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(ABC) Always Be Closing?

One of my first jobs after graduating from college was with this horrible company that sold refurbished telecommunications equipment over the phone. It was horrible. The “sales manager” of this company must have watched Glengarry Glen Ross just one too many times. It was an ABC (always be closing) mentality. I must have really needed the money.

But even back in the mid 1990s, this seemed like an archaic way of doing business. I didn’t last very long and soon was introduced to the right way of selling by one of my heroes and mentors, Keith Lamb. Keith is the one who first taught me the art and science of executive recruiting. He’s the one who taught me how to ask good questions, and then how to shut up and actively listen.


In a recent blog post Ari Galper, founder of a sales training organization called Unlock the Game said, “Outdated sales skills fail to address the core issue of how we think about selling and unless we get to that core and change it once and for all, we’ll go on struggling with the same counterproductive sales behaviors.”

The following is a list of Galper's seven new sales behaviors that should cause you, if you’re a graduate of the Glengarry Glen Ross School of Sales, to rethink how you approach sales.

1. Stop the sales pitch. Start a conversation. When you call someone, never start out with a mini-presentation about yourself, your company, and what you have to offer. Instead, start with a conversational phrase that focuses on a specific problem that your product or service solves.

Notice that you are not pitching your solution with this opening phrase. Instead, you're addressing a problem based on your experience in your field you believe they might be having

2. Your goal is always to discover whether you and your prospect are a good fit. If you let go of trying to close the sale or get the appointment, you’ll discover that you don't have to take responsibility for moving the sales process forward.

3. When you lose a sale, it's usually at the beginning of the sales process. If you think you’re losing sales due to mistakes you make at the end of the process, review how you began the relationship. Did you start with a pitch? Traditional sales language leads prospects to label you with the negative stereotype of “salesperson.” This makes it almost impossible for them to relate to you with trust or to have an honest, open conversation about problems they're trying to solve and how you might be able to help them.

4. Hidden sales pressure causes rejection. Eliminate sales pressure, and you’ll never experience rejection. You can eliminate rejection forever simply by giving up the hidden agenda of hoping to make a sale. Instead, be sure that everything you say and do stems from the basic mindset that you’re there to help prospects identify and solve their issues.

5. Never chase prospects. Instead, get to the truth of whether there’s a fit or not.

6. When prospects offer objections, validate them and reopen the conversation. Most traditional sales programs spend a lot of time focusing on “overcoming” objections, but these tactics only create more sales pressure. They also keep you from exploring or learning the truth behind what your prospects are saying.

7. Never defend yourself or what you have to offer. This only creates more sales pressure.

 In fact, come right out and tell them that you aren’t going to try to convince them of anything because that only creates sales pressure. Instead, ask them again about key problems they’re trying to solve.

Then explore how your product or service might solve those problems. Give up trying to persuade. Let prospects feel they can choose you without feeling sold.

The sooner you can let go of the traditional sales beliefs that we’ve all been exposed to, the more quickly you’ll feel good about selling again, and start seeing better results.

These days people hate being sold. So stop selling. Talk to your prospects. Ask intelligent non leading questions. Help them find a solution. And have enough courage to refer them elsewhere if you don’t have or sell that solution.


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These are all good points. #3 is a big one. I find that many sales people do an information dump onto prospects hoping that something catches their attention. Of cource, with this approach, you only have their attention until they decide you can't help them.

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