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Begin with the end in mind


Have you ever done anything just for the heck of it? Sure, for hobbies or other leisurely pursuits, this is probably a great plan. But just going through the motions when it comes to sales, leadership, and business development is a recipe for disaster!

Often, we do things because it's what we've always done, but we don't take the time to evaluate why—or if—it will help us reach our ultimate goal.

Recently, a colleague in sales shared with me something he does with each prospect. It's a simple part of his Up-Front Contract, but it signals something to the prospect that helps keep everyone on the same page.

The power of the Up-Front Contract

He'll start the conversation with an Up-Front Contract. In addition to some other guideposts like agreeing on time and agenda, as well as what the next steps will be, he asks for some clarity on the whole experience. It sounds something like, "I am happy to go on this journey with you, but I have one request. Whether you choose us or someone else, please be honest enough to share why you chose who you chose."

This simple request changed everything about the prospect's experience and helped the salesperson achieve their goals in several ways.

Accountability and transparency

First, it makes the prospect accountable for their decision. By requiring them to share the reasons behind their choice, it reframes the entire sales process for the prospect. It also changes how they think about the other people trying to sell them something.


Second, it demonstrates the salesperson's commitment to their own sales process. It shows they are serious about understanding the prospect's needs and preferences, regardless of the outcome. And, by taking the pressure of the whole situation, it makes the entire process easier for everyone.

Learning and improvement

Third, it provides valuable insights for both parties involved. The salesperson clarifies what went well in the sales process and what areas could be improved. This self-reflection can lead to more informed decisions in the future. Likewise, the prospect takes the time to elevate what they value in their purchasing relationship and can look for those traits in the future.

A blueprint for success

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, it forces both parties to think about the end goal right from the beginning. They start with the end in mind, which means they have a clear vision of what success looks like. This shared vision accelerates the journey toward that goal, ensuring that both parties are aligned and working together effectively.

The result

So, what is the result of this simple yet profound practice? It's not just about closing a deal; it's about opening doors to deeper, more meaningful relationships.

By beginning with the end in mind and asking questions to make sure our end looks the same as our prospects, we set ourselves up for a successful interaction, even if we don't end up working together.

Mike Crandall

Mike Crandall

Crandall is the Principal of Sandler in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. He works with business owners and motivated individuals to create and implement Professional Development Strategies to foster the growth of individuals, teams, and organizations.