Most people are at least dimly aware of Alec Baldwin’s “ABC – Always Be Closing” speech from Glengarry Glen Ross. If you don’t know the speech, it involves Alec Baldwin trying to motivate a room full of salesmen by telling them that if they aren’t being almost ruthlessly persistent when closing a sale, they will be fired. The speech is full of profanity, and Baldwin comes off as a caricature. It’s clearly meant to be satire, but many salespeople have taken it to heart. Yes, closing a sale does require some degree of persistence, but too much persistence is a good way to turn off potential customers.
Despite what many people have come to believe, the “Always Be Closing” approach isn’t always effective. Instead of thinking of “ABC” as “Always Be Closing,” think of it as “Always Be Checking.” This means that instead of aggressively pushing a prospective customer into buying a product or service, you should instead be looking for signs that they want what you’re selling. Some of these signs include telling you that they have a need that your product can satisfy, asking for product details, and asking about pricing. In other words, closing a sale should be more about providing a service to a buyer, not about the seller taking someone’s money achieving a victory through negotiation.
The problem with the old concept of “Always Be Closing” and Alec Baldwin’s Glengarry speech is that it’s more about what a seller does to a customer as opposed to for a customer. It reduces people into piles of money to be claimed, and any trepidation they might feel is an obstacle to be overcome. There is zero consideration for what the customer really wants or how they can benefit from a product, and that is not how a good salesperson should act.
Instead of seeing potential customers and leads as obstacles to overcome or marks that should be fleeced of their money, think of them as real people who can benefit from what you have to offer. You can and should show them how your product can satisfy their needs, but you should do it in a way that comes off as someone who wants to help people, not someone who wants to make money. That’s what will win customers’ trust, and how you will have repeat business after you’ve closed a sale.