“As you all know, first prize is Cadillac Eldorado. Anybody wanna see second prize? Second prize’s a set of steak knives. Third prize is you’re fired. Do you get the picture? Are you laughing now?” Blake, Glengarry Glen Ross
Do you remember Alec Baldwin’s obnoxious character in this Glengarry Glen Ross classic?
If you are in sales and have never seen this movie, I highly recommend it — experience the story of four struggling salesmen who regularly receive lousy leads on real estate buyers and try to use every dishonest technique to lure their prospects into the sale. Everything is depressing in this movie. Dark rainy days serve as a backdrop. The salesmen’s calls are pure agony, and their tactics form the classic stereotype of bad salesmen.
To make things worse, their office manager, artfully played by Kevin Spacey, sends in reinforcement, Blake (Alec Baldwin), a representative of the owners of the real estate firm where these salesmen work, to teach these men what a real salesman is.
Blake begins with a tirade of verbal abuse and pushes the salesmen to the limit. He promises to fire them all if they don’t produce any sales. Then he reveals the magic formula of “A-B-C: A-Always, B-Be, C-Closing.” The terrified salesmen have no choice but to follow.
I do hope that you never meet a jerk like Blake in your life — however, you probably could use his ABC principle for whatever project you are involved in. What does “always be closing” mean for your business?
As a fundraiser or business development manager, I have always followed this principle. It does not mean that you need to become a leech and beg/demand/manipulate your clients and customers.
Rather, it has to simply become your mindset to follow up on every single lead you have. You have to focus single-mindedly on this. How many times have I seen people who can’t concentrate on follow-through! It is unbelievable.
Yet before the ABC principle comes into play, you have to actually generate those leads.
Let me share with you three powerful sales tools I use every day to make things happen. They are:
LinkedIn is by far the winner of the race, because I see the most ROI coming from this large professional network. If you haven’t yet optimized your profile on LinkedIn, it is time to do it. I’ll share some tips on helping to make your profile more visible in a different post.
My work day begins and ends with LinkedIn. I start by updating my activity status and placing links to useful articles and events that might benefit my contacts. This immediately increases traffic to my site and my profile. Then I dedicate time to locate leads by doing advanced searches, using various keywords. I usually cap my leads to 50, and then begin to dig deeper into each profile, understanding the person’s connections and seeing where we have contacts or projects in common.
After I feel that I am ready for the next step, I begin to construct my direct LinkedIn message to these leads. In the message it is important to be concise and to the point. Very often I see people who simply bury their most important message (why are you actually writing to me??) in the end. Make sure that you introduce the reason for contacting this person straight away. After you hit the send button, make a note in your CRM system, and don’t forget to follow-up.
(If you are interested in learning more about the power of LinkedIn, please let me know. I will be happy to work with you. Check my profile on LinkedIn.)
#2. Off-line Networking
Naturally, nobody can achieve all their goals by simply working online. You need to get out and greet and grip. I personally prefer focused networking events, like thematic trade shows or conferences, where you could easily find a decision maker of the company, or a manager that you needed to connect with.
My principle here is to be prepared. This means that you have to know your elevator speech, make sure that you actually listen to your counterpart and don’t forget to offer something of value to your possible business client.
How many times do you hear major sales pitches at these events? And it’s really not that difficult to simply listen to your business contact, make a thoughtful comment and find out as much as you can about his or her business. That is all. You will talk about your business when your new prospect asks you.
If you supplement your LinkedIn outreach by targeted offline networking, you’re on your way to making your sales quota this month.
#3. Real Phone Calls
It is amazing how difficult it is to ask the Millennial to pick up the phone and make a call! And yet this is a simple and proven method to make the first successful connection. I call potential sponsors, I call donors and foundations, I call alumni to raise funds. And it works if you are prepared.
In my experience, calling produces 40 per cent of my business. And yes, the ABC principle can work here perfectly if you follow these simple tactics:
– Stand up when you call. Smile. Try to imagine that you are talking to your counterpart face to face.
– Have a notebook ready when you speak. Scribble your notes as you listen.
– Thank your counterpart for the time, and make sure that you follow-up with a handwritten thank-you card.
Do you have your favorite sales tools that you use every day? Please share them with me and our readers.