How To Use 3 Agreement Selling ™ To Sell More
There are no shortages of sales tips, training, videos, books, mentors and magicians in the world of selling. When I decided to add my snowball to the iceberg it was after having been sold by, sold with and taught a myriad of selling techniques. Whether it’s represented by a pyramid, a submarine, circles, charts, graphs or any other form of trying to visually coalesce a process that is both general and intimate, psychological and practical, basic and nuanced…well, they are all useful to some degree if understood, applied and measured. For me selling comes down to getting three simple agreements.
While there is plenty of process, technique and terminology for sales people to learn and pay attention to it has been my experience that the counter to the complexity of closing a deal is too often self-satisfaction over moving to whatever next step. A lot of rationalizing and false beliefs keep the morale up and the bosses happy. Ever hear, “When I get in front of the right person I usually close.” Or, “It’s looking good on that account, I have a presentation there next week.” When sales are broken down into tiny victories or meaningless beliefs there is tremendous distraction away from the actual objective and reward and us blocked out by self congratulation for moving along the process.
Not that selling can’t take time or require trust or relationships, it can, but whether we are talking about a one meeting close or a complex multi-level sale they can all be said to require the same three agreements in order for a transaction to occur. By keeping three objectives in mind we have a simple enough view to recognize that we need all three before we get money and broad enough that it informs us of the different number of steps, action or time that may be needed between the three agreements.
Test if these are requisite to your sales:
First, you need to agree to have a conversation about what you each do and agree that it makes sense for you to have more conversation about how, where and why those points intersect and may create value.
Second, you need to agree emotionally, not just intellectually, that there are problems with meaningful consequences if left untreated or opportunities or real value that will remain unrealized if not pursued with a plan informed with skill. Of course that means you agree it makes sense to continue talking/working together on what getting there might look like.
Third, you need to agree that you are at a point where the problem or opportunity is a good match for the solution you have and a trusted fit that is at a value that is mutually advantageous. This is where the agreements then become legal, a contract or P.O.
I hope those three agreements seem obvious but ask yourself how many times you or your salespeople have gone along the sales process without an ironclad agreement on each of those three points as the only real objective. You’ve gotten to talk about what you do, maybe even present. You’ve had mutual admiration conversations ending with, “we should keep talking about this,” that may or may not happen. You’re cultivating contacts, going to the right places, searching happy accidents, etc. The selling mind is so often trapped in the trappings of selling that it can be either too focused on the end without doing the work in the middle or so trapped in the steps in the middle that they have no chance of getting to the close.
Of course there are techniques and processes, measurement and accountability that make sense as subsets of those agreements but by keeping the 3 Agreements needed to sell in mind one can maintain perspective on where they are and what they need to do. Knowing that money in the bank won’t happen until all three agreements are mutually understood, agreed and acted upon may just be the only magic you need to move your sales to where they could and should be.