How to Gain Agreements with your Clients
It happens to us all…an important client meeting with "less than desired" results. With a little planning and a partnering process for the conversation those types of calls can be reduced.
Suppose you are preparing for an important client conversation. With "less than complete" client knowledge your discussion, if not "target on", could produce a meeting outcome of buyer delay and stalled sales cycles.
On the other hand, planning and using the Four Client Agreements defined below will help you gain the critical information to build customer focused recommendations, move the sales cycle forward and distinguish you as a valuable solutions provider!
Try asking for these Four Client Agreements on your next call…
- Client Agrees to discuss a Valid Business Reason (VBR)
Used at the beginning of each client phone call, meeting, or presentation…the VBR is a statement to discuss what might be important to the client's business situation. When the client agrees, it promotes interest for an indepth business discussion and reduces resistance to your well planned questions!
Tip: the VBR is a value statement for them, not about us, so no call objective or solution statement at this point in your conversation.
- Client Agrees to your understanding of their Needs and Buying Concepts.
Used to summarize and gain agreement on the client's key concepts and their solution image prior to making any recommendation. A broader base of client information will also help you leverage your strengths, minimize your "flags" and overcome price or other buying influence obstacles.
Tip: planning good questions to gain critical information or verify assumptions is well worth the pre-call planning time…especially when on a joint call with a team member!
- Client Agrees to your Recommendation or Solution
Used to gain agreement from the client that your unique strengths discussion and recommendation fits "hand in glove" to the client's verified concepts and their image of the best solution. Gain this agreement prior to discussing which "next step" in the sales cycle would be most appropriate.
Tip: if there is not enough client information to make the recommendation statement truly customer-focused versus product focused, evidenced by quantifiable client benefit statements…stop, go back and ask more in depth questions prior to asking for Minimum or Best Action Commitments.
- Client Agrees To Next Actions
Used to gain agreement on the Best or Minimum Action to be taken by you "and the client" as a result of the conversation. These actions need to be appropriate to where you are in the sales cycle and to the business relationship. This ensures a partnering relationship and moves the sales cycle forward.
Tip: appropriate Minimum Actions requested by you, for the client to do, but not agreed to by the client could be a "red flag" for you with this key decision maker buying influence and opportunity!
Planning and conducting calls with the Four Client Agreements demonstrate to your clients that you understand and provide high value solutions that resolve their issues better than any competitive option. These promote key buying influence conversations that help mitigate issues and leverage strengths of your solutions. (Promise!)
Arlene Johnson is a sales performance coach and author.
She can be reached at email@example.com or 972-991-6991.