Always be Closing is Dead
The days of a salesman having the attitude of “Always be closing” is dead. The attitude is now “Always be Helping”
Hollywood has often show the salesman as the strong alpha male, hard nosed, no-bullsh*t salesman. This may have been the case back in the day of Wolf of Wall Street, Jerry Maguire and Glengary Glen Ross, however time have changed significantly in the way how we make sales. This is predominately due to the evolution of the internet.
Back in the “old days” pre internet, we relied on a salesman with all their scripts and tricks to make the sale whether we wanted it or not. Their pushy manner driven on commission informing you in why you must have our product even though you did not realise why you ever needed one in the first place. They often worked on a captive market particularly once they got their foot in the door as they had no competition to pitch against.
The attitude of the successful salesman was very much of that of Alec Baldwin in Glengary Glen Ross where they had the mantra of Always be closing.
Yes, as business owners we have to ensure that sales call are made, even with inbound enquiries we need to take it to a personal level and speak to the sales lead. However there is an inbuilt reservation in us all not to make that sales call. That is due to several factors. this is a mixture of :
- a fear of rejection
- fear of failure
- doing tasks outside your comfort zone
- not being one of you core skill sets
- you don’t want to be seen that that annoying pushy salesman.
Actually today we should all be working on the process of “Always be Helping”. This makes it less pressured on yourself as the sales person, less pressure on the prospective purchase and make the overall sales process a much more pleasurable, effective and efficient process. There are 3 steps to work through with “Always be Helping”
1 Determine if the prospect has a problem you can solve
Always make sure that you have a valid reason to make a call. Have they visited your website, linked in with you on linked in, opened your email or introduced to you via a networking group such a Sutton BNI. Do some research, for our BNI members MEB Services would know more about the type of car they need fixing any any known issues, Our Builder R&M Turner would need to know the style of house that needs an extension and our Private tutor (Power Tutors) would need to know more about the educational need and history for their students, they more you will be seen as the trusted adviser.
2 Where are they on the decision process
There are 3 stages of making decision process which I can relate to when we had an a price comparison website and were placing google ads to attract visitors to the site. The 3 stages are:
This is where a potential lead is first aware they have a problem that may need solving. in the example of my price comparison website this was the google browser who just typed “Fridge”. These people may want a new fridge but are certainly not just about to buy one. this can apply to almost anyone buying a product or service.
People are now pretty sure they want a product or service and are just looking around at the different possibilities. These to us were people who were search for “Samsung American Fridge Freezer” . They kind of know what they wanted but were not completely committed.
These are the people who search for “Samsung RS67N82” they have made up their mind and know what they want, they just need help buying it.
Just like a recent experience at BNI Sutton where I was looking for a holiday. Speaking the the Travel Councillor Catherine Haynes, the conversation started with “we want a holiday next year” (Awareness), this then went to “We want a group holiday for 6 in Las Vegas late next year” (Consideration) and then onto “We want a holiday for 6 adults, flying into San Francisco for 3 days on 7th October, driving to Las Vegas for 4 nights via lake Tahoe and flying home on 17th October” (Decision).
3 Tailor your process to make it easier to buy
As you empower much of the sales process to the buyer it does not mean that you hand over all the control. People often need to be led to making the buying decision. So as long as you are helping a buyer make the right decision it is only of a benefit for all to make this process easier. Make sure that all the decision makers are in the the room, don’t add the obstetrical of someone else representing you to the owner. Provide definitive date to sign the contract and start the work, take control of the process to ease the sale and to provide confidence and commitment.
Your clients will often be very well informed by the time they get to the “decision stage” make sure you are in a position to provide additional knowledge and be seen as supportive and an expert to ensure the sales stays with you. These days it is so easy for anyone to make the decision of a service based on price, this is a poor business model for most, so you need to differentiate by being the trusted thought leader.
Two recommended books would be
The Challenger Sale: How To Take Control of the Customer Conversation by Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson