By Jana Love

As we wrap up the third step in the Sales Process Series, your number one goal in sales is to gain commitment from the customer. However, The Sales Board wrote a blog on the research they found stating that, "…salespeople need dramatic improvement in achieving Sales Objectives and Gaining Commitment at each milestone of the sale." Their statistics show that 62% of salespeople fail to ask for commitment. That is a lot of potential sales heading out your door.

Gaining commitment is an important element of selling. It consists of closing (checking in) at each step and making conclusions about where your customer is in the sales process. This should be thought of as a natural conclusion to a well-orchestrated sales call. You may not close the business each time you interact with the customer, but you will make conclusions every time, which will provide you with an appropriate response to the customer. Follow these steps when concluding:

  • Summarize all key points (objectives and needs) of the call and make sure that you check in with the customer to ensure you have understood them. Gaining their commitment by understanding their needs is what moves the call to the next step. Remember, as you summarize these key points, tie them back to the benefits that your service can provide (Step Two).
  • Ask for the business! What do you have to lose? This gives the sales process perspective. If your customer says "no", this just means you now have to handle an objection, or you need a better understanding of their needs.

    • Handling Objections: Expect them and welcome them. Handling an objection means responding to the customer in a way that changes their mind or alleviates their concerns. Nothing is more dangerous than letting sales objectives go unaddressed until the final stages of the sale. Use these steps when handling objections:
      • First question to understand
      • Listen to the customer
      • Acknowledge you have heard
      • Explore options and provide solutions
      • Check in
      • If appropriate, ask for the business again
  • Suggest an action step: This might be a date and time for another call or an in-person meeting. Suggest an introduction of your team or suggest and explain the steps regarding the contract. Ask if you can meet the decision maker. Always make a next step suggestion.

This series has given you the blueprint of the sales process, The Opening, Advancing the Sale, and now, Gaining Commitment. Please see previous articles in this series to review and practice each element of the process. Don't be part of the 62% who do not ask for the commitment! When you master Steps One and Two, asking for the business comes naturally. Good luck and remember that we are always here to support your sales efforts.