Every day you execute several contracts you have signed or agreed to verbally without putting too much thought into it. A good example of this is your cell phone agreement. Cell phones are an indicator of a contract between the customer and the cell phone company, and as long as the customer pays their bill they will receive service in predetermined regions of the country or even the world.
When a customer enters a contract with the cell phone company, they know exactly what services will be provided, for how long, and what both parties need to do to uphold the contract.
If it can be that easy for a customer and the cell phone company, why can`t it be that easy for sales professionals working with prospects?
It can! By using three areas of an up-front contract when communicating with prospects, sales professionals can ensure the prospect knows the agenda for a meeting, the time the meeting will take, and the expected outcome.
- Time- When creating an upfront contract with a prospect, the sales professional must ask the prospect how much time they are will and able to dedicate to having the conversation or the sales professional must explain how much time a conversation should take. If the sales professional does not discuss time, they cannot be upset when a prospect has to cuts them off or does not want to dedicate the amount of time needed.
- Agenda- Before starting to give a sales pitch or asking the prospect questions, the sales professional should outline the purpose of the meeting or phone call. By telling the prospect what they plan to discuss and asking the prospect what they would like to discuss, the prospect becomes more open to discussion and is more likely to be honest with the sales professional. Another tactic the sales professional can try is asking the prospect for permission to ask questions during the meeting or call, so the prospect feels as though they have willingly entered the conversation.
- Outcome- It is critical to lay out the possible outcomes of the meeting, such as what a “no” looks like and what a “yes” looks like. In this part of the up-front contract, a sales professional should always let the prospect know it is ok to say “no” or the company is not a right fit. By giving the prospect permission to say “no’, the sales person enables the conversation to be honest, open and candid.
During the development of an up-front contract, it is critical to address time, agenda, and outcome, in order to reach mutual agreements and avoid open ended conversations with no clear next step.