I have always felt that the notion of ABC was rubbish.
Remember when we were young(er)…..and we were taught to Always Be Closing (ABC)? It didn’t feel right.
I didn’t feel natural. That’s not how we have real conversations with actual people. Imagine the following scenarios:
“Hey, I know we just met but if I could show you that I am a good person, would be good with kids and make a good living, would you consider getting married?”
Or how about this one:
“This should be fun year of beer league. So I was thinking….if I prove to be a good teammate, a good guy to hang out with for a beer and helped you move heavy furniture when required, can I borrow your new truck to go on holidays this summer?”
Who talks like that? Nobody talks like that.
Rubbish (I like that word and plan to use it more). Those tactics don’t work anymore and never really did
Lastly, how many of you have had an experience like this at some point in your sales career: “Here's all of our product specs, features and benefits sheet and crappy outdated prospect data base, now go sell. Oh and your quota just went up”
When we think about the old school way sales was taught (or not taught at all) and the all too common scenario of aggressive, ever-increasing targets and misguided comp plans, is there any wonder why sales has a bad reputation? We were literally creating an environment where a collection of under skilled, unprepared sales people with intense pressure to ‘close’ were interacting with clients - so it’s not a surprise that we often saw desperate or unethical behavior from sales people.
"Let's work together to professionalize sales by providing better training and coaching support for the people who chose to work in this incredibly important area of our organizations."
If you go onto LinkedIn Learning, read books and articles and watch sales vlogs (that the right word?) you can see lots of examples of just how much sales has evolved in recent years. In one of the articles I read recently there was a definition of sales I really liked:
The Modern Definition of Sales-Generally speaking, sales is a process of creating value and helping prospective customers fix their problems. Sales is all about ABH or Always Be Helping rather than an old school ABC which was all about Always Be Closing
I like that. I also saw this comment that resonated with me:
“What makes someone effective at sales? A genuine desire to help others solve problems”
Further to this, I have read a couple articles and completed the LinkedIn Learning module by Lisa Earle McLoed on what she describes as Noble Purpose. Her research has revealed that salespeople who focus on their purpose—to improve their customers' lives—rather than a metric assigned to them (quotas) actually sell more and are happier in their roles.
How do we help sales people evolve into sales professionals?
Well, elite athletes tend to have a plan and are intentional about working on specific skills. They make time to practice and work on getting better - all the time. They have a coach, or many coaches, to guide them on the journey and help them to adapt and evolve in ways that allows them realize new levels of potential. Why don’t we do the same with Leadership and Sales skills? (I don’t know either- that’s why I am asking you!).
Organizations have always relied on sales people to drive revenue. They are the front lines in our relationships with customers. Today, more than ever, sales professionals are vitally important in growing revenues and will be called upon in reviving our organizations revenues as well as the overall economy.
Let’s invest in their abilities and skills and by doing so, arm them with the right tools, skills and confidence they need to help them be even more successful.
SBD Growth Strategies is working with several partners to help sales people grow into sales professionals.
More to follow on this…..