“Always Be Closing”, is the age-old sales adage which asserts that salespeople should consistently close the deal. It comes with the implication that the salesperson should focus on the closing over the individual client. The focus is on bringing money in, inevitably leading to a more pushy sales approach. Of course, having a successful business is the goal, and this means closing more deals; but there are much better approaches for today’s business culture that can encourage better work performance from employees and create a better customer experience than the pressure of “Always Be Closing”.
The newest motto that many successful professionals are embracing is “Always Be Helping”. The basis is that you should offer help to prospects first, rather than selling to them. This may seem like a roundabout way to close deals, but it’s proven much more effective with today’s clientbase. The modern prospect has significantly more power in the buying process than in the past, and catering to their needs is your way to win them over. Here a few of the best ways you can replace “Always Be Closing” with “Always Be Helping”:
Get attuned to prospects’ needs
The idea of helping your prospects before trying to sell anything means that you need to have an understanding of them. Otherwise, how can you give them anything useful? Do your research either through getting to know them in person or using the internet and social networks. If prospects have problems that you can help them solve, great! If not, then you shouldn’t waste precious time. Don’t waste effort on bad leads that can squander your own time and leave you frustrated. Get acquainted with each prospect and determine whether you are feasibly able to help them with their needs. If not, then let them go and focus on the prospects that are worth your time.
Make yourself valuable
In a world where the consumer is bombarded with sales messages and advertisements, you don’t want to blend into the madness. Instead, provide your prospects with value in every interaction you have. This refers to online interactions in particular, where it may be tempting to advertise your services with frequent promotional posts or plugs. Ultimately, this isn’t the most effective method. Your prospect wants to believe that it’s their idea to give you business. The buying power is in their hands. They also need to know that you’re brand is trustworthy and that you’re an expert in your field. The best way to solidify these beliefs is by helping them solve problems. This often comes in the form of sharing helpful insights, relevant articles, and useful tools. Engage your prospects in meaningful ways, and you’ll stand out among other sales professionals.
Assess which stage your prospect is in
There are three basic stages your prospect will be in throughout the buying decision-making process:
- Awareness Stage: They know they have a problem that needs solving, such as needing to take out a loan when buying a house. This is the stage in which your marketing should do most of the work for you. Reaching out directly can feel too pushy at this stage and can prove to be a waste of time. If you have the right marketing approach and are sharing helpful information, these prospects will keep you in mind.
- Deliberation Stage: Your prospect is considering possible options to solve their problem and figuring out which brand will lead to their satisfaction. This stage is the right time to start introducing yourself and demonstrating your value.
- Commitment Stage: Your prospect has done their research and narrowed their focus to a few options. They may not have made an ultimate decision yet, so this is a great opportunity to emphasize why you can offer the right solution to their needs.
Create a framework to encourage their business
Make sure you tailor the buying process to your prospects so you can subtly move them through it. Even though the “Always-Be-Helping” mindset requires relinquishing some control of the buying process, you still need to gently guide prospects with your own expertise. You know the ins and outs of the business. Your prospect is likely new to it, so use this as an opportunity to offer helpful advice, answer their questions, ease their frustration, and move them through to closing.
Making the mindset shift from “Always Be Closing” to “Always Be Helping” can be a major transition, but the business world is shifting towards one in which the consumer holds the power. If you avoid the shift, you’ll be left behind. Consumers want to feel they’re being heard and given care and respect. Understanding the needs of your prospect is integral if you want to do business with them. Work at building relationships where you aid your prospect, and through this ‘Always-Be-Helping’ strategy, you’ll find you’ll always be closing.