If you’ve had sales training of any kind, I can predict when you did by the method you learned.
Back in the Stone Age, I was trained in selling by folks who epitomized the stereotype – white shoes, double knit suits. We were drilled in “The 7 Steps of the Sale.” The thinking was, you led the gullible Prospect up the stairway to the top via the 7 steps. I even got flustered when someone said they’d buy before I’d gone through the entire process! “No! You can’t buy now, I haven’t eliminated your objections!”
There was a lot of emphasis on how making a decision is a moment of temporary insanity . You, the salesperson, could take advantage of that moment with skilled techniques embedded in each of the 7 steps. Presumably they would sign anything in abject relief that you had pulled them from the insane abyss of indecision.
What came next – generally some type of Buyers Remorse from feeling hoodwinked – was rarely focused upon. Evidently, you, the salesperson, were supposed to run like the wind to avoid any fallout. Not so great if you were after a relationship.
People hate when you try to “close” them.
Part of the old school process is “closing the deal.” We learned several different ways to “close.” The Direct Close is scary : “Buy my stuff now!” The Choice Close was a little nicer : “Will you need 100 of these or 1000?” The Test Close could be used throughout the process: “Based on what I’ve told you so far, is there anything that’s keeping you from making a decision right now?” The Assumptive Close turned out to be my favorite . We just proceeded as if the decision had already been made. (That way I could avoid coercing them into it.)
The ABC’s of selling used to mean “Always Be Closing”
Theoretically, you needed to hammer, hammer, hammer on the prospect until you beat them down with your closing techniques and made the sale. There’s a powerful rant on “ABC” in David Mamet‘s “Glengarry Glen Ross “. In the movie version, Alec Baldwin intimidates and abuses his salesforce (Jack Lemmon, Kevin Spacey, Alan Arkin and Ed Harris, trust me, it’s a classic!). Subscribers in readers may need to click in to view (language warning):
“Because only one thing counts in this life! Get them to sign on the line which is dotted!”
No wonder people hate salespeople!
“ABC” isn’t a bad idea – there’s just been lousy execution
The masters of sales psychology – Brian Tracy , Zig Ziglar , Jeffrey Gitomer and others – have routinely stressed building rapport, listening skills, problem-solving, and other relationship-builders are a better path . The funny thing is, when you employ relationship-builders they – wait for this – build relationships. You become a colleague by virtue of the relationship you’ve cultivated. You don’t need to consciously ABC because you’re trusted. Trust will close the sale for you every time.
“Do or do not. . . There is no try.”
Yoda, in his infinite wisdom, was right.
In the over-wrought systematic 7 Steps to the Sale, the problem with ABC is far too much trying . The paradox, proved over and over again from playground to boardroom, is we really make the sale by not trying to sell.
Sales happen when we genuinely and authentically care. We help. We give. We don’t try. We just do.
How do you feel about selling and salespeople?
Do you love and appreciate being guided to buy via the hands of a sales-master like I do? Everyone has a horror story at the hands of a desperate salesman – what’s yours?