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The Death of "Always Be Closing"


Who could forget that famous sales scene from Glengarry Glen Ross where Alec Baldwin storms into a branch office of a real estate firm and runs roughshod over a group of excuse-laden, non-performing sales people. After berating the group and telling them that they are all fired, Baldwin then says they have one week to get their jobs back. The only thing that matters, he said, “is to get the person to sign on the line which is dotted!

Baldwin then flips the chalkboard and exhorts, “A—Always, B—Be, C—Closing! ALWAYS BE CLOSING!!

Sit back and think for a minute… how many times you have heard a sales manager repeat that statement over the last five years. If it is once, that is one time too many.

In today’s social networking/consultative selling world, movies like Boiler Room and Glengarry Glen Ross are nothing more than entertaining views of how self-centered sales was in the past, leading to jokes like, “What do you call 100 sales people at the bottom of the ocean…? A good start!” (or was that lawyers?)

Always Be Closing is dead. It is sad...we never gave it a proper funeral.

The good news is; it has been replaced. The bad news is that it has been replaced with a really bad acronym: SOCPAWSOO. Let’s break it down…SOC-PAW-SOO.

No, it is not some sort of Native America Indian term…although it does sound like it could be. It is nine simple words strung together that gives us purpose, meaning and trusted advisor status in the eyes of our customers.

What are those words?


That’s it. That is the purpose and the meaning for every sales professional. And I did say professional.

If we solve our customers’ problems which may include…

  • Growth

  • Increase efficiency

  • Increase productivity

  • Reduce day to day friction

  • Meeting deadlines

  • Preventing future problems

  • Maintain a sense of well being

…we’ll solve our own. What are our problems? Put simply, making our revenue and margin targets---profitable growth.

Do you know what the difference is between the successful salesperson and the unsuccessful sales person is?

“The Successful salesperson is in the habit of doing things the unsuccessful sales person doesn’t do.”

It’s those three little words… in the habit.

The successful salesperson is in the habit of solving their customer’s problems through mastering these five skills:

  1. Social networking: they invest in the relationship. They research their prospect. They understand their background interests, etc.

  2. Operating reality: they are always in the customer’s operating reality. They see problems/opportunities as they appear through the customer’s eyes. They understand their company’s products/services and how they could potentially solve their customer’s challenges

  3. Active listening: they understand they have two ears and one mouth for a reason. They make sure they do twice as much listening as talking so they can truly understand customer needs.

  4. Effective questioning: they recognize that asking the right questions is the strongest form of problem solving. It shows you understand their operating reality, illustrates empathy, and forces the customer to think of you differently.

  5. Objection handling: they don’t fear objections. They see objections as merely a request for more information.

While I am fairly certain that SOCPAWSOO will not become an everyday sales term, I truly believe that those nine words are the foundation for any sales training program. If you are a three letter acronym fan, we can reduce it to: “A—Always, B—Be, S—Solving. ABS—Always be solving.

At Butler Street, our training programs DO NOT teach people how to close. We help companies and their people grow® by mastering the five skills outlined above. The companies we work with grow 4X their respective markets. Not achieving those kinds of results? Click on CONTACT, we would love to learn more about you, your company and your challenges.

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