Get Agreement on Two Levels To Sell More

in Closing, Questioning, Sales Recommendations (presentations)

I was reminded the other day that in many sales situations there are two levels of agreement you must pass in order to get the sale:

1. agreement that they will take action on their need, problem, or situation. That are actually going to buy from SOMEONE, and,

2. agreement that you will be the one to help them do it.

In response to an ad for deck cleaning, a guy came out and left an estimate. He didn’t get back with me for several weeks.

When he eventually called back, I told him I now wasn’t sure if I needed it done, it was getting late in the summer, and that I felt the price was a little steep for the service.

How would you have handled the situation? He proceeded to tell me, that’s tell me, how good he was, how he did things other deck cleaners didn’t do, how he power washed and then brushed on the stain, and so on.

However, he didn’t pass the first level of agreement: that I felt I really needed it done in the first place, and that I was going to get it done. Once that had been developed, then he could have worked on the second level.

For example, he could have said,

"I see. Let’s talk about that. What prompted you to look at having your deck cleaned?"

My answers would have directed the rest of the call. If I told him I was really sick of the faded look that was in sharp contrast to the rest of the nice landscaping, he would have been on to something.

I could have been convinced. (I’m almost convincing myself as I write this!) Instead, I rationalized that it doesn’t really look that bad, and I can wait another year.

Here are other questions he could have used before the estimate, and that you can use to determine if they’ve crossed the first level of buying:

"Is this something you’ve already decided you’re going to do?"

"So you’ve already determined you’re going to have it done, it’s now just a matter of how you’re going to do it, is that right?"

It’s fruitless to sell someone on why you’re the best provider when they haven’t even decided they need it.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

trish bertuzzi September 8, 2009 at 12:19 pm

Why I love reading your posts is that you take the complex thought and break it down into terms anyone can understand through story telling. Awesome!

PS – got a quote for deck cleaning yesterday. what did your guy quote you?


J September 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Just some additional thought. I feel that the 1st question is absolutely crucial to a good healthy business relationship, and in my opinion, is one of the few reasons people get turned away by sales people.

Imagine yourself being approached in a busy street by someone who wants your attention, talks without your input, stuffed you with all the information, and fully expects you to pay him for something that you feel that you do no need. People feel “robbed”.

After that initial stage, it becomes a question of whether the client sees you as someone they can work with, and have a reason to work with.

Just some thoughts.

Yours Truly,


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