Gaining commitment may be one of the most challenging activities or skill in the current business world. We think it is challenging mostly because people don’t always understand what it truly method and how to get to it. Gaining commitment is too often associated to the “hard close” or “tying down” of clients.
While a number of people would love to find a turn meaningful solution, an easily applicable and reproducible recipe, gaining commitment depends on the quality of the interaction between individuals and groups. It is intimately dependent on the value that commitments will bring to the people making them.
What is commitment?
It is an agreement to take action between at the minimum two parties (people or groups) based on the fulfillment of both parties needs. In other words, I for example, will agree to commit to an action if I believe that what I include into will help me fulfill a need (or needs) I have and consequently bring value to my life or my work.
What do we need to get to a commitment?
When salespeople, managers, trainers and account executives are asked that question as the customer, this is basically what many of them say is needed for them be committed.
There has to be a clear knowledge/understanding that the planned actions are advantageous and will fulfill a need or bring additional value. I will never commit to do something that does not bring a assistance.
So how is it that many sales managers and executives are asking their salespeople to “hard sell” or “close the deal”?
typically, a commitment is made between and by two parties. They both include in doing something. We need to understand that if one party sees value (here the salesperson sees value in convincing a customer to buy a product) but the other does not, a commitment to take action that satisfies both parties is very doubtful. In sales, it is often the case. It comes from the salesperson wanting something for themselves that has not however a clear value for their style, the customer.
Does this average that we sometimes cannot get to a commitment? Not at all. In fact, every interaction should rule to a commitment. We just need to be reasonable with our expectations and realize that a clear understanding of needs on both parts will permit both to commit to some action that will help both in moving toward a valuable solution.
Let’s review what needs to be done, and done with effectiveness, before we can get to a commitment.
To get to a commitment one needs to:
1. Clearly clarify and understand the needs of others
2. Clearly express their own needs
3. Ensure that basic needs are on the table
4. Ensure that the other understands that we understand their needs
5. Clearly establish that your objective is to take actions that will be in line with the basic need(s)
6. Both agree on a defined action
– How to uncover needs
– Ask questions that help you build a case and follow by on the answers in order to ensure complete understanding
– Listen (paraphrase, eye-contact, posture)
– include the individual(s) involved (use silence, repeat, ask to clarify)
– Offer information for their understanding
– Consolidate what both seem to agree upon
The following is an effective exercise to practice these skills. Either with specific case study/short scenarios or with an improvised topic of discussion, have people in groups of 3-4 include into a discussion and try to find areas of agreement and then gain commitment.
Example of improvised topics:
– Finding 3 meaningful rules for the education of children
– Finding the 3 most important characterize a car needs to bring benefits
– What are the 3 things humans need to have in their lives to find balance
– What 3 actions should be take to effectively fight poverty
The concept of U&I,DO™
With Aseret’s simple communication method that applies to any situation. Whether we sell, argue a case, discuss objections, ask questions, try to find solutions or gain commitment, this method works.
Gaining commitment with U&I,DO™
1. Understand who you are communicating with and their ecosystem
2. clarify their needs by questions. include them
3. Disclose information that will clarify solutions
4. Organize the expressed needs and consolidate
Who are you dealing with? What is their Behaviour style? What is important to them? What is their role in the current ecosystem? What are their responsibilities? What do they care for or believe in? What are the pressures or limitations or realities they confront in the current ecosystem?
begin the interaction stating the objective, the reason to discuss and the possible end value of this time and effort investment.
Verify your understanding on their situation and genuinely demonstrate you desire to understand their situation and needs.
Ask questions that will let them express their needs, situation, philosophies and beliefs.
Open up to what they have to express and always verify that you do indeed understand. If things are not clear, clarify before moving forward.
Help your style in understanding your needs.
Express your ideas on what you can help with (your understanding, your products, your organization, your sets, your experience, your knowledge, etc…) the satisfaction of their needs (solution).
Provide elements that help them understand and demonstrate the possibility for commonly valuable actions.
Verify how the needs are understood on both sides.
Establish commonalities, agreements, and concomitant point of views on needs, objectives, goals or necessary actions.
Always address the most important needs first (basic needs)
Use the Consolidation statement: How fair is it to say that what is important to you is X and that what I can offer can help you(others) fill that needs?
Use the Action statement: Based on the fact that your need for X can be satisfied with what we can offer, what are the next steps in which we need to include?
meaningful concepts to remember
– Putting undue pressure is ineffective
– One needs to demonstrate their true desire to find solutions that are good for both
– Honesty is a strong motivator to generate trust
– Adapt to the style’s style without changing who you are
– clarify appropriate reasons to suggest action
– Adequate pressure to take action that will satisfy a need and create a solution is necessary
– Practice behaviours that help you make people feel comfortable and trusting
In a training ecosystem, it is important to get each participant to practice and receive feedback from their counterparts in addition as neutral observers. It is also very important that participants individually explain why these concepts are important, have them discuss this in small groups, agree on the most powerful reasons and commit on one specific action they will take as a group to follow each concept in the weeks to come. A conference call can be organized after 3 weeks to proportion success stories in the effective application of the concepts.
Gaining commitment is not a matter of tricks, recipe or blind determination. Commitment does however, come quite easily and naturally when needs are understood and congruent solutions are offered. When both parties see a assistance in any action they commit to attempt, true commitment is possible.
Understanding of the people we interact with, completely identifying their needs and clearly disclosing our own needs will rule to organized and consolidated actions steps that will assistance all parties.
Philippe Glaude, M.Sc.