Customer commitment doesn’t necessarily mean closing the sale. However, it’s just as important in terms of achieving a desired outcome. The process of obtaining customer commitment requires a careful approach – so many customers are put off by feeling like they are being forced into something, and so the sale is lost. Instead, working with the customer to create that commitment as a series of collaborative milestones is much more like to generate the best results.
- Give yourself an overview of what’s likely to happen next. Few – if any – customers go straight from the point of interest to the point of sale. So, map out the journey that you think this customer commitment is likely to take, including what you think is going to happen – and when – what input you’ll need to provide and what the customer will need to do at specific points, and why.
- Avoid a one sided process. The more collaborative the process feels the more likely the customer is to commit to it. There are many ways in which you can do this, from using joint language such as ‘we’ as opposed to ‘I’ or asking for feedback and input from the customer at various different points. You could even hand over control of a demo to the customer or ask them to contribute during a presentation so that they feel much more involved early on.
- Fast forward to the future. This means providing the customer with some insight into what a future of working with you might look like at this stage. So, be super responsive to emails, available on the phone and answer questions with clarity and transparency. Demonstrating the quality standards you adhere to now will make a customer much more likely to commit for the future.
- Ask the right questions. These are the “closing” type questions that might signal to the customer it’s time to commit. “Have we met your expectations” and “Is there anything we could have done better” are good examples.
- Share your timeline with the customer. You don’t have to reveal the overview that you already created but you can share the sense that this is a time critical process. This is most easily done by agreeing deadlines jointly and then following up to ensure that those deadlines are met.
- Prepare some commitment closing ideas you can call on if you need to. For example, you could ask the customer to proof parts of the final document, arrange follow-ups or ask that the customer gather views internally for research.
- Don’t be oblivious to the signs of imminent closing. Sometimes, the closing itself is not as far off as it might at first seem. It might be the simplest question, such as “shall we go ahead?” that triggers the start of the closing process.
Understanding the process of getting customer commitment is key to successful closing. Our Gaining Commitment on the Telephone course is designed to help refine style and techniques over the phone to achieve better results