The salesperson explained that their prospective client had made a number of commitments in the past, and had each time failed to keep their commitment. Their prospective client is smart and successful, and they had reached out to the salesperson to initiate a conversation. Now, as it was time to begin to do the work to put the solution in place, the prospective client kept canceling meetings.
This prospective client, despite all outward appearances, has not really made the one commitment necessary for all opportunities, and without which there is really no deal to be had—even if they seem sincerely interested in your solution. The commitment they are missing is the commitment to change.
You need the commitment for time. You also need a commitment to explore change. At some point, to create an opportunity, the client has to agree to commit to change. You can have a lot of nice meetings without your client ever really making this commitment, a commitment that is often the most difficult for the client to make because it means they have to change.
Your prospective client can be truly interested in what you sell, and still not be psychologically prepared to change. They can have both conscious and unconscious fears and concerns that cause them to make excuses instead of keeping their commitments, excuses that make sense to them, like “I am too busy to do this right now,” or “I can’t do this until I take care of this other priority.” Much of the time, these excuses serve to allow the person making them to kick the can down the road, postponing making a decision one way or the other. When this is true, the prospect almost certainly believes that they really need to change, but haven’t summoned the courage to commit, even when the risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting.
If there is one commitment you need to move forward, it is the commitment to change. While all ten of the commitments are necessary, this is the one that causes deals to die prematurely and unnecessarily.