I don’t know, after 20 plus years selling staffing services and managing sales teams I think my mind is starting to play tricks on me, as it did very recently when thinking about our new business activity. “How much business did we close this month, quarter?” I asked myself and my senior management team and then while waiting for the data I sat back and thought about why we are “closing business” especially in a service oriented industry like ours.
Although we are taught the “ABC’s” of sales – i.e. Always Be Closing, this strategy can seem limited. The play Glengarry Glenn Ross will always be a big favorite of mine, especially how it wraps itself around the drive to sell. It makes me think about why we feel compelled to close business. In my particular industry it takes countless hours of blood, sweat and tears to establish rapport, trust and a relationship. (Does this sound like dating to anyone?)
Once the relationship is established, when you have the opportunity in today’s world to do that directly, even more effort goes into building that relationship deeper and wider so why “CLOSE it?” We are fans of OPENING business.
In sales we talk about the use of positive phrasing, use of positive words and more “yes” leading questions. So why “close”? Say the word close to yourself; does it reflect a positive image? We close the door, we close a store, and we close the curtains. These are all acts that end something or feel permanent. Let’s open stores, open doors — doesn’t that sound more positive and fun to say? And while I don’t have a better acronym for Always Be Closing (ABC) maybe we should try ABO – Always Be Opening, and see if that gives us all a different vibe!
Opening a sale is the beginning of something new and fresh that offers potential for growth. Being in the service industry lends itself to this type of thinking – except we have been “closing” for so many years; now it’s time to swing the door the other way and OPEN it.
Being an avid reader of sales and management information I tend to feel that most is written about product based industries. Of course I realize that product based sales do need to “close” a deal, sign an agreement, lease or contract and then move on to the next prospect in order to hit quota. My thoughts are largely addressing those in service type businesses, similar to mine – but in actuality, I’m thinking this concept can be carried over to any industry that still needs the basic relationship in order to thrive.
It’s great to be a successful Closer…and a successful Opener, too
Keith Banks, CSP, is President of LLoyd Staffing. He is reachable at KBanks@LLoydstaffing.com