I have a message for all the future sales juggernauts out there: Stop being so easy. Set your standards higher and make your prospects work for it.

As sales pros, we’re all about making sure the prospect is taken care of, laying out the red carpet, knowing what they like, what they need, what they want, when they should be called. It’s time to put your foot down and start making THEM come to YOU.

Ask for Commitment and Consistency

Being a legendary salesperson has a ton to do with being well-versed in human psychology. We really have to get inside people’s heads to persuade them to make the right decision about our product, right? One of these basic psychology principles you definitely need to know is called the commitment and consistency principle.

Take dating: Two people are looking for someone whose interest level is the same as theirs. They don’t want to make it too easy for their potential lover because they’re trying to attract a quality long-term partner, so they withhold a little to see who’s interested enough to work for it. When they finally find that someone who works for it, they make a small initial investment and, if it goes well, their investments into the relationship increase as time goes on.

Make Them Meet Your Halfway

Granted, the salesperson-prospect relationship isn’t anything like love, but the same psychological principles are in play. I’ll give you another example (this time from real life):

We were doing a great job of generating leads at my former company, but having a hard time closing because the qualification approach we were using wasn’t good enough – we needed a better way of knowing how committed prospects were. So we gave them a little test.

I know, it sounds crazy. Why would we throw roadblocks in the way of people who could be future customers? It’s because we don’t want to waste our time on prospects that go nowhere; in fact, we’re all in favor of killing more opportunities. Even though a lot of people opted out of the test, our close rates got a huge jump because we began to focus on the prospects who showed commitment to our product by taking the test.

Studies show that people who are willing to show commitment in small ways naturally want to be consistent in their actions and are willing to show commitment in bigger ways down the line. The plus is that you’ll be able to kill two birds with one stone – figure out who’s committed and weed out prospects that aren’t worth your time.

All Commitments Are Not Equal

Psych-selling expert Robert Cialdini talks about the commitment and consistency phenom in his book, Influence (a must-read for legendary sales guys). He says that these commitments have to pass these three smell tests themselves before you can start gloating.

Commitments should be:

  • Voluntary
  • Active, and
  • Public

They should also, ideally, be in writing.

So how do you do this? Try to get a commitment early on. If a customer buys a small sample of your product, for example, it indicates that they might be interested in buying a larger amount in the future.

The commitment and consistency principle is about training the customer to convince themselves that it’s them making the decision, not you. Of course we all know that, as sales guys, we’ll happily take advantage of the situation. Not taking the bull by the horns would just be dumb.

The takeaway? Salespeople are oriented to doing things for prospects and customers, but maybe you should ask them to meet you halfway. Don’t waste your time on people who aren’t committed to your product.

Photo courtesy of pittiefullove.files.wordpress.com

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About the Author Adam Honig

Adam is the co-founder and CEO of Spiro Technologies. He is a natural sales leader with a mission to help salespeople make more money using artificial intelligence — or any sort of intelligence for that matter. Adam has been a founder of four companies which resulted in two triumphant IPOs and two legendary mergers. He is best known for speaking at various conferences including Dreamforce, for pioneering the ‘No Jerks’ hiring model, and for flying his drone while traveling the world.

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