What is an Upfront Contract? Definition & Tips for Successful Conversions

An ideal gross sales name is determined by what we at Sandler Coaching name an up-front contract.

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Should you’re not accustomed to the time period, an up-front contract is a verbal settlement reached between two or extra folks prematurely that outlines what’s anticipated of each events. Within the inbound promoting world, this contract unfolds in seconds.

We’ll get you up to the mark on upfront contract greatest practices, their significance, and when to make use of them.

Skip to:

  • Upfront Contract Definition
  • Significance of Upfront Contracts
  • Upfront Contract Methods
  • Examples

An upfront contract doesn’t imply that your prospect is signing a deal after an preliminary meet. Consider upfront contracts as a mutual settlement. It’s extra of a mutual settlement the place each events perceive what’s anticipated of them and any subsequent steps.

Significance of Upfront Contracts

Upfront contracts set the expectations for what’s to come back forward of time and guarantee everyone seems to be on the identical web page. You’ll be able to ask the prospect inquiries to make setting the contract up stream naturally. For instance, you possibly can ask them in the event that they’d such as you to comply with up and what day or time works greatest.

That means, on the finish of the assembly or name, you possibly can say “Thanks for assembly with me. Simply to substantiate, I’ll comply with up with you Tuesday at 3 p.m. to debate the proposal and deal with any roadblocks.”

They’re additionally useful so that you can get a greater understanding of what a prospect’s wants are previous to sending a proposal. Taking this step will stop launching right into a proposal early that doesn’t align with the prospect’s wants.

When to Use Them

When do you have to use an upfront contract? Each assembly or name. As Sandler Coaching Guide Joe Ippolito acknowledged on the Succeed Podcast, it helps to think about an upfront contract because the e-book ends of a gathering — just like the bread on a sandwich — it holds the necessary stuff collectively.

Make certain on the finish of each name you could have some type of upfront contract for what occurs subsequent. This could possibly be a mutual settlement to arrange one other assembly, ship over a contract or nail down particulars for a follow-up.

Your preliminary interplay with the prospect has to entice them sufficient that they wish to be on that decision or assembly with you. This isn’t one thing you possibly can pressure. It needs to be tailored to the scenario. Subsequent, we’ll have a look at some strategies you need to use when setting an upfront contract.

Upfront Contract Methods

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all strategy for this. You’ll should be nimble and adapt your upfront contract to every scenario you encounter. Under are a number of strategies you employ when chatting with a prospect to get your upfront contract going.

1. Begin with what Ippolito calls a ‘mini’ upfront contract.

For this, gauge the prospect’s expectations in the beginning of your interplay relatively than the top.


“Hello [prospect name]. I do know we have now a 30-minute assembly scheduled, however earlier than we get began, what you wish to get out of the following half hour?

Get the prospect’s agenda as a substitute of simply laying out yours. This can allow you to later when you possibly can embrace the prospect’s factors in an upfront contract for subsequent steps. It’ll additionally allow you to align your agenda with their objectives, saving you each time.

2. Contain different stakeholders.

To be able to get a deal executed, greater than possible your prospect goes to want to contain different stakeholders within the course of. You need to use this as a chance and foundation for an upfront contract.


“Thanks for evaluating the proposal. I do know there are extra stakeholders you have to discuss to — how about we schedule a fast 5-minute check-in name to verify every part’s on observe? If we’re not, you possibly can let me know the explanation why. In case you are on board we are able to speak about subsequent steps.”

This units expectations for future interactions and also will allow you to deal with any issues which will come up.

3. Use unfavourable reverse promoting to deal with potential issues.

Should you’re anticipating an impediment, like pricing for instance, you possibly can create an upfront contract that addresses it.


“Hey [prospect name]. Earlier than I get began, right here’s my largest concern: We’ve got aggressive pricing, however we’re not the most cost effective. How are you going to react on the finish of this assembly (assuming all goes nicely) if we are able to’t are available in on the lowest worth?”

This opens the ground up for the prospect to speak their issues or supply reassurances and are available to a mutual settlement about what’s going to occur subsequent within the course of.

Upfront Contract Finest Practices

To know why the upfront contract is so important, bear in mind just one individual can lead the dialogue: The client or the vendor. Clearly, you wish to be the one main the dance. The up-front contract is what lets you try this.

To make use of the method efficiently, comply with these three easy steps.

1. Present Appreciation and Set a Time Restrict

Thank the inbound caller for his time and say how lengthy you anticipate this name to take. Consumers will turn into irritated in the event that they anticipate a five-minute dialogue, solely to appreciate it’s going to take far longer.

Have you ever ever gotten a kind of emails asking you to do a survey that can “solely take a couple of minutes of your time,” after which deserted it round query #48? That’s not the way you need the prospect to really feel.

If that is an outreach name, inform the individual how a lot time is required earlier than the primary choice. If that is an inbound name, say how a lot time you will have to inform them in regards to the supply.

Discover that you simply make clear how lengthy the decision will take earlier than you progress on to the following steps under. The objective right here is easy: Make the caller really feel comfy.

You would possibly say, “Thanks for getting on the decision right now, [prospect’s name]. This could take round 20 minutes.”

2. Present an Agenda

Clarify in a sentence or two what the decision will go over and what your roles might be. An instance may be, “We’re going to debate your present strategies for detecting spyware and adware.”

3. Describe the Potential Outcomes

The up-front contract provides your prospect the possibility to proceed the gross sales dialog or stroll away. Be sure you inform the client if she doesn’t like what she hears, it’s completely okay to let you know “no.” You’ll settle for the reply and go away.

Giving your prospect the choice of hanging up could also be crucial a part of the up-front contract. Should you don’t explicitly settle for this chance, in clear, easy-to-understand phrases, this technique won’t work — as a result of the caller gained’t really feel answerable for the decision.

By giving the client “management” over whether or not or to not cling up — which they really already possessed — you acquire their confidence, belief, and respect. You’ll additionally get the chance to outline the foundations that can drive the decision going ahead.

As an example, you would say, “By the top of the assembly, when you don’t really feel like our providers may remedy your community downtime points, I’ll cling up and gained’t hassle you. However when you really feel like they may probably assist, are you open to scheduling one other name?”

Up-Entrance Contract Instance

As soon as you set all of it collectively, right here’s what an up-front contract seems like.

  1. (Appreciation and Time) [Prospect name], thanks for agreeing to satisfy right now. Can I take three minutes …
  2. (Agenda) … to offer you some suggestions on [improving X] at [prospect’s company]? After which, if in case you have no additional curiosity …
  3. (Outcomes) … you possibly can cling up, however when you do have curiosity, let’s have one other assembly.

Discover how concise that is. You should not have time for lengthy monologues in the beginning of a gross sales name. Wait to listen to what the inbound caller says. When you get settlement — which you’ll, 95% of the time or extra — you can begin the dialog in earnest.

Upfront Contracts Set Everybody Up for Success

An upfront contract lets you win half the battle throughout the first few seconds of the dialog. From there you need to use every settlement to construct upon the following — setting a path of clear expectations from begin to end.

Editor’s word: This text was initially revealed in June 2018 and has been up to date for comprehensiveness.

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