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Small Compass Sound Sales: Understanding and Using Sales Tactics

By Mark McGlinchey - Written by Compass Group Solutions Founder Mark McGlinchey, this article first appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal

A tactic can be defined as a skillful maneuver to achieve one’s objectives. So, obviously, sales tactics are skillful maneuvers you use to help make your selling strategy successful. A strategy is a plan, but every good plan must have tactics in order to be effective.

Understanding and using sales tactics is a powerful tool, and the two that I going to introduce to you can be used anywhere and everywhere in your selling cycle. Just understanding these tactics is not enough. You must practice using them. Before you use them in a game (sales call), keep them on the practice field until they become second nature.

Sales Tactic # 1: Mutual Agreement

A mutual agreement is when you get your prospect to agree to something at some future point in time. I’m going to say it again… when you get your prospect to agree to something at some future point in time. That ‘something’ could be anything – a very large issue or a very small issue. The future point in time could be ten minutes from now or six weeks from now.

The following is an example of a mutual agreement: Let’s assume on a sales call, towards the beginning of the meeting, you say to your prospect, “Jonathan, would this be fair? At the end of this meeting, we could discover that my products and services may not make sense for you at this point in time. Therefore, it’s safe to assume there’s no reason for us to have another meeting. On the other hand, if we discover that it may be valuable for us to meet again, could we schedule the next meeting before I leave?”

You have just set a mutual agreement with your prospect. The something (issue) is a second meeting, and the future point in time is at the end of your current meeting.

Question: What did this mutual agreement achieve for you?

Answer: First of all, it provided a crystal clear understanding of what happens next. The opposite of crystal clear is mutual mystification – where neither party fully understands what happens next. It also became a time saving tool for you, this will keep the selling cycle moving forward. You’re not going to be playing phone tag with Jonathan in order to schedule a second meeting, nor will you be left wondering if a second meeting will occur. At the end of the first meeting, you have to enforce the mutual agreement by asking if there is a reason to get back together. If the answer is yes. You set the next meeting.

Another benefit of using mutual agreements is that you are getting your prospect in the habit of working with you and agreeing with you. Throughout your selling cycle, your prospect will become comfortable with your style of mutual agreements which create a crystal clear understanding. Mutual agreements also defuse future stalls and objections.

How to set and use mutual agreements

When setting a mutual agreement, the proper verbiage to use is: would this be fair, would this be reasonable, would this make sense, or would this be agreeable. Then you propose the mutual agreement which again is getting them to agree to something at some future point in time.

When the time comes to fulfill the mutual agreement, you must remind your prospect of it and enforce the agreement. You need to let them know that there was an agreement in place and they should honor the agreement.

Sales Tactic # 2: Future to present

This tactic is when you take your prospect into the future (so they have a vision of the future), then bring them back to the present. For example:

Salesperson: “Joe, let’s pretend for just a moment that this current situation or problem is still with you six months or a year from now. Can you explain to me what the effect will be on your business?”

Prospects, like all people, exercise denial. If you take them into the future, and let them discover on their own the consequences of not fixing a problem, you are helping them confront their denial, form a greater sense of urgency, and you will advance or speed up the selling cycle.

The phraseology or verbiage you use when doing future to present is: let’s pretend, let’s imagine, can you paint a picture for me or if you had a crystal ball. Then, take them into the future so they can understand the consequences and bring them back to the present to deal with them.


Keywords: Sales Tactics, Sales Tips, Sales Professional Development, Sales Leadership Development, Sales Management Tips, Sound Sales, Sales Consulting, Compass Group Solutions, Mark McGlinchey

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