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  • Writer's pictureBrian Burns


The upfront contract, now, this was spurred by a blog post by Somebody was asking, will you talk about the upfront contract is not a good idea. Now parts of it, I'd instead look at it as an upfront agreement, meaning that when you start a presentation or a follow-up demo, you probably want to start off with bringing everybody up to speed on what's happened so far. Hey, we were talking a week ago. We scheduled this to achieve this, and we have 60 minutes. Is that still true? This is good to set the context. Now people tend to take the upfront contract way too far. They go around the room. Now the problem with going around the office is if you have four or five people and one of them's a talker, there goes a quarter of the meeting, 15 minutes, 15 valuable minutes, and you can do all the background.

You can ask them who's going to be in the meeting. You can research who they are. You can send a high note. You can connect with them on LinkedIn. You can send a little note that says, Hey, we got this demo, I'm not sure you're going to be part of it, but if you have any questions between now and then, happy to answer them for you and start dividing and concurring what people do too often is they stick with one person at the company, mistake number one and the complex sale and they don't build a relationship with all these other stakeholders. So the, I'd say set the context. Now, many people say, well, define the outcome. Now I think this is a little dangerous and going a little too far. Um, unless it's like negotiation of final negotiation. You can say, look, why don't we see if we can come to terms and if we can't, we shake hands and go our own way, that's fine.

However, the inverse of that is saying, okay, if this demo goes well, at the end of the demo, we'll either commit to buying or go our own way. Now, wait a second. People will be like, oh, well we're not that far along yet. So what you want is the outcome to happen naturally. Now, think of it in the real world. If you were to go out on a date with somebody and you said, if this dinner goes well and we both have a good time next weekend, I'd like you to meet my parents. The other person's going to freak out. They're going to be like, and this is just a date. I'm not going to commit to anything. It should happen naturally and organically. Nobody wants an ultimatum. Nobody wants to be forced in locked into deciding before you've done anything for them. Imagine if a waiter came up to you and says, now tonight I'm going to give you excellent service, and for any reason, I'm not letting me know, and if I do give you excellent service, I'm expecting a 25 per cent gratuity.

You'd be like, ah, no. You earned that. You don't have. Please do not ask for it upfront. It should be something that is earned. Also, yes, the other person should also understand that that's the game. That's the situation. So people know that. People know if you're going to see an open house, uh, you know, you can just go in and check out the house and leave, but if you call up a realtor and you say, can you show us a bunch of houses, you're implying that you're in the market and that realtor's going to say, sure, what, what's, what's prompting you to move? They're going to qualify you because they're commission only and they're going to spend a couple of hours with you. So they're going to want to know how dangerous you are, how qualified you are, and how much time they should spend with you and what houses to show you.

So it's our job to do this upfront. If you have this upfront contract that who wants to have an agreement in a demo or presentation, it's a little too much. Should you have context? Yes. Now, this is like a 90 per cent contextual judgment call as a salesperson, and you've also got to understand how much time do you want to allocate to setting expectations at a meeting. I, I'd say no more than five minutes on an hour meeting, you know, uh, I talked to many people. They like to go around the room. Um, it's just, I've always found it too. Time-consuming. Uh, I would, when I did have in-person a presentation, I would have a sign in sheet and that was really powerful because people could do it and it was so only one person in my entire career refuse to do it and I've even done it at an intelligence agencies, and people would actually put down their full name, their phone number and their email address because certainly in some cases you're not going to know who's in the meeting until you go there and no matter.

So some people will show up, some people won't, some people pop in, they won't. So we have to allocate the time appropriately, earn the outcome, not contract for the result, because the people are just going to lie to you anyway, so why put everybody in that situation and why a flip their brain saying, oh, I didn't know this, this meeting was so severe, and then they're going to just come up with a reason not to do it. You should know what the next steps are. Lead them to the following steps, close for the next steps, and not assume that they are going to know what they are committed to them. Now I put a video out about this one, and of course, a procurement person says, well, this is what all the reps try with me. I know what to do next, and it's like, yeah, right.

Sure you do, because we also got to understand that many prospects will act as we work for them. Now we don't. This is a mutually agreeable arrangement that we are earning and that they need to reciprocate. If you get into the service role, this a submissive role in this business relationship, they're going to lie to you. They're going to use you and then when they don't buy; they're going to throw you away. They're not going to care about you, and you will have put in all that work. Now, think about the real analogy. Now I remember being on set watching this reality show where this guy was asked, you know, what's your price range? So they said anything from 80 K to 8 million, well, that's pretty much 98 percent of the houses in that town. So the realtors like, well, that doesn't tell me anything and it all, all that it tells you is they don't know what they want, and you're wasting your time with them.

So you could sit around, okay, let's look at an $8,000,000 mansion and a studio condo. Now those are two very different things, and that is a tremendous waste of time. In that case, you're an Uber driver who has keys to a bunch of houses, and you don't want to be that. You don't want to get into that submissive servant role. This isn't an equitable thing and I'm going to do an episode on this because too many reps get into that and they think you're going to get reciprocation for that service. Exchange comes in each step and if you're not getting it back, that is a signal that they are not serious about buying, about working with you, and they just see you as a tool to get an entertainment, resources, whatever it is that that's turning them on, or they just don't have the guts of the backbone to tell you, hey, uh, we're really not in market.

We don't have the problem that you solve. It's not severe enough wherein no pain. So careful with the upfront contract. Careful how far you go with it. Uh, keep it to something you should set the context because especially if you're going to have more than the last person you talked to, even I've always started the second call with the context of the first call. Hey, we've discussed back then, uh, we're having this call today because we found this, this and this. Um, has anything changed that way you can bring people up to speed? So start the conversation there. That's kind of how people think, especially if you get new, they want to understand, well, what's this all about? I heard something about this. It'll give them the chance to chime in, and maybe they do have a specific thing that they want to see, and you make sure you include that. So yes, you have to have context setting, but I would not ask for the outcome. You earn the result.

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