How You Can Waste So Much Time
One of the most commonly asked questions that I hear from CEOs and sales executives is, “How do we keep from wasting our time with prospects who are not going to buy from us?” It’s no wonder they ask. In a complex or conversion sale involving hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars, a sales cycle might be six months or more.
How would you feel if you invested that kind of time and energy into a prospective piece of business, and then watched it dead-end or go to your competition in the final round of decision making? All the worse when you’re hunting big game in the field of major account selling? That deal might take 50 to 100% of your time and energy. NOT winning is not acceptable.
Let me explain why.
The premise of professional selling is value based. Make yourself and your offering legitimate and valuable to your buyer and then communicate that legitimacy and value. Selling from this platform earns you the right to ask for and earn fair treatment in return. Every time you give the customer something you have the right to get something in return, and this is where conceptual commitment comes in.
I define conceptual commitment as: getting an agreement on value and a commitment to do business through a mental or conceptual understanding of the benefits of doing so, as opposed to doing a product demo or a long winded sales presentation (pitch.)
In sales, you get information (questions), reach understanding (customer issues), give information (present solutions), and get commitment (what they will do about it). Conceptual commitment asks them for a conditional commitment to take action if you can solve their problem cost effectively.
An example of conceptual commitment:
Information question: How are you handling your inbound and content marketing now? What are you doing in that area?
Issue question: What kind of problems or challenges are you having doing it that way?
Solution premise: If there was a solution to that problem… something that might eliminate a lot of the fallout from that problem, would you want to take a look?
Conceptual Commitment question: If you found that it eliminated the problem, and did it cost effectively, would you buy it?
If they say yes (which many of them will) you now give them proof or demonstration of how you accomplish your claim, and that proof is called a “sales presentation.” But it’s a much more effective presentation because it is presenting a precise solution to the pain they are in as opposed to a “sales broadcast” that will put them to sleep in 5 minutes!
Suppose they say, “No, I wouldn’t give you my business.” I would then ask them why not, and would begin doing my own deeper qualification to determine if this was someone I wanted to invest my time and energy in for the next six months. Conceptual commitment forces the issue as to whether or not to invest your time in an extended sales process.
Use it to save time and help qualify prospects and solve problems in your business practice. It is a very powerful qualification tool.
Until next time, be of great value to your customers and prospects… enjoy world-class success selling and have some fun along the way…. It makes things so much easier.