You Can't Believe Everything You See In The Movies
In 1947 David was born.
When he was 37 he won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony nomination for his play that (unfortunately) became the holy grail of boiler room salespeople in 1992, "Glengarry Glen Ross."
You know the movie, even if you haven't seen the movie.
It's where the sales world got the line,...
A-B-C. A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing. Always be closing! ALWAYS BE CLOSING!"
Alec Baldwin was the quintessential hardcore closer, teaching/inspiring/scaring his mishmash room of mediocre salespeople how to cold call and close more sales.
The problems here are bountiful.
Always Be Closing Problem #1
Alec Baldwin's character is 31 years old in 2023.
You remember 1992, right?
- Bill Clinton played the saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show
- "Roseanne" and "Home Improvement" were the top TV shows
- Sir Mix-a-Lot was rocking "Baby Got Back" (I saw him perform at a nightclub in Corpus Christi, TX in the summer of '92. It was crazy!)
Always Be Closing Problem #2
The inspiration for Alec Baldwin's cold calling and hardcore closing approach is based on David Mamet's experience as a cold calling salesman from the late '60s/early '70s, so that method/approach is 50 years old, at least.
Always Be Closing Problem #3
While Mamet was doing this 50+ years ago, it was taught to him by sales managers who are literally dead.
The 40-year-old sales managers in 1970 are 90+ years old today if they're still around!
So this approach was taught by our great-grandfathers to our grandfathers and now you're trying to get a team of Gen X sales managers, Gen Y (Millennial) sales managers and salespeople, and Gen Z salespeople to apply these ancient tactics, and it's not productive because it's not authentic, it's not genuine, it's not helpful, and it's just not nice.
- Amateurs Sell...Professionals Sort, Sift, and Separate
- Jab With a Smile to Control the Sale
- Andrea Waltz: Why This Sales Trainer Says You Should Go For No
Always Be Closing Alternative #1
Many years ago I was reading "The Sales Bible" by Jeffrey Gitomer and I noticed the coin he made as his business card.
I wanted to stand out like Gitomer, so I ordered my own coin, which you can see (and order) below.
On the back, you'll notice it says,
Learn to open relationships vs. closing deals to grow."
So that is your always be closing alternative #1: it's not how you close, it's how you open.
Open well and you don't have to sell.
Seek to serve.
Think beyond the sale. Think longterm. Think relationships and you'll never have to close another day in your life.
Always Be Closing Alternative #2-11
My longtime sales coach and mentor, Steve Clark, taught me back in 2006 that:
Selling is a calling.
Serving is its purpose.
Questioning is the process.
A sale may be the solution.
Along those lines, consider these new alternatives to replace the tired and worn out, Always Be Closing:
- Always Be Curious
- Leaders are readers
- Never leave anything to chance
- Assuming makes an ass out of u and me
- Asking Builds Connections
- Asking Builds Clarity
- Asking Builds Cash
- Always Be Courteous
- Please and thank you really are the magic words
- Go the extra mile to make your customers and prospects happy
- Always Be Connecting
- Strive for real connections, not just a bunch of vanity metrics of followers or likes on social media
- Call people
- Send them a thank you card
- Send them a video email
- Do what doesn't scale to make people feel special.
- Always Be Concise
- When you're telling, you're selling. Help your prospects find the truth on their own by asking good questions.
- Time is money, so cut to the chase.
- Stop pontificating and peacocking to show them how smart you are and stroke your own ego.
- You can't help everyone, so choose who to lose
- Your prospects should be talking AT LEAST as much as you are, preferably more
- Always Be Consistent/Always Be Congruent
- A confused mind says no, so steady as she goes in your marketing, your demeanor, your tone, your volume, your pace, etc.
- Dress in the same style
- Conduct yourself in a way that is consistent/congruent with your image
- Attention. Bond. Connect/Attention. Brevity. Charity.
- To serve and to sell, you must have the attention of your prospect
- People buy from people they know, like, and trust. While trust is the key, knowing and liking is the tiebreaker, so be likable when you can.
- Brevity is another word for concise
- Charity is a way to build relationships
- This is not an exhaustive list, but it is meant to expand your thinking and your horizons on how to go beyond the decades-old "always be closing" to sell as a professional in the 2020s.
Check out my interview with Steve Clark on The Sales Podcast.
Always Be Closing Alternative #12
The ABCs of selling have obviously changed and as a professional salesperson, you are ready and willing to change with the times, which is why I'd like to introduce you to The A.B.C.D.E. Sales & Marketing System™, which is similar, yet different, from the ABCs of selling we reviewed above.
While the concept of sales pipelines and funnels have their place in today's world of sales, they are limited because they are one-way streets.
You "pack a bunch of crap" in the top or in the front, then hope and pray there's enough to come out the other end so you can hit your quota, pay your mortgage, and keep your job.
Give me a break.
As a professional salesperson, you understand that the sale is really only the midway point in the relationship. It's really where the relationship begins.
You know that if you don't delight and deliver a WOW experience, the customer could cancel the P.O., stop payment on the check, file a chargeback, leave a negative review of you online, and/or even sue you! (It's a crazy world out there!!)
In much the same way a batter hits through the ball on a swing, professional salespeople continue serving beyond the sale, because that's when, where, and how the great sales—and salespeople—are made.
It looks like the image below:
So by delivering that WOW experience you endear yourself to your new customer.
That is when they start singing your praises.
That is when they give you five-star reviews and raving testimonials.
That is when they give you referrals to their friends, colleagues, and family.
Now you're back to the Attract phase but it's easy and automatic.
The Bonding comes much more naturally.
The Conversion to a customer is smooth and the cycle repeats itself.
So enough with the Always Be Closing.
Shift to The A.B.C.D.E. Sales & Marketing System™ and make it easy, obvious, and enjoyable for your ideal prospects to give you their money.
Now go sell something.