How to Leverage the Hidden Science Behind Advancing the Sale
There are two scientific concepts that explain why the practice of setting Sales Advances is so effective:
- Endowed Progress
Once we have committed to an idea or goal, either verbally or in writing, we are strongly compelled to honor that commitment in order to remain congruent with our self image. We convince ourselves that we have done the right thing and feel better about our decision by remaining consistent. More importantly, once we accept small commitments we become more willing to commit ourselves even further along those same lines—our actions become increasingly consistent toward achieving the end goal. Persuasion psychology expert Robert Cialdini has devoted an entire chapter to this topic in his excellent book Influence: Science and Practice.
This psychology is the first key to understanding why using Advances to further our sales is so effective. Once a prospective client has agreed to take a step forward, there is a strong compulsion to remain consistent with the process and take an additional step, and another, and another.
In this way each advance further increases the likelihood that our prospective client will take another step in a chain of advances that lead to the ultimate conclusion of the sale.
Interestingly, the closer a prospect is to the end of the process the more committed they become to it. That is the essence of the second concept.
Once we feel that we have made progress toward a goal we become even more committed toward continued effort in achieving that goal. In fact, the closer we get to the goal, the more our effort increases.
You can think of this concept simply as closure. Once we set out to attain something (say the acquisition of a new solution or service, for example) the closer we get to completion, the more our efforts to do so accelerate. Many things can be done to increase the client’s perception of just how far along they are. And interestingly, studies indicate that the perception of progress is as effective as actual progress in getting clients to accelerate their efforts. That is the endowed part of Endowed Progress.
So, making a client aware that they are closer to their goal than they may have realized and communicating to them how much progress they are making toward their goal will accelerate their efforts toward closure.
These two dynamics, commitment/consistency and endowed progress, are the two primary psychological reasons why utilizing Sales Advances is so effective in improving sales outcomes. Once the initial small advance (the commitment part) is achieved, clients are likely to take another second small step and so forth. Additionally, the more progress the client makes toward closure (the endowed progress part), the more accelerated their efforts become.
Done correctly, these two principles of advancing the sale (commitment/consistency and endowed progress) represent a virtuous cycle in which each component synergistically aids the other in ultimately closing the sale.
They key lies in the setting of our call objectives which we will cover in an upcoming post. For now, the key take away is to: first, define and ask for the many small Advances that activate the commitment/consistency part of the loop and second, make clients aware of just how much progress they are making towards their desired outcome so they have a clearer understanding of their endowed progress.
Closing Tip: Define and ask for small Advances that activate the commitment/consistency, and make clients aware of just how much progress they are making towards their desired outcomes so they have a clear understanding of their endowed progress.
Until next time!