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Sales Tips: The ABC’s of Selling


I love the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s tough times for the Chicago Real Estate office. Blake (played by Alec Baldwin) challenges the sales team to a contest. The prizes? 1 st place gets the Cadillac El Dorado. 2nd place gets a set of steak knives. And 3rd place- you get the sack – you’re fired! Blake sports his Rolex and preaches to the team the ABC’s of selling – Always Be Closing!

Does Always Be Closing work in this day and age? I don’t think so. As I mentioned in a previous article, Daniel Pink’s book “To Sell is Human”, customers are more knowledgeable than ever before. All they need to do is Google what they want on the internet and in no time they can be experts in their search for a solution. Plus, they have more options. Supply has overcome demand in this day and age.

Daniel Pink suggests that ABC should now be the acronym for Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. Let’s look at what each of these mean.

Attunement is focusing on your customer from their perspective. As Daniel Pink says it, “attunement is bringing one’s actions and outlook into harmony” with the customer. We need to identify to the customer’s personality style? How do they like to be approached? How do they make decisions, how do they prefer to communicate and what is the perceived value based on their personality?

Attunement is adapting to what’s comfortable for them. Another way to say this is to mimic or mirror how they behave. People tend to do business with people like themselves. I like me; therefore I would do business with me. It’s always better to view the customer from their perspective. This way we are more aware of what they are saying and how they are relating to us.

Another key point to attunement is realizing that customer’s make decisions with their heart as much as their head. Another way to say it is that perspective is just as important as empathy. But then again some personality styles (Orange and Blue being right brained) are more attuned to empathy and (Gold and Green being left brain) are more attuned to perspective.

Buoyancy is the ability to role with the punches. How do we handle concerns and objectives?

Even more importantly, how do you handle rejection? Buoyancy is the ability to bounce back from a setback. The best sales people are buoyant. Part of buoyancy is being optimistic and customers are more amenable to sales people that are upbeat.

The last point is clarity. Clarity helps the customer decide. Clarity is contrast. Your customer says your price is too high. Our response is compared to what? How do you make your solution standout as the best? How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

Daniel Pink tells a story of how a blind man is sitting in a park and has a sign saying “I am blind”.

No one throughout the day stops to put money in his cup. Someone stops by and asks the man if he can add a few words to his sign. The blind man says sure. After adding the words the man comes back to check on the blind man’s cup and finds that it is overflowing. What did the man add to the sign? Just 3 words. It is springtime. This is not just clarity but context. By adding it is springtime to I am blind, it created empathy by those that walked by for the blind man. How beautiful to see the blooming flowers and trees and this man cannot see it.

How to you bring clarity to your solution? Are you buoyant in dealing with your customers? DO you adapt to their style. All 3 of these are critical to your sale success.

Good selling!
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Stu Schlackman works internationally to help companies involved in long-term relationship selling achieve greater results. He is the author of Don’t Just Stand There, Sell Something and Four People You Should Know. Visit him at Competitive-Excellence.com.