Home > Interview > Up Front Contract for Sales Job Interview

Up Front Contract for Sales Job Interview

I have an interview next week for a Territory Sales Manager position. The company I'm interviewing with is big on Sandler techniques and I'd like to get advise and suggestions for putting together an Up Front Contract for this interview. Any suggestions? - by mercV12
I have an interview next week for a Territory Sales Manager position. The company I'm interviewing with is big on Sandler techniques and I'd like to get advise and suggestions for putting together an Up Front Contract for this interview. Any suggestions?
That's a valuable inquiry for our SalesPractice discussions, and it's nice to see a question with some immediate practical application.

Not all of of our members are familiar with the concept of Up Front Contract. I'll provide some information from a post I wrote here a while back, and, a good synopsis I found on the Internet.

This is what I wrote on Up Front Contracts:
Simply put, it is an agreement with the prospect on what is to take place during the sales process, and what is to take place as a result of it. The agreement is somewhat unilateral because, in reality, prospects don't always honor their agreements.

Under the Sandler System, the "Up Front Contract" is closely associated with, and is a follow-up to what Sandler called the Pain Funnel. In my view, and in the system I sell with, an Up Front Contract is not predicated on a Pain Funnel. I probe risk, or to put it more succinctly, loss.
This from a Sandler Training associate:
Each Up-Front Contract should include five elements:
  • The purpose of the meeting, contact or future action.
  • The prospect/clientís agenda for the meeting and his or her expectations of the sales professional before and during the meeting.
  • The sales professionalís agenda for the meeting, and his or her expectations of the prospect before and during the meeting.
  • The date, location and duration of the meeting.
  • The expected outcome of the meeting or interaction.
I personally filter all sales advice and training through the lens of Twice as Good as 2ND Best, a Course Designed for Professionals Who Sell. That lens I call Four Things, or more recently, Four Understandings, One of those understandings says that Intrinsic Questions are the building blocks of sales.

I encourage you to keep things simple and devise a simple direct-to-the-point question or series of questions for your interview that contains the spirit of what Sandler taught. But beware appearing transparent in doing so.

If I was in your shoes, I would deliver the following question which has the earmark of an Up Front Contract:
"If I was to strike an harmonic chord with your company in this interview, what could I expect to be the next step to fulfill my goal of being hired?"
Key word: "expect" - by Gary A Boye
Thanks Gary, I value your advice. It's thoughtful, tested and true. I put together an Sandler Up Front Contract for this situation and welcome all comments and insight regarding it's level success:

1.) Thank you for meeting with me today.

2.) How much time have you set aside for this meeting? Your time and mine are valuable, and I want to make sure we make the best use of it.

3.) Joe, I donít know if this has ever happened to you, but there have been times when right in the middle of an important issue a phone will ring or people start walking in and out of the office. this can be very distracting. Can we make sure this will not happen during our visit?

4.) Joe, letís set some ground rules for our meeting. Iíd like to be able to ask you questions about your business, and I want you to be able to ask me questions about my service. (skills set/ expertise) Is that fair?

5.) As we ask and answer each otherís questions, we may decide there isnít a fit between what you need and my service. We may realize it doesnít make sense to spend any more time together. If we reach that point, are you comfortable with telling me that?

6.) On the other hand, if you see that my service makes sense to you, we can decide to move forward. OK?

7.) And when we finish today weíll agree to a plan as to how you and I will proceed. Does that make sense?
- by mercV12
Thanks Gary, I value your advice. It's thoughtful, tested and true. I put together an Sandler Up Front Contract for this situation and welcome all comments and insight regarding it's level success:

1.) Thank you for meeting with me today.

2.) How much time have you set aside for this meeting? Your time and mine are valuable, and I want to make sure we make the best use of it.

3.) Joe, I don’t know if this has ever happened to you, but there have been times when right in the middle of an important issue a phone will ring or people start walking in and out of the office. this can be very distracting. Can we make sure this will not happen during our visit?

4.) Joe, let’s set some ground rules for our meeting. I’d like to be able to ask you questions about your business, and I want you to be able to ask me questions about my service. (skills set/ expertise) Is that fair?

5.) As we ask and answer each other’s questions, we may decide there isn’t a fit between what you need and my service. We may realize it doesn’t make sense to spend any more time together. If we reach that point, are you comfortable with telling me that?

6.) On the other hand, if you see that my service makes sense to you, we can decide to move forward. OK?

7.) And when we finish today we’ll agree to a plan as to how you and I will proceed. Does that make sense?
I would NOT recommend the use of that verbal script/contract in an employment interview.

One thing that you have to remember is that almost all hiring interviews are conducted in elimination mode. In other words, the process involves looking for reasons NOT to hire you rather than reasons for hiring you.

The boldness, license, and presumptuousness by the interviewee in this example would be extremely risky and not be offset by the rather narrow field of interviewers who would be impressed -- and I believe that would include interviewers who have a fetish for Sandler training.

Strategic selling dictates that you always leave yourself invulnerable.

This reminds me of a prolific sales writer who gave an example of when she opened her call with "My name is ________, and this is a sales call." The scenario she presented was one where the prospect apparently was intrigued--i.e., how clever, honest, whatever. Count me among those who I believe would be a majority of would-be buyers when I say it was bad selling.

My point is that you always have to seriously evaluate a technique--even a good one--as to whether it would be effective or destructive in a SPECIFIC situation. That's why I advised simplicity. - by Gary A Boye
Simplicity is the way to go. I agree. - by mercV12
Weekly Updates!
Questions and Answers about Selling
Subscribe to our mailing list to get threads and posts sent to your email address weekly - Free of Charge.