In business, especially in sales; delays, misunderstandings, and communication can go awry. Sometimes, even with the influx of technology and communication tools, it is easy to misinterpret what a prospect, or salesperson, says.
So, how do we make these communication lines more efficient?
“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 blog, do yourself a favor and go rent that movie. You will be glad you did.
Strother Martin’s character in the movie Cool Hand Luke makes that statement when the prisoners don’t do what is expected of them. This same problem can occur during the sales process and it can cause problems 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 knows for sure what the other one wants or needs."
Thus, the need for the AWATE.
The AWATE stands for the As We Agreed To Email. It’s a brief correspondence that the salesperson can send out to clearly indicate what the expectations are (for both parties) in terms of what is needed and expected. It can be used early in the process, throughout the middle, and is extremely effective just before you present your solutions to the prospect.
The AWATE process is pretty simple but can be very effective. It’s 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, it can be very effective just before your closing presentation. The important elements of the AWATE include:
- The problems that you have uncovered (the ones your prospect needs to be fixed)
- The budget you need to stay within
- All the decision-makers will be present
- Finally, and most importantly, the agreed to and anticipated date when a decision will be made
As sales professionals, you should try to control as many aspects of the sales process as possible.
We believe the AWATE can help you accomplish that goal, or at least help eliminate any misunderstandings that may hinder you from closing more business.