I’m sure you’ve heard of the old sales chestnut, “ABC – Always be closing”. It’s become so common as to become a cliche — but it’s an absolutely unsuitable technique for modern selling (And honestly, it wasn’t all that great even when it first came out.) If you want to be successful with sales in today’s market, you need a new ABC:
Always Be Curious!
Sales is all about developing a relationship with your potential customers. And to develop that relationship, you’ll need to learn how to ask good questions — questions that are rooted in a genuine curiosity about the other person and their business, not ones that are purely transactional, just meant to get data out of the other person.
So whenever you’re starting to develop a relationship with someone, ask yourself:
Who are they? Who are they in the context of your relationship with them, who are they in their business, and who are they in the constellation of people around them, whether that’s staff or other business owners?
What’s their business? Remember to think both on the surface level about what they do, and the deeper level of what that really means for people.
How are they doing? Is business good or bad for them right now? What are the reasons? How do they define business being good or bad?
What are their current and upcoming challenges? Think of both industry-wide challenges, as well as challenges specific to their business.
What’s stopping them from achieving? Is it something in their business, something in the industry, a personal problem? What’s standing in their way?
Can you help? If not, who can you connect them with that can help? If so, how can you help?
And of course, always remember…
… that sales don’t always happen in sales meetings. Some of our biggest customers down the years were rooted in meetings that had nothing to do with work, like social occasions, industry events, seminars, workshops, etc. During those times, being open, being curious was the key — and definitely not selling to them! So don’t “always be closing”. Instead, just be yourself, pay attention and take an interest in people. If it’s meant to be, it will happen.
Until next time,