Consultative selling for B2B Sales

11 Oct 2019

Active vs Passive Commitments

Recently one of our clients said, many of the prospects book appointments but not many show up for consultation. What is exactly happening here?

This is not just for appointments, we see many times, the sales team members commit to their next month targets, but hardly stick to it. Like this many commitments, each of us makes, but we don’t stick to it. What is the reason?

As per Robert Cialdini, the American Professor, and author of the best selling book, Power of Influence, says there are 2 levels of commitment.

Passive commitment & Active Commitment. Passive commitment is something that someone is agreeing to or committing because he doesn’t want to say NO to request by salesperson, manager!

Whereas active commitment is where there is a written level of commitment from the individual for the action he is agreed to take.

The Amway Corporation, one of America’s most profitable direct-selling companies, encourages its sales personnel to soar to greater heights by providing the following advice:

One final tip before you get started: Set a goal and write it down. Whatever the goal, the important thing is that you set it, so you’ve got something for which to aim – and that you write it down. There is something magical about writing things down. So set a goal and write it down. When you reach that goal, set another and write that down. You’ll be off and running.

Put simply, commitments that are made actively have more staying power than those that are made passively.

Why are commitments that are written (and therefore active) so much more successful at eliciting participation?

People make judgments about themselves based on observations of their own behaviors, and they infer more about themselves based on their actions than on their non-actions.

In support of this explanation, Cioffi and Garner found that those who volunteered to any initiative actively in the organizations were more likely to attribute their decisions to their own personality traits, preferences, and ideals than were those who volunteered passively.

How to use in your own sales?

If you’re a sales manager, asking members of your sales team to write down their goals will help strengthen their commitment to those goals and ultimately boost everyone’s bottom line.

Similarly, it is wise to ensure that, during a meeting, participants write down and publicly share the actions that they have agreed to take.

In all of our training, that is why we provide an action plan which participants need to fill before they leave the workshop.

Increasing appointments to show up rates

If confirming the appointment by telephone, the following 2 things can be added and explored.

  • Confirm the appointment time.
  • Before ending the call, ask the client to repeat the appointment time & date
  • Also, ask politely ” Would you be willing to call us if you have to change your plans? and get confirmation.

By asking the client to repeat the appointment schedule as well as asking them confirmation that they will call if they had to cancel, make them commit more actively then just passively committing to an appointment.