You have the ability to predict the future. If you can you set clear expectations with your clients and prospects, you can maintain control of the sale. How can you do this ethically and without resorting to the more "traditional" selling style of being pushy or manipulative? One tool is called the Up-front contract.
The Up-front contract can be used to set a meeting, to agree to terms throughout the sale, or to maintain a strong relationship with a client. The key is to use it properly. Used incorrectly an Up Front Contract will make a customer feel as though they are wearing imaginary handcuffs.
Here are three things to avoid when setting up-front contracts:
1. No mutual mystification. Don’t guess what will happen at the next meeting or during the next call. Any communication you have with your prospect must have a clear understanding as to next steps. What needs to be covered? What other decision makers must be present? When will the final decision be made?
2. No wishy-washy words. When a prospect says to you, “Things look good, and I’m hoping that next week we might be able to do something,” you might think, Wow! I’ve got the job. But the prospect is thinking, I’m not sure who I’ll give this job to. Chances are it might not be you! Better to clarify the wishy-washy words. What does, “things look good” or “let me look this over and get back to you” really mean? Is it a nice way of saying ‘no?’ Better you find out now because your customer is definitely going to go to work with someone on the house. However, will it be with you?
3. No smoke. Your “gut” is your built-in smoke detector. Learn to rely on it. Prospects will blow smoke at salespeople as a means to negotiating. Don’t take it. When you establish an Up-front contract that means there’s no guessing, no surprises, no assumptions. It doesn’t guarantee the sale, but it makes selling less stressful and more enjoyable for both the salesperson and the prospect.
Ultimately it’s not up to you to sell a customer your services, but to understand their decision making process and determine what’s important to them.
Full disclosure selling will lead to a stronger relationship and trust. It allows you to get an answer. If the answer is ‘yes’ you can celebrate and move on. If you get a ‘no’ be thankful you got it early and move on.Come visit me in Las Vegas at KBIS for the following forums:Wed, Jan 21st - 3-4pm Suspect vs. Prospect: Is this person wasting my time?Thurs Jan 22nd - 11a-12p - Creative Avoidance: Are you smoking "hopium?"