A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing! Always be closing!!
…that is what Blake (Alec Baldwin) is pushing down the throats of the real estate salesmen in the film Glengarry Glen Ross
I was fortunate never to have a sales leader or trainer like that one, but boy would that have been fun!
Anyway, I doubt that this version of ABC works for b2b sales professionals. Even if it does; it might do for low-value transactional b2b sales.
When it comes to large $ value solutions, that will have a significant impact on the prospects organisation, and where a group of stakeholders will be involved in the decision making process– then the ‘always be closing’ mantra needs to be slightly tweaked.
The school of sales that I went to taught a different mindset, and it was ‘always be qualifying’ and moving the sales process forward with ‘mini-closes’.
- A mini close at the end of the cold call… with the prospect agreeing that the first meeting will not be a demo, it will be a conversation about what the prospect is trying to achieve in their business, and what if anything, the salesperson can do to help.
- A mini-close at the end of the needs analysis conversation… with the prospect acknowledging that there is a problem that needs to be solved and what the economic impact of not addressing the situation continues to be.
- Another mini-close would be… the main contact agreeing to provide access to and facilitate a conversation with the other stakeholders who will be involved in the decision making process.
- Then, during the conversations with the different stakeholders, a close would be… getting an agreement that if you can demonstrate that your solution can address all of their requirements, then they would be happy to recommend and advocate for your solution, or what if anything will need to change for your solution to be selected.
- The close at the end of the final presentation would be… the key decision makers agreeing that they wish to invest in your solution – or even that… ‘this is not for us’; both outcomes are okay. Getting a strong indication of which way the prospect is leaning, allows the salesperson to address any red flags while in front of the prospect and reduces the painful follow-up exercise that is so often the case after the final presentation.
- Even after the prospect has agreed to proceed, they also need to be closed on the time it will take for the paperwork to be processed.
Of course, these are just a few of the many ‘closes’ that need to happen throughout the sales process, but hopefully you get the idea.
Now… here is an additional take on this:
In my experience, getting the prospect to agree to these ‘mini-closes’ becomes far EASIER if the sales messages and the conversations throughout the sales process are COMPELLING in the first place.
Every time, a prospect raises some form of a ‘No’; No to a meeting, No to a further conversation, No at a presentation, No to a deal, I for one have always considered my messages and conversations to have missed something, in other words the proposition wasn’t COMPELLING enough for the prospect to take action. I am so passionate about this that I created a sales training course on Compelling Sales Conversations.
So, for me, the ABC has always stood for ‘Always Be Compelling’.
Always be Compelling, and every ‘close’ will become easier