Alec Baldwin’s monologue in Glengarry Glen Ross could be the greatest sales speech ever. I’ve watched it countless times, and it always fires me up. That’s where I learned my A-B-C’s, “A-B-C. A — Always, B — Be, C — Closing. Always be closing. Always be closing!”
Baldwin’s character, Blake, goes on to say, “You got the prospects coming in … They’re sitting out there waiting to give you their money. Are you gonna take it? Are you man enough to take it?” But Blake has it wrong. The prospects aren’t waiting to give you their money. They’re giving it to someone else.
It’s time to change the selling alphabet. It’s not about closing, it’s about connecting.
You can’t close if no one is buying
Always Be Closing is bad advice. If you don’t have the relationships, you don’t stand a chance.
Always Be Closing doesn’t work for two reasons. First, most of your customers already have a solution. Nine times out of ten, the reason a customer goes to market is to improve their situation. They’re not looking for revolutionary change, they’re looking for evolutionary change. And they definitely aren’t going to be “closed” based on the charisma and persuasion of a sales person.
The second reason Always Be Closing doesn’t work is it destroys trust. Your customers won’t buy from you unless they like you and trust you. Without like and trust, there is no sale. And the problem with aggressive closing tactics is they smash any hope of a relationship, and motivate customers to reconsider their options.
Always Be Connecting
Instead of closing, connect. In the information age, your customers have choice. Lots of choice. If they don’t like a sales person’s approach, they can find an alternative in moments with a few quick searches.
The best way to combat all the choices available to your customers is to build the relationship first. Connect with your prospects early and often, and make sure they like and trust you long before they need to buy.
Instead of closing, be your customers’ first call when they’re ready to buy.
When is the best time to prospect?
When’s the best time to connect with prospects and customers? Three years before they need you.
Being at the right place at the right time when your customers are buying is a little like gambling. It happens, but it’s not predictable. So forget about timing. Focus on connecting with your prospects long before they need you. Build the relationship now. Let them know who you are, what you do and who you serve, and then stay in touch.
You don’t have to sell your customers, just be present and available. When the time is right, they’ll call you.
For old time sakes
If you haven’t had your dose of Glengarry Glen Ross lately, here is the clip of Alec Baldwin’s monologue. (If you haven’t seen it before, please note the clip has a lot of profanity — a lot!)