Closing the sale is one of the biggest stumbling blocks faced by sales people the world over.

Paul Harrison asked Marcus Cauchi, London’s first licensed trainer of Sandler Training, to reveal one of the most powerful selling secrets: How to have your prospect surrender the order by agreeing in the beginning what will happen at the end of the meeting. This is known as “Upfront Contracting”

Tip 1

“Closing a sale” results in resistance. Have the client close themselves instead.

How? Always agree at the start, what will happen by the end. Decide what a good outcome for your meeting will look like. Ask a question in the first 2-3 minutes like, “Mrs Client, I’m not a mind reader so let me ask you straight up, what do you need to see, hear or have happen by the time we are done in an hour, for us to do business ( or move forward to a second meeting)?”

Tip 2

No wishy-washy up front contracts …ever.

Up front contracts must be clear, specific and certain in their terms. “Paul, can we agree that assuming we tick all the boxes on your issues relating to not closing enough, not being in front of enough qualified decision makers consistently enough, and eliminating the pressure you and your salespeople feel to discount; assuming we get that far, is there any reason why you wouldn’t be comfortable setting aside 10 minutes at the end of our conversation to map out some clear next steps and define what has to happen for us to do business eventually?

Tip 3

Without the will to enforce an upfront contract it is almost useless.

Make sure you revisit your upfront contract as you go and reiterate what you have agreed at the end about next steps so you can put a plan into action as to what happens next. No exceptions. Every interaction begins and ends with an upfront contract.

And when you have to return to your earlier conversation, remind them of what you have mutually agreed and put the next steps into place with an agreed plan you are both part of making and putting into action.

Q & A

Roger Williamson is a London-based South African who is building a team within Forever Living Products and is keen to close more business using Upfront Contracting.

Question 1: Are there any downsides to Upfront Contracting?

Fair question. No. But there’s a big downside to not doing them. Look back at the last ten proposals you’ve written. How many closed? How many ended in a “think it over” or “call me in a couple of weeks” and you’re still chasing them?

Question 2: Isn’t it deemed very aggressive in the eyes of the prospective client?

The first rule of Sandler Sales Training is “Nurture, Nurture, Nurture” and U.F.C’ing is “the art of reaching mutual agreement”. That means your intent and everything you do is deliberately aimed at reaching a “Win-Win or No Deal”. I’m not sure how that would come across as anything other than reasonable, fair and consistent.

Question 3: Why don’t more people use upfront contracting?

Ignorance and fear. Most of us do what everyone else does and what we’ve always done. Habit tells us we should qualify for money, authority and need. Then present our case (which is normally features and benefits based) then go for the close, then handle objections and finally send a proposal. Then wait a chase and wait and chase. Just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it isn’t incredibly stupid!

For more information about Marcus and his training, you can visit and if you have any other questions that you would like answered, please email [email protected]

By Paul Harrison

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