How many times have you been given the sales ‘kiss of death’... The Proposal Request. It goes something like this:
“This all sounds great! Please send over a proposal that I’ll look over and share with my team”
And then crickets…. You never hear from that prospect again. All that time you spent on lead generation, online marketing and LinkedIn prospecting wasted.
It’s not that you made any major mistakes.
Your prospect genuinely did have the intention to look over your proposal in their heightened state of emotion and excitement about a potential solution to their challenge. But that emotional state slowly wore away…
A few days passed, a few more important tasks landed on their desk and eventually they put solving their challenge to the back of their mind again.
Momentum was lost.
This sales tip is all about momentum. You see, in sales, you are the resultant force that must drive change.
For almost every prospect that you speak with, it’s easier for them to do nothing than to take action.
This is not just sales science, it’s physics!
According to Newton's first law of motion, an object remains in the same state of motion unless a resultant force acts on it. If the resultant force on an object is zero, this means:
a stationary object stays stationary
a moving object continues to move at the same velocity (at the same speed and in the same direction)
When building your sales pipeline, you’re largely dealing with stationary objects. People that have challenges and need help but aren’t yet doing anything about them. They are usually resistant to change.
Combine this with the fact that most people are at best slightly sceptical of new products and services, means that your task of influencing these people is not easy, you must become the resultant force that keeps them moving along WITHOUT coming across as pushy.
Enter Micro Commitments.
A micro commitment is a small, easy step that nudges your prospect to the next stage in your sales process. A series of small micro-commitments will lead to a macro commitment. A commitment to change. A commitment to doing business with you.
Gaining micro-commitments in your sales process is crucial. Because 9 times out of 10 your prospect will not be ready to move forward right away on the first meeting and to push them to take action at this point will only cause them to feel pressured and drive them away.
Micro-commitments enable you to build rock-solid relationships over time with your prospects built on trust. By asking them to take a small action that is in sync with your sales process, you’re able to break down their resistant to change and maintain that all-important forward motion.
Most importantly you avoid the sales Kiss Of Death - the dreaded Proposal Request.
I can’t understate the importance of locking down the next step with prospects, no matter how small.
Getting an agreed next step in place keeps your solution front of mind and hugely increases your chance of winning the sale.
Whether you're a coach, consultant, accountant, agency owner or any other kind of business, there will always be a small next step you can take to keep the process moving.
Almost always, a micro-commitment should be another meeting within a set time frame. Whether that’s a 10-minute Q&A, a free 30-minute consulting session or a tentative onboarding session.
Aim to provide some value in that next step too, by expressing what your prospect will learn and takeaway from that next session you have together.
By judging how ready your prospect is to move forward, then proactively scheduling the next step, it keeps them engaged in your process.
A good rule of thumb is to never send a proposal without a next step locked in to discuss that proposal.
I hope this article inspires you to start locking in those micro-commitments. Remember, it’s not about pressuring your prospects to move forward, but just taking a small next step to solve their challenges and serve them.