Digital Equipment Corp. founder Ken Olsen said in 1977, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” That might have been true back in 1977 for a variety of reasons, but certainly doesn’t hold true today. There are some sales principles that need to be retired because they are no longer true for selling today.
“Always be closing.”
I just heard a salesperson make that statement today. He said, “In sales you should always be closing.” I disagreed. He became emphatic and repeated his statement.
Here’s why I disagreed. With a mindset of always be closing, your strategy of selling changes in a very subtle way. You focus on your own need which is to make the sale instead of your prospect’s needs. Your sales strategy should be to look for areas of commonality between the problems or needs your products and services address and the problems or needs your prospects have.
A salesperson with an “always be closing” mindset focuses on just one thing–getting a prospect to sign on the dotted line. That attitude is more likely to result in behaviors that are coercive and manipulative in order to be successful. That’s a flawed sales strategy.
What are your long-term objectives?
Do you want a one-time sale or repeat business? It’s a much better long-term sales strategy to get repeat business from your customers. You’ll get repeat business when your customers trust you and feel better about making their purchases from you.
You approach selling very differently when you focus on solving problems and providing solutions because you are putting other people’s interests ahead of your own. One of the components of building trust is whose interests you put first: yours or the other person’s. You are more likely to be seen as earning trust as a salesperson when you put the prospect’s interests first.
“Always be closing” focuses on what’s good for the salesperson which is the act of getting a prospect to sign a contract. Prospects are less likely to want to do business with you again and again when they feel like all you are interested in getting them to part with their money.
Looking to solve problems and improve a prospect’s business is a helpful strategy that gets the sale without any strong-arm tactics. Even better is that the customer-focused strategy makes the prospect feel better about buying. You are much more likely to get repeat business and generate referrals.
The objective is to make the sale.
I am not naïve to forget that the job of a sales professional is to make the sale. I believe that how you make the sale is the mark of a true sales professional. I hope you now believe that making the sale when both you and your prospect benefit is the only way to close the sale.
If only he had said, “Always be selling.” I would have agreed. Selling is when you help customers make a great buying decision. Now that’s a principle that holds today.