Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Always be losing?

The movie Glengarry, Glen Ross was on TV recently.  I watched for a few minutes.  I always do when I spot it.  It's like a roadside accident; disturbing, yet hard to avert your gaze. 

The most famous scene in the film is when Alec Baldwin's character comes to "motivate" the under-performing sales team.  "Always be closing," he spits.  "Coffee is for closers," he sneers.  It is the epitome of the "man-up," high-pressure school of sales.  It resonates because we recognize and empathize with both sides of the dialogue.  I guess that's why the play won the Pulitzer Prize.

"I need to increase sales," is the most common refrain I hear from business owners and CEOs.  They are constantly looking for the magic bullet:  the system or process that will tap the revenue gusher that they know is just a little further beneath the surface.  Just keep drilling.

There's a reason that only politicians are trusted less than salespeople, according to one of the leading sales training organizations.

Do your customers or prospects respond to being accosted, being stalked?  Do you?  Can't you just picture the stereotypical "bad" salesperson?

If our economy is 70% consumer-driven, yet we hate being sold, there would seem to be a conundrum.  Sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer's mantra is "People don't like to be sold, but they love to buy."

So, how do you get more people to buy without selling them?  Examine your sales approach:  Do you recognize this guy?  Will your customers?

Some tips to get you started selling better (which may lead you to selling more):

  • Change your mindset.  Act as a buyer facilitator, rather than a salesperson.
  • Help your customer buy what they desire rather than sell them what you have.
  • Talk less and listen more.  Who does more talking, the customer or your salesperson?
  • Focus on the right buyers.  Not every customer is right for you.  Your marketing should be focused on increasing the number of prospects who are. 

If you are always closing, you are talking, not listening.   Your customer is tuning you out, and you are losing.

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