Are you familiar with the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross? Have you watched the “Always be Closing” scene? I’d link it here, but its rating doesn’t fit our blog. The sad thing is a lot of sales training is similar. ABC (Always be Closing) wasn’t written for the movie. The movie borrowed the acronym from sales trainers. In today’s connected world this type of hard sell technique is losing credibility—thank goodness. A good salesperson shouldn’t spend their time ABC’ing they should be ABH’ing (Always be Helping).

Turn Prospects into Clients

One of the surest ways to build a loyal client base and turn prospects into customers is to identify and solve their problems. How do you uncover their challenges? You ask them. You question them face-to-face, or email a survey. You follow up after product delivery and ask if their expectations were met. You ask for their advice and help. To solve your customer’s problems you first have to identify what those problems are.

Be a Detective

The following checklist is your tool of discovery. Not every question will fit every customer, but most will. Use the questions that best suit your client and industry. Keep an open-mind to your customer’s responses. Never react defensively. Even if you believe the customer is wrong, they don’t think so, which means something is wrong. Ask open-ended follow-up questions to their answers—who, what, when, where, how, and why.

 9 Question Customer Problem Identification Checklist

  • How does your business use our product or service?
  • What do you appreciate about our product or service?
  • What improvements would you like to see in our product or service?
  • What would you add to our product or service?
  • What additional products or services should we offer to compliment this product?
  • How could customer service be improved?
  • What would improve communications?
  • How could our product or service delivery be improved?
  • What would make our product or service more appealing to the end user?

Be More than a Closer– Be a Consultant

Asking your customer these questions is a good start, and listening to their answers even better, but that’s only the beginning. Ultimately, the true test is taking action on the information. Finding ways to help your customer and solve their problems will make you a consultant in your customers minds not some Glengarry Glen Ross hard closing sociopathic closer. Who do you think your customer will be most loyal to?