How often do you make a cold call and get some kind of lukewarm “call me next week” response?
You’re not the only one. Many sales reps struggle with getting a firm commitment at the end of the initial contact. For some, permission to send out literature counts as a success.
Not so with top producers. They know any prospect unwilling to make even a low-risk commitment is shaky. After all, if a buyer won’t agree to something when the stakes are low, the odds are against their taking action later.
Below are five commitment tactics that improve your odds. They’ll qualify the prospect and build the sort of buy-in you need from the start.
1. Commit to a specific call-back time. Decision makers are busy and prospects can vanish in a New York minute. Consider ending the call this way: “We’re both busy, so perhaps we can set a specific time next week when we can talk further. My calendar is here with me – is yours handy?” Then set a date to continue the conversation.
2. Get a commitment on action in advance of your call. Options include asking prospects to review a needs analysis checklist, read a section of your website, or commit to sharing an idea with their team or boss.
Each situation will vary, of course, so figure out the best action step for them and say something like this: “Let’s make sure we’re together on this. In advance of my call next Thursday you’ll review our needs analysis checklist with your team, right?”
3. Commit to what you will do as well. After you get (1) and/or (2) nailed down, make a promise of your own. Maybe you will check on how quickly your design team can adapt your solution, or confirm delivery times. Use language like this:
“OK, Fred, by next week I’ll contact our shipping department to ensure that we are able to stagger deliveries in priority order. That way your IT installers won’t be overloaded. That would help you streamline implementation, right?”
4. Get a commitment to the next logical step if they approve of what they see. Make sure you’ve nailed (1) and/or (2). Then see if they’ll agree to a next step. This is actually a trial close, so the prospect’s reaction is critical. If the person won’t go along, consider that a warning sign. Continue asking qualifying questions or use the opportunity to prepare for the objections you’ll face later.
Adapt a version of this script: “Fred, this sounds like our solution is a good fit. Tell me: If you agree it is right for you, what’s the next step in the process of getting going on this?”
5. Ask for the deal. When the prospect is fully qualified and likes your idea, the natural flow of things is to ask for the order. It’s gutsy on an initial call but not unheard of, when the chemistry is right. Here’s model language to try:
“I think we’ve covered everything, Fred. Are there any additional questions? “OK, then I’ll ask you one: If, after you review the material, you conclude it’s what you need, how would we get started?”
The prospect’s answer will nearly always be the same one you’ll get later, so why not save time and get it now?
Feel free to adapt these prospecting call approaches to your own selling situation. The better you get at getting a commitment, the more sales you’ll close.
Source: Mike Brooks at www.mrinsidesales.com
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