Alec Baldwin’s ‘Blake’ in the classic Glengarry Glen Ross taught a generation of salespeople his secrets of success. Blake’s mantra was ABC—Always Be Closing. His process was AIDA—Attention, Interest, Decision, and Action. His promise was “follow the program, close the deal, win the steak knives, and get the good leads.”
Blake is the salesperson (or sales manager) we all love to hate, but his profane rant contained a great deal of truth. Selling is a process. Every step is critical. And, eventually, you have to ask for the order. But if you use ABC, we’ll be the ones coming home with the knives (and the contract) almost every time.
Our Secrets? Focus on the prospect’s needs, not our own. Concentrate on the sales journey (or process), not the destination (or close). And, most importantly, work hard to establish trust, confidence, and clarity.
We begin building trust the moment we first engage with the prospect, how we interact and how we demonstrate focus on their needs and priorities. But the secret is finding—or creating—a referral, so we work hard to establish we’ve done business with a person or company they know (or admire), convince them to tour an existing client site, and talk to our customers.
We begin creating confidence by delivering the proposal when promised, presenting it as a solution that specifically addresses their objectives, and pre-emptively answering every possible concern. We complete the process by establishing our expertise and related experience, identifying their project team and our company’s extensive resources, then thoroughly detailing our training, support, and service procedures.
We produce clarity by ensuring the prospect knows everything possible about our people, procedures, deliverables, and even the value judgments made during the design process. Detailed information demonstrates commitment and reduces their risk of making a poor decision. And putting it all in writing helps them easily communicate our value proposition to other stakeholders, including the person who may be actually making the purchasing decision.
Closing: By now the sale is either well ‘in the bag’—and we’re discussing a credit application, CAD file transfers, and a purchase order vs. a contract—or the prospect is expressing their need to ‘win’ the transaction process, typically by suggesting a lower price. So now we’re negotiating… but that’s a topic best left for another day.
Brock McGinnis is the Audio and Visual Solutions Sales Manager for Westbury National Show Systems. This feature is part of SCN's "Hush Hush" October print issue.