by Debbie Josendale
Back in the day when I was going through Sales Training, we learned a sales technique referred to as “ABC”. It stood for “Always Be Closing” and was considered important to business development.
Every time I went on a sales call, my Sales Manager would say “Don’t Forget… ABC!”
I hated this technique. Instead of building relationships, I felt pushy and as if I wasn’t really showing concern for the needs of my prospect. I also noticed that every time I did the prescribed “ABC” i.e., would you prefer that on “Tuesday or Thursday, white or blue”, the prospect would have a physical reaction.
Building Relationships: NOT!
Almost on cue, they moved back in their chair, crossed their arms and became defensive. Sometimes they would raise an eyebrow as if to say “Do you think I’m falling for that?” Other times I’d get a bit of a scolding that went something like this “Look I am going to decide on my timetable. When I’m ready I will let you know!”
No building relationships happening here. No business development, meeting over.
YUK! “ABC” made me feel deceptive and even worse…incompetent as I often came back to the office empty-handed. As a rookie sales person the only thing I knew was, I hated “ABC”! My boss however was insistent that this was key to business development and ultimately closing sales.
I became determined to figure out another technique to business development that resulted in closing sales. Accidentally I stumbled into the “ABC” mindset. Yes, you read that right…ABC…but it means:
“Always Be Contributing”
Building Relationships by Solving Client Problems
Big difference! I began to notice shifts in interest from passive to high energy when I shared relevant information that helped clients solve their problem. Instead of sitting back in their chair, they would lean forward. Instead of crossing their arms, they would begin to wave them with excitement. And instead of being told “I’ll let you know, they would be asking How Soon can we get started?”
For me the shift to ABC was fantastic! I loved building relationships by sharing helpful information that served my prospects and clients. My career and bank account loved ABC too!
Make the Sales Mind Shift to Always Be Contributing
Barriers shoot up the minute you begin to deliver what your prospect perceives as a sales pitch. Instead of building relationships that result in trust and eventually a sale, you are alienating your prospects.
In contrast, people sit up and listen when you share important facts and expert information that help them solve a problem and make a good decision. This allows you to build trust and eventually results in sales.
A lot has changed in the 20 years since I discovered the ABC mindset. Today with over 80% of all purchasing decisions starting on the web, prospects expect to be educated. And there is a plethora of ways to “Always Be Contributing.” From blog posts, to videos, to status updates on Facebook and Tweets, the ABC mindset positions you to build relationships as a valuable resource and ultimately a trusted adviser.
What do you think works best, Always Be Closing or Always Be Contributing?
Education-Based Marketing is Key to
Today at 3C Marketing Group, we refer to the ABC mindset as education-based marketing. This is a key theme to every consulting engagement and training program that we deliver. If you’d like to learn more about how to use education-based marketing in your business development efforts, check out the articles below.