For many years, reps hung their hat on the famous saying from the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross: “Always be closing.”
But more than 20 years later, this advice has become outdated. If you think you should ABC, then you will always fail.
As times have changed, buyers have become savvy. They expect more from salespeople and they look to their sales partners as strategic advisors. They expect you to understand their business, their industry, their business problems and how your solution can help solve those problems. This means you need to consistently reinforce this value-add – your solution – throughout the sales process. This requires more thoughtfulness, more preparation and more time.
At our last company, RainKing, we didn’t teach ABC. Instead, we taught our sales professionals to Always Add Value – AAV — on every touchpoint.
We were never ‘touching base’ or ‘following up’. We were adding incremental value with every client interaction, whether this was a call or an email. In a very competitive industry, it was critical that our salesmanship was superior to our competitors’.
To AAV, it’s important to start by doing your research on the business. Understand, in-depth, the company’s industry and their marketplace. Know the different products or services that they sell and who they sell them to. Know who their competitors are and how the market perceives them – this is the first step to figuring out their challenges and how your product can help them. Use their website, LinkedIn, and tools like Gartner, Forrester and G2 Crowd as data sources.
The more you research, the better prepared you will be to add value.
If you are not adding value with every single communication, you are not moving your deal forward. Instead, you are lengthening your sales cycle, diminishing your reputation, and putting the opportunity in jeopardy.
How can you add value? First, you should personalize your pitch for each customer. Adapt your pitch for their specific needs based on your research. If you understand their business, then you can understand how your solution will help them.
Second, ask thoughtful and leading questions throughout the sales process. “Selling” is about listening as much as speaking. Your prospect’s answers will help you tailor your pitch as the process continues.
Third, be tactfully aggressive when asking for the business. There is a difference between being confident and knowledgeable and being arrogant and pushy. Recognize when you need to soften your approach or when a prospect responds better to more aggressive selling.
If you ALWAYS ADD VALUE to the conversation, you’ll end up closing a lot of deals. But if you approach sales with the close being the goal, instead of the value, you’ll impede your success.
Ready to apply AAV to your sales routine? If you’re making cold calls, you can check out our guide on the Cold Calling Basics: How Sales Reps Can Maximize Valuable Interactions