It’s as easy as A-B-C: “Always be closing!” This was the slogan that the “corporate trainer” was telling the group of struggling real estate salesmen in the 1992 star-studded drama called “Glengarry Glen Ross” (and the Pulitzer Prize winning play of the same name). If you are not familiar with this movie/play by David Mamet, here is the main plot of the story (see clip, courtesy of wfd7 on YouTube). Inorder to “motivate” the sales team to hit their target, the “man from downtown” tells them that they need get out there and close their leads in a week. And if they don’t, they won’t have a job. The salesmen’s response is in essence, “….but how? You haven’t given us the good leads that we need to do our job.”
In other words, those sales reps were left on their own to figure out how to “Always Be Closing.” Needless to say, the results were not pretty. I would bet that this same sentiment is felt by many sales reps today, albeit, maybe not as harsh as in Mamet’s story.
Fortunately, the real world that sales reps operate in today is very different than the “Easy as A-B-C” one portrayed by Mamet. However, by no means is it an easier place for sales reps. In fact, it is actually a harder place for sales reps. Customers are knowledgeable, informed, and empowered. They buy and interact with sales reps on their own terms when and where they want. To be successful, sales reps cannot just rely on having “good leads” (like the salesmen in Mamet’s story) and being charming. They need much more than that.
To be successful today, sales reps need to be able to engage intelligently with their customers and prospects. That means they need tools that enable them
to use and get insights from the vast amount of information that’s available in their corporate systems and on the Web. Specifically, sales reps need to know all relevant facts about their customers and prospects as well as relevant development in the market. Information such as solutions customers have previously purchased, Web pages they have been visiting, webinars they have attended in the last three months, or conversations topics they are engaging with in the relevant communities are very important to the sales rep. Additionally, sales reps need to understand the organization structure and the various roles and influence each lead and contact has. Furthermore, sales reps must be able to separate real opportunities from the noise. In other words, sales reps must be able to gather, distill, and digest a lot of information quickly and easily. They can also gauge within which channels their customers choose to engage. Only when armed with this knowledge and understanding can they engage with their prospects intelligently and with context, which should ventually end up in more sales.
Every sales rep wants to “always be closing.” They don’t need to be told or be threatened with a job. What they do need are tools that help them make sense of relevant information, thus enabling them to engage intelligently with their prospects on the buying journey. If they do so, they will “always be closing” consistently over time.