Why Your Sales Mantra Should Be “Always Be Helping” Instead of “Always Be Closing”

Most sales people and marketers are familiar with the phrase “Always be closing,” borrowed from the film version of David Mamet’s play, GlenGarry Glen Ross. In the movie, Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, is a cutthroat, intimidating sales manager, who says salespeople should A-B-C.

“A-B-C. A – Always, B – Be, C – Closing. Always be closing. ALWAYS BE CLOSING.”

The movie is an extreme view of sales pressures from the past, but “ABC” became a popular catchphrase because it’s to the point, easy to remember, and was thought to capture what sales people are hired to do. But is this the best advice for today’s sales reps? No, definitely not.

Blake’s school of thought ignores buyer needs entirely and places the salesperson at the center of the process. Unfortunately for him (but fortunately for everyone else—that guy was awful!), the internet has made it incredibly easy for your prospects to compare you to your competitors and read reviews of your services. That’s why it’s important to let go of any strategies that involve forcing products on your prospects that they don’t want or need. Selling to customers who aren’t a good fit for your business will lead to low satisfaction and poor reviews – making it much more difficult to gain customers moving forward—even ones you could have helped.

Give up control (or the appearance of control) of the buying process, and instead provide resources and expert guidance as prospects move through the sales funnel. Work with your customers to understand their decision-making process and tailor your process to make it as easy as possible for them to buy.

As a sales person, you should focus on delivering information and expertise. Your job is not to push a product or service, but to educate prospects on its value and how it can solve their specific problems. Understand how you can help your customers, and be authentic in your efforts to do so.

And for those who have seen the movie, we want you to know…Coffee’s now for helpers.