The title of this post may look like alphabet soup but stick with me for a couple of minutes and it will all make sense. One day, many years ago a seasoned sales professional in the graphic arts industry announced to me that he sells by the ABC method. Being younger than I am now I did not realize that stood for “Always Be Closing.”
Selling vs Closing
I’m not saying constant and aggressive closing is a bad way to go. After all, at the end of the day nothing happens until someone sells something and that means some way some how the sale got closed. I will tell you that while I close sales I am not a closer. What’s a “closer” you may be asking yourself. Think about the car salesman (they are always my favorite to pick on) who is asking for the order from the moment you walk in the door. There’s a reason why. They know that statistically the moment you walk out that door it’s highly unlikely you will return to their dealership. This of course might be a self fulfilling prophecy.
ABS or “Always Be Selling” is an alternative approach. There’s a big difference between selling and closing. Always selling can mean many things. Let’s start with constantly listening to your customers and your market to make sure you have solutions that are useful and meaningful to solve the problems they are having. Presenting those solutions to the market with authority in such a way that the delivery and information is trusted.
Closing is an act or a moment in time. The reason I don’t care for closers (or being one for that matter) is that closing is really an act or a single moment in time. For me closing feels like being stuck in a loop. Sure there are a hundred ways to ask for the order but you are still asking for the order. The only answers the prospective customer can provide are yes or no. Even a yes may not be the answer you want if you haven’t done a great job selling. You could end up with a customer you can’t satisfy.
Selling is an ongoing process. Selling (at least for me) is the ongoing process of managing and growing a relationship. It’s about establishing authority early on in the game so that building trust is easier and more long lasting. It’s about my customers being “partner businesses” not customers. It’s about working together to solve problems and make sure both businesses remain sustainable. It’s about doing business with people you know, like and trust.
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