Why Salespeople Need to Stop Saying “Always Be Closing” Now
You’re just on the cusp of turning a prospect into a customer. This client has been dragging their feet for months, but you’ve been persistent. This deal is too important to let it slip through your fingertips. You reach out to shake your client’s hand; the tried-and-true motion of finalizing the sale. They pause for just a moment, but to you, it feels like an eternity. Eventually, eternity comes to an end, and you look above the sheened mahogany desk in your office to see your client’s hand firmly grasped in your’s. The sale is done.
There’s a shared phrase among modern salespeople. They refer to it as the ABCs of getting ahead in the sales industry, “Always Be Closing.” Basically, every single action you take after landing a fresh prospect should be in service of one thing: finalizing the deal. If you don’t close with your prospect, that means that you’ve effectively tossed precious time and effort into the trash can.
But honestly, the term “always be closing” belongs in that trash can right alongside them.
Every time I hear some self-proclaimed “business guru” use that phrase to help out some young upstart, it makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Unfortunately my doctor recently informed me that I can’t handle another concussion, so here’s the next best thing.
“Always be closing” goes against every single thing I’ve learned and believe about sales for a few reasons. Namely…
Why end the sale?
You’ve put so many resources into gaining that prospect, and buttering them up in order to rave over your product. You’ve shown a client that their life is better when they have that product and they end up shelling out however much money you’ve asked for. This is a premier client, ready to learn more about what you have to offer! If you’re “always closing” you haven’t even given a single thought to customer success.
Talk about a waste of resources.
Always keep customer retention in mind while making a sale. Gaining a new customer is much more resource-consuming than keeping one around. When you prioritize closing, your tunnel vision keeps you from getting so much more out of a customer.
Say you’re selling a subscription to a service, you offer options ranging from one-month, three-month and 12-month plans with options to renew, and you’ve hooked a promising prospect. You’ve offered the free trial, you’ve provided them with all of the assistance they’ve needed, and you’ve gained a stellar rapport overall with your client. When they’re overjoyed with what your service has to offer, and they’re willing to continue with the sale, you don’t just close with the one-month subscription and move on to the next client.
You can almost hear your time and effort hitting the bottom of the trash can, because there’s so much more work to be done.
There’s a better way to think about it.
Your goal should not be to just close with the client. While closing is important, your top priority should be to plan ahead for when your client is not content with your service or product. The key is to anticipate one simple thing…
“When would a sale with this client end?”
I’m not telling you to gain psychic powers, because that’d be impossible and frankly, if you could, you’d be doing much better things with your time. I’m telling you to learn as much as possible about your prospects, because the more you know about them, the more you can offer them.
Returning to the subscription service example, say that the client begrudgingly agreed to a one-month subscription, and you know that they don’t find the service worth it. Your job is to learn why they believe it’s not worth it, and prove to them that it is. If they don’t fully understand the service, you can give them some tips that make it easier to use, or provide more benefits. If they don’t feel like they can afford it, you can offer them some kind of discount where appropriate.
When you know your client, you won’t always need to think about closing because you’ll give them the reasons to keep purchasing.
Think about what your client can do for you.
When you put all of your effort into closing with a client, there’s another major factor you’re forgetting: feedback.
When you have a client who’s content with their product, and continues to purchase from you, their opinion of your product is crucial. I’ve seen hundreds of salespeople land a client who is obviously content with their product and continues to buy it, without asking for feedback or testimonials. They’ve placed so many resources into a client who could be astronomically beneficial to subsequent sales, but never ask for a single word.
They’ve already moved onto the next client.
These responses are just as important as making them a customer, because it’s a chance to provide you with more than just their capital. They can provide you with more prospects in the future.
“Always be closing” places importance on the prospect and not the client. If you’re always focusing on the close, sure you might get more one-time sales, but in the long-term, you’re missing out. When you place more importance on the client, there is so much more they can do for you.
If you do things right, a sale never “closes.”
When salespeople promote the mantra of “always be closing,” they’re promoting a concept that’s toxic to both their business, and their relationships with their customers. They basically end up shooting themselves in the foot, which is what I’m going to have to do if I hear it one more time…
My doctor is going to hate me.
But if you practice great customer success (learning about your clients, promoting further purchases, and requesting their feedback), not only will you grow a better business, you’ll grow a better connection with your client.
Always be learning? Sure. Always be growing? Absolutely. Always be connecting? You bet.
But NEVER be closing.