Keep moving forward with your customers, one commitment at a time.
As sales professionals, we all know the power of commitment. Getting the first commitment from a customer to sit down and talk business is HUGE! When we are face-to-face with our customers we can do what we do best: solve problems and deliver solutions that work. But taking a customer through the sales process can take a lot more than just one commitment. We need to work together to problem solve, make decisions, and keep the show rolling. Unfortunately, getting a client to set aside time can be a challenge. How do we chase commitment-phobia out of our customers, and get ourselves into their busy schedules?
“Without commitment, you cannot have depth in anything…” Neil Strauss | Author
What you need to know about helping clients commit:
Why do customers struggle with commitment? It all comes down to uncertainty. Uncertainty comes in many forms, whether it be a lack of clarity on your products/services, an undefined budget, or distrust of salespeople in general. Whatever the reason for the uncertainty, your first priority is to identify it and properly address it. Bottom line, if you want happy customers who are eager to work with you, they need to first be confident in your partnership. The best way to build confidence in a relationship is to be clear about everything in the sales process (estimated price, time commitment, steps to the process) and remove uncertainty wherever it may be. When setting up a time to talk with a client, be crystal clear. Let them know you want to help them solve their problems and are serious about connecting in the future to get process started.
1. Get on the radar. Getting clients to habitually schedule you in doesn’t happen in a day. Be direct in your intentions meet and outline how the meeting will benefit them. Clearly. Do not leave tentative plans floating–they aren’t worth table salt without follow through! Make firm plans to meet by following up as soon as possible.
2. Cement Plans. If you want to get plans on lock with your client, you need to be direct, specific, and clear about how and when you want to connect. Determine who/how/when to connect by saying, “Let us (who) set up a phone call (how) tomorrow at 4:15PM (when)…” Whatever the means of contact are (phone, in-person, email) be specific. Don’t let there be any uncertainty. You’ll need to work with the customer to determine a time that fits into their schedule, but don’t let that stop you from turning those tentative plans into solid ones.
People live and breathe by their devices. Make sure the customer physically schedules your appointment in a mobile calendar. If it’s on the schedule, it gets done! Or better yet, send a meeting invitation with built in reminders!
3. Set goals. Remove uncertainty about your upcoming discussion right away by defining the goal for your conversation/meeting. If you leave it at “Let’s chat,” it may be unclear to your customer what the purpose of your “chat” is. Let them know up front what you will be discussing. “Let’s talk about your goals for this project so we can work together to make it happen!” Properly defining goals for meetings not only makes us good sales professionals, it also sets up our clients to be great customers! They can be properly prepared and ready to make decisions in the buying process when they know what to expect out of each meeting.4. Plan next steps. During each contact with a customer, from first to last, clearly communicate the next steps in the process. It’s all part of leading the process with confidence, and making it easy for your customer to work with you. “Thanks for talking with me today…. Let’s set up a time on Tuesday morning to discuss. I am available from 8:30-10:30 AM. What works best for you?” Remember to be specific with time, contact type, and goals for the contact. When they know what’s ahead, your customers will be more willing to follow you through the whole process and come out on the other end with solutions that work for their specific needs!
Key Take Aways: Help commitment-phobe clients through the process by guiding them with confidence and clarity! Set the date, designate goals for every contact, look ahead, and always be leading your customer forward!