For those of you familiar with Sandler, you may have found that as you began to use up-front contract, there was a process. That process may have started with feeling that it felt “salesy” and contrived. Then, as you begin to better understand and practice, you may have discovered it is tool that you wonder how you ever sold WITHOUT up-front contracts.
Establishing a strong up-front contract comes from two different areas – having all the elements, as well as, being able to deliver them conversationally.
To review, the elements of an up-front contract are:
3. Prospect’s Agenda
4. Salesperson’s Agenda
For purposes of this example, we will discuss the up-front contract in a first meeting with a prospect.
For up-front contracts 101, if we can remember to reconfirm the time and ask what the prospect wants to make sure we cover, that is a great start. Quite often, when we ask a prospect what they would like to discuss, they may start talking and not stop for a while. Two things to avoid here – DO NOT try to solve their issues and DO NOT try to finish the up-front contract right then.
To elevate our use of the up-front contract, understand that we sometimes will be in a situation where we set the outcomes element of the up-front contract a little later. That is ok, this will make it feel more conversational, versus spitting all the elements out at the beginning of the meeting.
Setting the outcomes element of the up-front contract is truly where you “establish a strong” up-front contract. Clearly defining what “NO” is and giving permission for them to say no. Also, clearly defining what “YES” is. Clearly defining what “YES” is will allow you to make sure to take “Think It Over” off the table and get a clear future to move forward or close a piece of business at the end of the sales meeting.
Take the time to write out your up-front contract as part of your pre-call plan, this practice will help you be comfortable with the words and timing to get the most out of your up-front contract and get you into the flow of the meeting in your system.