Time: The very first commitment you need from your dream client is the commitment of their time. Without gaining the commitment of time, you can’t create an opportunity. This is why prospecting is the critical activity for sales professionals; prospecting is where this commitment is first gained. As you go through your sales process and help your dream client with their journey, you are going to need to ask for and gain the commitment of their time.
Explore: You do discovery work, but at the same time your client is making their own discoveries. You need a commitment to explore the ways you might work together to make changes and improvements. Without the commitment to explore new ideas, you don’t have an opportunity.
Change: If your dream client isn’t open to making a commitment to change, you don’t have an opportunity. Without the commitment to change, you have a lead. It isn’t your dream client’s needs, it isn’t their spending, and it isn’t the value that you can create for them that makes an opportunity; it’s their willingness to commit to change that makes an opportunity real.
Collaborate: You need a commitment to collaborate. You may have the best solution in the world, but until that solution changes from “your” solution to “our” solution, until your dream client adds their ideas, you aren’t where you need to be. You need to the commitment to collaborate.
Gain Consensus: Winning a large, complex opportunity requires consensus. You need the support of individual stakeholders, and you need the support of the groups they represent. You also need executive support. You need the commitment from your dream client contacts to help you build consensus. This is a commitment that includes access and information.
Invest: Your dream client wants better results. But to get those better results requires that they make the necessary investments. You need to gain a commitment that they are willing to make the necessary investments.
Review: You need a commitment to review your proposed solution. This commitment requires that you present to all of the stakeholders involved in the decision, that you get their input, and that you have an opportunity to make adjustments.
Resolve Concerns: You need the commitment to follow up your presentation and resolve any concerns your dream client may have. Those concerns may be resolved by providing proof, by walking through your implementation plan, or simply by spending time answering questions. If you don’t what their concerns are, you can’t resolve them.
Decide: You have to ask for the commitment to move forward together. It’s called closing, and it is often mistakenly thought of as the only commitment that matters. For my money, the earlier commitments are harder to gain—and they are where the real value creation that wins deals occurs. But you still need to ask for and obtain this commitment.
Execute: You may have made the sale, but now the real heavy lifting begins. Now you have to execute for your dream client and ensure they get the outcome you sold them. This means you are going to have to ask them to make the necessary changes to ensure you can execute. Their commitment to execute is every bit as important as yours.
Do you know all of the commitments you need to move from target to close?
Are these commitments embedded in your sales process?
Which commitments are the easiest for you to overlook?
Which commitments are the hardest to gain and why?