and how would you change it in your business?
Questions like this make people go, oh, and it turns it from a weird sales call, which nobody likes being on the other end of. No matter how good you are at selling, don’t give me that shit. No one likes sales calls. They’re always weird. It turns it into a consultative conversation. It turns it into- Forget consultative. It just turns it into a conversation. That’s how you get that commitment because the person, if you ask questions like this, are going to be looking forward to you ringing them back up in a weeks time to follow up on whatever you’re selling.
We ask, I think it’s very simple that we earn the right to ask, and I think that the ask doesn’t have to be- We have to be able to draw that up from the customer. In other words, we have to ask a number of questions as we’re going through. I think too often we’re doing way too much presenting and not enough checking in. So, I might say, “Hey Will, how does that sound? Does that look like it meets your requirements? Since it meets your requirements, what do you see as next steps?”. These are the types of questions that will get us to being able to ask. Again, it still comes back to I mean the call objective. What is it we were going to ask for? We should have determined that in advance to the call, and making sure we’re navigating our way to that with the customer actively involved in that conversation.
Really it’s the same as we do in person. Although, we might have to accelerate it and it might be a little tougher to do without the body language, the eye contact, and those things that we’re accustomed to, but people who are good on the phone know how to use their voice. They know how to allow space in the conversation for the buyer to also speak. They still listen well. They don’t let themselves get distracted, and what that translates into is the one thing that helps us to get commitment no matter what we’re doing in selling and that’s that you’ve built trust. You’ve humanised yourself. You’re not just one more sales people on the phone who’s a nuisance. You’re now a human. You have a name. You have value that you bring. We’ve had a conversation. That rapport and trust is the first and most important commitment.