CEO at Business Success Factors, advising companies in boosting their sales revenue and having top-performing sales teams.
“Always Be Closing” (also known as ABC) is a common phrase used in the sales industry that has circulated since before I can remember. It suggests that a seller should focus on making sure each prospect that they speak with buys their product or services from them, no matter what. In other words, everything they say, do and suggest to the customer should be in the name of getting them to buy what they are selling; and unfortunately, sometimes without taking into consideration if the buyer truly needs what they have to offer.
The ABC approach might seem sensible to a business owner — after all, it means that a business can close more sales, more quickly. However, in my experience, it’s likely that this won’t be a long-lasting effect. When using the ABC approach, the seller isn’t usually focused on what the potential buyer wants and needs, and they’re not even fully focused on what their business needs. Instead, most of the time, the focus lies on the seller’s persona and how well they can persuade the prospect. It’s all about the seller and their ego that wants to say, “I can sell to anyone, anywhere, anytime.” Throughout my experiences, I’ve found a better approach that brings more sales and is a win-win for the seller and the buyer.
Instead of “Always Be Closing,” try “Always Be Building A Relationship.”
Ken Dooley of Customer Experience Insight described seven qualities successful closers have in common that other professionals can benefit from developing. According to Dooley, the number one trait that sales superstars share is a desire to build relationships. As he wrote, “Because today’s salesperson is viewed as a partner, A-players are always looking for new ways to build customer relationships.” And I fully agree with this.
Closing a sale is nothing more than securing the outcome of the relationship that is desired between two parties. It’s not about manipulating, and it’s not about closing hard. It’s about being honest in helping the other party to make a decision that is in the best interest of you both.
Today, you have to build a relationship because consumers have far more choices. In our highly digital world, most people make their initial buying decision after educating themselves online about the product or service first. Your potential customer might hear about you and what you offer online, but they will also hear about many of your competitors. When you are selling high end-products or services, the major thing that will differentiate you from your competitor in your potential customers’ eyes is your ability to build great relationships with them.
And I’m not talking about automated generic messages that are sent to everyone. I am talking about a true human-to-human personalized relationship that shows that you care about what is right for them, their business, as well as about them as a person. For example, from time to time, you might reach out to them with something like “Hey, I was recently in Carmel, California, and I remember you mentioned you’re from there. I was thinking about you and how you are doing. Here are a few pictures I took to remind you how beautiful the beaches are there. Also, if there is ever anything I can do to help you, please let me know.”
Some people will say a message like this is a waste of time or strange to send to your potential buyer, but I’ve found that genuinely caring about your buyers and focusing on building relationships with them has helped me to close more high end-sales, get more referrals and more referrals who are ready to buy and create friendships with open-minded, helpful and resourceful people. Does selling high-end products take time? Most of the time, yes.
What’s the payoff?
Does building a relationship with a potential buyer take time? Most of the time, yes.
Is this worth the effort? With clients who are the right fit for your business, yes.
Is this a profitable approach? Yes, absolutely!
Advising prospects by helping them to find a solution that is the best for them will not always convert into a sale straight away. It will, however, build the type of relationship that is necessary to succeed in business and sales these days. It will help the prospect to trust you as it will be clear that you won’t just try to sell them any and every product or service, but instead, the right one for them. Although in the short-term some prospects might decide not to make a purchase, in the long-term, the trust formed in this process will make customers want to come back to your business at the right time for them to purchase.
So, instead of ABC (“Always Be Closing”), instead, use ABBAR (“Always Be Building A Relationship”) as your guiding rule.
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