The Unintentional Damage of the “Pre-Contract” In a Sales Conversation – And A More Effective Alternative

You will sell 100% more if you treat a meeting like a conversation. I know that sounds oversimplified but let me explain how to do this. 

To avoid this post going TOO long – I will focus only on the beginning of the sales conversation for now.

  1. There’s this thing sales experts call a “pre-contract” or “agenda” that you need to sell the prospect.
  2. It happens after the “shooting-the-shit” section (also known as rapport).

The condensed version sounds something like this:

  • Ok so the way this call will go is I’ll ask you some questions to better understand your situation and if I can help. If I can I’ll let you know. If I can’t I’ll politely point you in a better direction. You’ll also have an opportunity to ask questions at the end. Cool?
  • They suggest doing this at the beginning of the call for 3 reasons:
  • Supposedly, when they “buy in” and say yes – they’ll be more likely to say yes at the end.
  • They know what to expect on the call and aren’t confused at any point.
  • It lets the prospect know YOU are in charge of the call – NOT them. You’re the authority here.
  • In my experience, this can make it harder to successfully win the business
  • I mean in a real conversation would you ever stop it and let them know “I’m gonna talk and then you’re gonna talk and that’s how we’ll have a conversation”? No.

This pre-contract/agenda/whatever is like announcing in neon lights “THIS IS A SALES CALL – NOT A REGULAR CONVERSATION.”

Let’s say you have some wonderful rapport happening before that and you’re really establishing a connection.

Stating this pre-contract is like saying okay fun and games are over – sales call is starting NOW.

I was a regular person like you but now I’m putting on my more serious “sales hat.”

And the prospect immediately puts their “let’s get skeptical” hat on because watch out! From this point out they might be “sold” on something if they’re not vigilant.

Also, in my experience, there’s just really no need for it for a few reasons:

  • #1. Everyone has been on a sales call before. They know you ask questions and then they ask questions. It feels like telling someone “in the morning the sun comes up and at night it goes down and the moon comes up instead.”

If you have people confused about what’s going on and where this is headed, then you are asking WAY too many in-the-weeds questions or just babbling off topic in general.

I could see someone possibly being confused if the questions are all designed around “agitating their pain” (especially when there’s like 20 of them) vs. understanding their actual situation.

But when you keep questions to around 5 – and have them completely designed around uncovering if this person is a FIT – then there’s no impatience or confusion from your prospect.

I mean how else can you find out if you can help someone without asking questions?

It’s common sense.

  • #2. The whole concept of having control of the call and establishing your authority feels like it comes from a place of total insecurity.

And it often feels like that too.

People who have true authority don’t have to flex on people to establish it – you can tell by the way they present themselves, insights they have and the way they navigate a conversation.

It’s like people who are actually really wealthy usually don’t talk about it – they just are.

People who are really smart aren’t constantly talking about how smart they are.

Because they have nothing to prove.

So, what works better in my experience?

Treating it like a normal conversation.

And just asking the first question and letting it flow.

I usually like starting with “what inspired you to take this call?” or a simple “So, what’s going on with [x] that made you reach out?” or whatever. 

If you’re stuck in a rapport hole and need to reign it back in then let them know you’ve got a hard stop and want to respect their time. So, let’s get to it.

Then ask them your first question. 

Yes you need to keep the call on track and there are strategies that are much more effective than a “pre-contract” that I’ll discuss in another post.

But unless you’ve got a real different format for your call (which my 2 call closes do) then I’ve found not only is there no need to kick the call off with a “pre-contract” – it can actually hurt the tone and connection when you do it.

That being said, if it’s working for you – don’t change a thing!

But if it feels all awkward and jilted when you do this or it feels like the tone of the call or prospect changes afterwards – your intuition is spot on – don’t do it.

And treat it like a normal conversation instead. A conversation about  uncovering someone’s problem, what they’ve tried to solve their problem before and based on that information – if it’s something you can solve for them moving forward.

Establishing a flow to your call that feels good to YOU, your audience and results in you winning business is something we focus on in my 6 month Matchmaker Sales Method Mentorship.

I show solopreneurs who sell a product or service that’s $3,000+ how to 2x-5x their sales without “agitating pain”, pitching or pretending to be someone else.

I’ll also help tweak your offer to make it irresistible, help clarify marketing messaging (if necessary) and pre-qualification so you get prospects more likely to say “yes” in the first place. In addition to helping you craft better questions, overcome objections custom-to-you and use language you feel comfortable with.

The end result is a custom sales process (no cookie cutter, one-size fits all here) tailored to your personality, product and audience that immediately and predictably converts more sales than anything else out there so you can easily scale your income.

If this sounds like it could be more effective/comfortable than what you’re doing now, please book a call and we can discuss the details to make sure it’s a fit for you 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *