We often kick off introductory sales training with a sanitized version of the opening scene of the film Glenngarry GlennRoss. This is the now famous piece where Alec Baldwin’s character (Blake) demands that Shelly “The Machine” Levine (played by Jack Lemon):
“Put that coffee down! Coffee is for closers.”
Blake goes onto assert that selling is as easy as ABC:
C – Closing
We concur that ABC is a good summary for successful selling. But in our enlightened approach ABC has a starkly different meaning:
C- Creating Value
That film was released nearly thirty years ago. Still the Neanderthal thinking it features has survived in many quarters. Perhaps a good example is the Wells Fargo scandal that came to light in 2016. Due to top-down pressure to close as many deals as possible customers began to notice fees for accounts they never agreed to open. This resulted in an initial $185 million fine and illegal activity on part of the bank is still be investigated.
The irony is that the old ABC never worked in complex business-to-business settings. The new ABC, focusing on creating value, does. It begins with a thorough investigation of your prospect or client. Through this process a salesperson wins permission to serve as a consultant to the clients, as in consultative selling.
We refer to 3 Knowledge as a guide to conducting the investigation. The first dimension is top to bottom knowledge of the client’s organizational structure. Dimension two is learning about the various lines of business or products. Finally, the third dimension is what sets apart the best investigators from the typical ones: learning about the competitive landscape and strategy for each of the product lines.
Today’s buyers smell an old ABC product push a mile away and will object to wasting their valuable time. The key to success is to have 3D knowledge of your client and what in your product repertoire will create value for them.