ABC is the age-old sales acronym for Always Be Closing. I’m not going to tell you that you should be hard-selling every person you talk to. What I’m going to tell you is quite the opposite. The goal is still the same, though: Sales.
If you are not closing sales, you will not be in business.
I want to refer to something I call ABC & M . Why I call it that is simple. Without marketing, you won’t have anyone “walking on the lot,” as they say in the car business. You have no one to close without marketing. Marketing is about getting attention and building relationships. Once that happens, someone still has to close the deal. If you own your business, a lot of times, that person is you.
If you are not the person doing the selling, then you need to train your sales staff to keep the relationship you have built with your marketing and make sure that your marketing efforts are not going to waste.[Tweet “#ABCM Always Be Closing & Marketing. #coffeeisforclosers gets an update.”]
Without a sales process to back up your marketing, you’re going to be throwing a lot of money down the toilet. Sales and Marketing need to work together, even in a one-person business.
Always Be Closing
Not a lot of people know that I (Matt) spent 7 years in commission sales; I spent them in high volume, electronics store sales. The owner of the now by-gone chain of car stereo and home theater stores came from a used car sales background. He pounded high-pressure sales into his staff relentlessly, much like the video clip below.
In the 1990s, high end car stereo and home theater was all the rage. Huge systems with thousands of watts of power and TVs that weighed as much as a farm animal were highly sought after. (Flat screens had not been invented for commercial televisions yet.) Laser Disc was replacing VHS for video and CD Disc Changers were just coming into style.
It was a golden age of power for the Hair Band lovers who were now getting older and having homes and families of their own, but still wanted to hang on to that piece of their partying past. Break-dancing Music had just made the jump to Rap and Hip Hop with lots and lots of stereo bass. Back in the day when it truly was All About That Bass.
We had a rough script we used that I always thought was cheesy and made me sound like an insincere a-hole:
“Hey there, how you doing today? (Make quick small talk) Nice day out there today! You must be enjoying that sunshine! (Compliment Customer) Dude, nice shirt. Where’d you get that? (introduction) My name is Matt and you are? (shake hands) Nice to meet you (insert customer name). So what brings you in today?”
..and on it went. It’s not terrible but after running through it daily for months, it just gets old and stale. Once I got past the initial part and I could get my customers out of ear-shot of a sales floor manager, I could finally go back to being a real person.
I would find out what people were interested in and talk to them like real people. Usually they were nice people; I would chit chat with them like I met them in a casual situation and build a relationship with them. This rapport would allow me to find out what they really wanted, give them the options of products and pricing, and nail down a product for them that would best suit their needs.
My customers loved me. My sales manager did not.
I wasn’t busting out the highest margin products or pounding boxes out the door like a machine. But over time, I built a large, loyal customer base who would come back repeatedly. Also, I had the lowest return rate in the store.
So what does this have to do with Always Be Closing?
What I had stumbled upon was the future of online sales and marketing, though I did not realize it at the time. Building Relationships and Trust.
I educated myself on products constantly. I knew the features, I knew what they could do or not do, and could match the customer to the best product to solve their problem or suit their need. I was an authority on the products and my customers knew it.[Tweet “How #ContentMarketing can merge your Sales and Marketing to “Always Be Closing.””]
Merging Your Sales and Marketing
When you are posting to social media, blogging, writing articles, going to networking events, and ultimately dealing with potential customers, you need to building that relationship. This relationship needs to be built, even if different people are involved in the process. Ask yourself:
- Are you answering their questions?
- Are you giving them valuable information?
- Are you authentically interested in their well being?
- Are you available to interact with your customers?
By reaching out to your potential customers through Content Marketing, you are building an audience. By consistently giving them useful or entertaining information, and engaging with them, you are building a relationship.
When it comes time to “close the deal” you already have their attention and their trust.
You don’t need sales gimmicks and scripts or high-pressure tactics any more.
They know you and your business. They have a problem to solve or a want to fulfill and they will already know that you are the person to fill that need.
By building a long term relationship with your potential clients through your marketing efforts you ARE “always closing.”
Always Be Closing & Marketing and you will get long-term, repeat customers who will use your products or services and make your sales job a lot easier.
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