January 24, 2013

Trying to Make a Sale? Agree and Add

Last week I was lucky enough to be asked to put together some scripts for one of my clients’ sales teams. Among the questions I was asked was, “How can I get someone who has no interest in buying something from me to listen to what I have to say?”

It struck me this might have come up for others.

With this in mind, I thought I’d run a quick refresher on the game of “Agree and Add.”

Those of you who underwent a mandatory theater course might remember ‘Agree and Add’ from improv class. The idea is that no matter what the other person says, you have to begin the next sentence with “Yes, and…”

There are no “But’s” There is no “Well, maybe…” There are certainly no “No’s.”

In selling this might look something like:

Your client says to you, “I am all set with my current supplier and I am not going to change.”

Given the rules of “Agree and Add” you must now validate their decision, so you would respond with,

“I absolutely understand that you’re happy with your current supplier.”

Here’s why. If you start in with the ‘but’s and the ‘Well, maybe’s…” he or she is going to think you aren’t listening. So, begin by agreeing.

Then, add to that,

“If you were going to add to you your existing stock, however, I was thinking you might be interested in X because you’ve said your customer is very Y.”

Notice, please that you have carefully used the word “add” here—not “change.”  You’re still utterly agreeable!

Finally, you invoke the all-powerful “because” (which you may remember increases the possibility of cooperation from 60 to 94%) to point out why adding stock in this way directly and uniquely benefits your client.

I’m guessing after that they will agree—and add to your order.

Happy selling!

Frances Cole Jones

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