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Control Your Fears with Up-Front Contracts


What scares you about the selling process? Which part of the selling process causes you the most stress? Whatever it is (and maybe it’s nothing at all), deal with it by using Sandler’s Up-Front Contract.

Let’s assume you stumble over asking for money in the selling process. Here’s how you can solve the problem:

"Chuck, before I begin talking to you about my product (or service), let me tell you about my biggest concern. I’m afraid that when I get to the end of the presentation, you’re going to like what you see and hear, but I’m going to have difficulty asking you for money. That’s always been something that gets in my way. I have trouble asking for money. So to get that out of the way, and ease my mind so I can give you my best presentation, are you OK dealing with money up-front?"

Using this approach, you can substitute any problem or word for "money" and get your prospect to agree to discuss it first.

The up-front contract is an amazing sales tool, wouldn’t you agree?

An up-front contract consists of four major components and several minor components.

Lawful Object

You can’t have an up-front contract if you don’t have a lawful object; that is, a product or service to sell. And it’s got to be legal.


An up-front contract requires the competency of the salesperson and the prospect. You must have the authority to make an offer, as well as close the sale; and, the prospect must have the authority to accept it. You can give the greatest presentation in the world, but if you can’t deliver, or if the prospect can’t accept your offer, what’s the use? No contract can follow.


An up-front contract requires some form of consideration. For all practical purposes, let’s assume it’s money.

Mutual Consent

Finally, a valid up-front contract includes mutual consent, which means that you offer to do something, i.e., make a presentation, come back for a follow-up visit, solve a problem, etc., and the prospect accepts your offer. Don’t confuse this element with your offer to sell your product or service and the prospect’s agreement to buy it. That could be the offer, but it’s not likely to be this early in the game.

Keep in mind, though, that if you master up-front contracting, you’ll seldom have to offer your product or service for sale. After fulfilling a series of up-front contracts, your prospects will close themselves!

Excerpted from the book, You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride a Bike at a Seminar, © 1995 by David H. Sandler. All rights reserved.

Andrew Wall

Owner & President Sandler - Milton, ON