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Do You Know The Acid Test For a Sales Advance?

An Advance is a significant action that requires energy by the client, either during the call or right after it that moves the sale toward a decision.

A Continuation is a situation where the sale will continue yet no specific action has been agreed upon by the customer to move forward.

Action & Energy

The two critical elements in these definitions are action and energy. Observing the action and energy a prospective client expends during or immediately following a meeting accomplishes two very important things:

  1. It tells us just how engaged the prospect is, and
  2. It (potentially) moves the sales process one step closer to closure.

In general, the larger the sacrifice the client is willing to make to continue the process (i.e. energy expended), the better the indicator that they are serious about moving forward, and therefore worth our investment of time. It is a litmus test of sorts that we can use to qualify our prospective clients.

What Is the Acid Test for Advances?

The acid test for an advance is action and energy. By setting call objectives that require action and energy on behalf of your prospective client you will have a clear understanding of their commitment level while continually moving your sale toward closure.

If the client is not taking an action, it is not an advance.

If the action the client takes requires little to no energy, it is not an advance.

Examples of advances might include:

  • Arrange for you to meet with a higher-level decision maker
  • ƒƒAgree to meet with your technical team and invest time to discuss requirements and options
  • Share sensitive information needed for an assessment
  • ƒƒArranging a group meeting with executives for you to review the details of your proposed solution face-to-face
  • ƒƒHave a meeting or conversation with a reference you provide

All of these require both action and a decent amount of energy (or perhaps even personal risk in the case of the introduction).

As it turns out, there is a wide spectrum of possible advances in any given sale that range from very little commitment of time and energy to those requiring a great deal of commitment.

Commitment Spectrum

The key, then, is in the setting of our call objectives.

New and inexperienced sales reps very often get this wrong.  When I ask about what their goal is for a typical sales encounter I very often get responses like: “I only ask for a contract when they are ready, so my goal is usually to share some information with them, strengthen the relationship, or gather useful information.”

Unfortunately, “sharing information,” “strengthening the relationship,” and “gathering information” are all continuations. None of these require much action or energy on behalf of the client. And to be frank, every call provides the opportunity to share and gather information and should always improve the relationship. The problem with these types of objectives is that they lead to continuations not advances.

The solution is very often helping the rep understand the difference between an Advance and a Continuation.  By simply setting up true advances that require both action and energy as primary and secondary objectives on each encounter I have seen reps transform into high performers and more than double their results.  I want the same for you.

Closing Tip:  Set true Advances (that require both action and energy) as the objectives for each of your sales encounters.

Until next time!


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