In Sandler, we have the concept of an Up-Front Contract. That's not a signed document. Rather, it's a clear agreement regarding how the meeting will go. It's really about expectations.
Is it easy to have mismatched expectations? Of course! In Sandler, we call that Mutual Mystification. A mutually agreed upon Up-Front Contract is designed to avoid that.
Let's say a roofer is working with a customer. That customer may have an expectation that everything will get done in less than a week, so the roof will be finished, and their house can be sold. That's an expectation.
The roofer first needs to make sure the customer is comfortable through some good bonding and rapport. But once that's done, the roofer needs to be sure to set a good Up-Front Contract.
There are five areas that an Up-Front Contract should cover:
1 - Logistics
This includes things like time, length of meeting, and the location. Be specific! One client of mine scheduled a meeting with a customer in the "conference room." When the time for the meeting rolled around, my client and his team were waiting in their conference room, while his customer and their team were waiting in their own conference room!
2 - Purpose
Why are you talking? It doesn't matter if you or the client scheduled the appointment, you both need to know why you're meeting.
3 - Their Expectations
What does your client or prospect expect to get out of the interaction? This is key to making sure they come out of the meeting with their needs met.
4 - Your Expectations
Of course, you want your needs to be met as well! So you need to be sure that you share your expectations.
5 - Outcome and Next Steps
What do you expect to have accomplished by the end of the interaction? What will the next steps be?
Without an Up-Front Contract, it's easy to have Mutual Mystification. With one, you can set the tone for the meeting and make sure there are no uncertainties.