Closing: Asking For and Obtaining Commitments

While more closing behavior did lead to more sales, that was only true if both price and risk were relatively low.
As price and risk increased, aggressive closing behaviors began to work against the salesperson.


  1. The commitment of time. You can’t create opportunities unless your clients commit to giving you some of their time. You gain this commitment in prospecting, which is a critical activity for sales professionals. You must ask for and secure a prospect’s commitment of time very early in the sales process. This can sometimes be the most difficult commitment to obtain, because prospects are busy, constrained by budgetary issues, and perhaps jaded by experiences with bad salespeople.
  2. The commitment to explore. As you work through the discovery phase, your clients are making their own discoveries about themselves and about you. Yuo need a commitment from them to explore the ways you might work together to make changes and improvements.
  3. The commitment to change. If your prospective clients aren’t committed to change, what you have are leads, not opportunities. Neither their needs, their budgetary constraints, nor the value you can create from them means a thing at this point. You must first secure a commitment to change.
  4. The commitment to collaborate. You may have the best solution in the world, but until your dream clients add their ideas and the solution changes from “yours” to “ours,” you aren’t where you need to be. Your prospective clients have ideas about what they need and how they need it delivered. Ask them to collaborate with you in building solutions.
  5. The commitment to build consensus. Winning a large, complex opportunity requires commitment from your contact within the dream client as well as from its executive team, individual stakeholders, and the groups they represent. Get a commitment to meet with all the people on the buying committee, as well as those who will be impacted by what you deliver.
  6. The commitment to invest. Your dream clients must commit to investing the time, energy, and money necessary to produce the desired results. This is crucial. If they could produce the same results without making these investments, they would already be doing so.
  7. The commitment to review your proposed solution. All the stakeholders involved in making the decision must review the solution you propose so that you can receive their input and have an opportunity to make adjustments. Ask for this commitment to review once you are certain that your solution matches your prospective client’s needs and will produce the desired outcome.
  8. The commitment to resolve concerns. You need a commitment from your perspective client to give feedback on your presentation so that you can resolve any anxieties she may have. Such concerns may be resolved by providing proof, walking the client through an implementation plan, or simply by spending time answering her questions. Never leave a presentation without asking for a commitment to meet again to discuss any concerns.
  9. The commitment to decide (to buy). You need to ask for a commitment to move forward together. This particular commitment is what we refer to as “the close.” Without it, you get nowhere. However, this commitment is often mistakenly believed to be the only commitment that matters. In fact, earlier commitments are just as crucial but often are even harder to gain.
  10. The commitment to execute. At this point, you’ve made the sale, and now you must help your dream clients execute and ensure that they get the outcomes you’ve sold them This means that you must ask them to make the necessary changes that enable you to execute. Their commitment to execute is every bit as important as yours.