Who should be making commitments in the sales process?
If you already follow a sales process you may know the right answer to this question. Or you may be very surprised—without commitments and a sales process, you are not in control. In fact, you’re very much out of control.
Traditional sales techniques make most salespeople think they are the ones responsible for making commitments, and so that would then allow them to be in control of the sales process. And yet they continue to get rejected or put off.
When salespeople are constantly delayed or rejected by their buyers, it becomes obvious that these buyers are in control of the sales process. The simple reason for this is that the prospects follow a proven buyer’s (sales) process. This particular buyer’s (sales) process puts them in control of salespeople, and the worst part is most salespeople don’t even realize it.
Salespeople have forgotten that their job is to prospect, qualify and obtain commitment from buyers. If the buyer is not qualified, then it is the responsibility of the salesperson to reject the buyer while maintaining a relationship for referrals or future business. And if the buyer is qualified, it is also the salesperson’s responsibility to obtain commitment from the buyers on the next steps in order to obtain a clear future.
Let’s face it—there are only four positive outcomes to a buyer encounter:
1. Yes, they buy.
2. No, they are not qualified and do not buy.
3. A clear future—you have commitment from the buyer on the next step.
4. A lesson learned—you fail to get any of the three above outcomes.
So, let’s look at a clear future. Traditional sales techniques had salespeople committing to following up, to providing details, and the list goes on and on. The more you commit to the buyer, the more you put them into control. You are their servant. Is that what you want?
Sales professionals who follow a proven sales process know how and when to engage the buyer into making commitments. If the buyer makes a commitment, it puts you in control of the sales process and allows you to empower the buyer to buy.
Let’s understand commitment and the way it works. When you make a commitment, you own that commitment and must respect it. If not, you are not trustworthy. The same applies to buyers. If you get their commitment, you get a clear future and you know exactly where you stand—you are in control. If the buyer gets a commitment from you, they get a clear future and you have no idea where you stand— you are out of control, wasting time and going for a hope-I-get-a-sale.
There are a number of ways to engage and empower buyers into commitment. The key is in the way you ask the question that will empower the buyer with the reply you want to hear, so that in the end it is their answer, one that they own and are committed to.