You have probably heard “ABC, Always Be Closing”. A phrase made famous by the cult-classic film Glengarry Glen Ross. There’s an epic scene where Alec Baldwin belligerently lectures a group of underperforming salespeople. He tells them that they should “ABC, Always Be Closing”.
All drama aside, there are some good messages in the movie, and ABC is one of them. Alec Baldwin’s character refers to closing as getting final signature on a contract. But I think of closing more broadly.
When I meet with a prospect my strategy is to understand their role, how decision making works at their company, and what problem they need to solve. My close may be to get their commitment to a second meeting that includes the decision makers so that I can confirm their priorities, approval process, and discuss solution options.
I don’t ever try to “close the deal” in the first meeting – business doesn’t work that way in my industry. But I do close the next step, which is a meeting with the right people and agenda.
Every time I have a touch point, I’m driving toward some kind of close. It’s a great habit and makes my messaging more purposeful. Before I hold a meeting, pick up the phone, or even send an email I pause and think, “What will be the next step in moving forward?” This discipline shapes every aspect of my thinking, actions, and planning.
My customers benefit from this approach. They give me time from their over-tasked day and it’s not because they need a new lunch buddy. Their agenda is to gain business insights from my unique perspective of their industry and understand how my solution will address their problem. Additionally, they are evaluating me, my awareness of their priorities, and my ability to get things done.
To me, ABC means:
- Being purposeful with every connection (never call to just “touch base”)
- Adding value in every conversation (always deliver useful information)
- Pressing forward throughout the cycle (lead to the most constructive next step)
I help my customer come to their final conclusion. Even if I’m not looking to be the selected vendor, I help them come to that determination confidently. That may sound scary, but customers are blown away at how professional and efficient this approach is which makes them want to do business with me. That alone has helped me win the deal – which is the final close.