Can we agree that the phrase ABC- Always be Closing- isn’t always appropriate?
In fact, can we agree that it is very often inappropriate?
Regrettably, the ABC phrase has taken on a bit of a cult status in many parts of the sales world. It’s like asking for the sale is the be all and end all of selling; a magical phrase, that when uttered produces a sale out of thin air. It’s getting the sale at all cost. The focus is the sale, not the buyer. There’s a heck of lot more to getting a sale then always closing.
Of course, I understand the spirit of the message. The spirit of the message is to get the client to take some sort of action and move them through the sales cycle. I’m okay with that. But that message has evolved or morphed into something that’s unpleasant and even dangerous. The real trouble is that some sales reps take the spirit of the message just a little too literally and are obsessive in the pursuit of the close. And therein lies the problem. The ABC mantra has created a little army of aggressive, cheesy sales reps who are botching customer relationships and future sales.
Exposing the Reality of ABC
Be aware that ABC has a few implications. For instance:
- Asking too soon or too often puts the emphasis on YOU and not the prospect. The sale must be about the prospect’s needs, not yours.
- Asking too soon or too often makes the prospect leery and distrustful . They see you as bullying them into a sale. Who likes a bully? Who buys from a bully? Oh, sure, you might find one or two prospects who will knuckle under but the vast majority will simply turn away.
- Asking too soon or too often will virtually destroy any future sales with that prospect. If your prospect feels like they have been railroaded into a sale, you can bet there will be resentment. Don’t bank on future sales.
- Asking too soon or too often will eventually shorten your sales career. Aggressive selling is short term. It catches up to you. Fast. Wink of an eye. And you’ll be out of a job.
When to Close
There’s nothing WRONG with closing. Closing is a good thing. But here’s the thing: closing is only one part of the sales process, usually the last part. Closing is about timing. You can ‘always be closing’ when you’ve earned the right to close; when it is appropriate:
- Close after you’ve clearly identified the prospect’s wants and needs
- Close after you’ve presented your solution and the benefits it provides to the prospect
- Close after the prospect has expressed specific interest or desire for your product or service
- Close after you’ve answered the prospect’s questions and/or objections to THEIR satisfaction
- Close after they sound (or look) positive and enthusiastic
Close with Class – Test
You don’t have to beat the prospect over the head with a heavy handed close. You can build up to it using test close techniques throughout the call. For instance:
– Is this of interest to you?
– How would you apply the technique?
– Do you think it would help you out?
– Is this making sense to you?
– Could this work in your office?
– Do you see how ____ might be of benefit to you?
These questions gauge the prospect’s thinking process. They give indications of interest and intent. Once you’ve determined the prospect’s state of mind you can ask for the sale.
Please, don’t always be closing.