A guest post by Jack Kasel, Sales Development Expert, Anthony Cole Training Group
“What we have here . . . . is a failure to communicate.”
You may recognize that line from one of my all-time favorite movies, Cool Hand Luke. If you get nothing else out of this Sales Brew, do yourself a favor and go rent that movie. You will be glad you did.
Struther Martin’s character in the movie, Cool Hand Luke, makes that statement when the prisoner’s don’t do what is expected of them. This same execution problem can occur during the sales process and it can cause problem with moving the sale to a timely close. It usually manifests itself when something like this occurs . . . . . I think I know what you are going to do and you think you know what I’m going to do, but neither one of us really knows for sure what the other one wants or needs. Thus, the need for the AWATL.
The AWATL stands for “As We Agreed To Letter”. It is a brief correspondence that the salesperson should send out to clearly indicate what the expectation is (for both parties) on what is needed and expected. It can be used early in the process or during the middle and is also extremely effective just before you present your solutions to the prospect.
The AWATL process is pretty simple, but it can be very effective. It is a bullet-point letter or email which spells out the go-forward expectations for both the salesperson and prospect. It also contains date-specific deadlines to make sure the process doesn’t get stalled or delayed. Everything works better with deadlines and that is especially true when closing sales. As mentioned previously, it can be VERY effective just before your closing presentation.
The important elements of the AWATL includes:
- The problems you have uncovered that your prospect NEEDS to fix
- The budget you need to stay within
- All the decision makers who will be present
- Finally, and most important, the agreed-to and anticipated date when a decision will be made.
As sales professionals, we should try to control as many aspects of the sales process as possible. We believe the AWATL can help you help you accomplish that goal… or at least help eliminate any misunderstandings that may hinder you from closing more business.
In closing, please remember this, someone needs what you do . . . . make sure you don’t “fail to communicate” with them.