Are you coaching “to close deals” or coaching “to help your sales teams getting to the next commitment level”?
When coaching sales executives, sales managers often ask: “When do you think you can close the deal?” With selling with the buyer’s perspective in mind, this is absolutely the wrong question. What would be a lot more helpful is asking: “What commitment did you get from your prospect at the end of your meeting?” What did they commit to?
Let’s explore five key commitments you would like to hear:
- Their commitment to explore change. The prospect is open to exploring change because you have shared relevant insights – or a new perspective – that got them thinking critically about their status quo. They now actively ask themselves: “Do we currently have the right set-up to achieve what we are trying to achieve?” If this happens at the end of the meeting, you know they want to continue talking to you. They are willing to explore what a better world could look like.
- Their commitment to involve other stakeholders. Your contact person agrees that staying with the status quo will not help them reach their growth targets. Their company needs to make drastic changes, but they are not able to make these decisions alone. More people need to be involved in hearing your views and, more importantly, how you can help. Thinking from the buyer’s perspective, how can you help your contact person? Don’t overcomplicate things; just ask who else they think have an interest in the conversation you just had? The value you trade is facilitating and understanding other views
- Their commitment to come to a consensus on change. Stakeholders may have their own agenda – but what they have in common is the future success of the company. The value you trade focuses on linking their common business goals to risks of not changing – plus the opportunities when changing – for the company’s sake. Here you are at a later stage in the buying process. You have now spoken to several stakeholders. It is time to move them to Change to Who? What is their willingness to agree that a change is needed?
- Their commitment to decide to change. Here you offer to help with a solid business case for change. It should include ROI and clear strategic advantages when making a change. The stakeholder group wants to hear clarity on what they buy and the impact on their business. Does the business want to go back to its status quo? Or have you built enough merit for them to make a decision? What is their willingness to act on that as a group?
- Their commitment to implement the change. Companies may have been with suppliers for decades. And even though your case for change is solid, many unknown variables can hold the ‘timing’ back. The value you trade here is that you will do the legwork. You will be their right arm. You act as a team member to ensure all users can switch swiftly with you as their new main partner. You may get your first order – but is there enough commitment to change their business over? There is always a lot of work to do here – for both the buyer and the seller. You need to know their commitment level so the legwork you do, pays off.
Sales managers, help your sales team to ask for these commitments at the end of their meetings. Then, together with them, understand the prospect’s level of commitment and what needs to happen to move to the next commitment. This will take your pipeline coaching to a whole new level. Up!
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