My favorite part of Glengarry Glen Ross is in the beginning when the owners of Premier Properties send Alec Baldwin to blast the sales team for their poor performance. He yells at them to close some deals so they can either win a Cadillac, steak knives, or get fired. He then shouts out the most famous acronym in sales history, A.B.C. Always. Be. Closing.

So, while of course a sales rep needs to close deals and generate revenue, he or she should know that an A.B.C. mindset shouldn’t be used on every opportunity. In your first meeting with a prospect, you should always look to understand what problems they are trying to solve by buying your product. If you don’t feel your product will meet your prospect’s needs, then you need to walk away from the opportunity. Who you sell to can be just as important as how much, because

closing a deal that’s a bad fit, does more harm than good.

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If you know the value of your product doesn’t fit your prospect’s needs then don’t waste time trying to convince them otherwise. Smart salespeople know spending too much time on an opportunity that isn’t a good fit distracts them from the opportunities that are.

Closing Isn’t an End

Suppose you closed a deal, even though the product isn’t really a good fit for your prospect’s needs. Your sale will bring in revenue and new business for the company, so there shouldn’t be a problem, right? The answer is that you have a very big problem, because now

 you’re left with an unhappy customer.

Closing a deal isn’t the end of the revenue cycle, it’s only the beginning. Once you close a deal it becomes your Customer Success team’s job to ensure the customer is successful using the product and renews their contract. Setting your team up with customers who are a bad fit for your product can be stressful, difficult, and time-consuming

for both the customer and the support team.

So now the question is, what does a client usually do when they have a negative experience with a recent purchase?

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It’s a buyer’s market where sales no longer has the upper hand. If someone isn’t happy with a product or service you sold them, you can expect them to go online to let people know about it.

It is a WOM World

Word of mouth marketing can make or break you

…so be sure you don’t have unhappy customers writing bad reviews about your product, or the manner in which it was sold to them.

 

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So yes, sales reps should always be closing deals that need to be closed, but they also need to know when to walk away. The next time you meet with a prospect make sure your product is really the solution they’re looking for. Don’t worry if the deal is killed because the product isn’t a good fit, because as I’ve just shown you, sometimes the right no, is better than the wrong yes.

 

Photo credit Yoel Ben-Avraham