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It’s time to move from always-be-closing to always-be-helping

8 minutes read

What is Always Be Closing (ABC)

Always Be Closing is a common motivational phrase that encourages salespeople to be persistent and focus the bulk of their energy on seeking out new customers and closing deals.

This sales mantra tells salespeople to focus on sales at all times. Under the always-be-closing method, salespeople should constantly be looking for new prospects, developing pitches, following up with clients, and sealing deals. The idea is that every communication a salesperson has with a client should be driven by the desire to move the client one step closer to the close.

The History of always be closing

The mantra of “always be closing” originally came from a play written by David Mamet that was made into the infamous 1992 film where Blake (Alec Baldwin), a cut-throat salesman, was sent to “motivate” the sales team by instilling fear in them.

The problem with always be closing

The problem with this method is it views clients as objects and does not allow salespeople to focus on building a long-lasting relationship with them.

Clients may view salespeople who adopt this mantra as aggressive, pushy, and unfriendly, which are not exactly attractive qualities.

Fast Forward to now

The age of the internet and social media has turned “always be closing” into an outdated and almost dangerous approach.

Because in today’s day and age, buyers usually do their research and find their answers online before even engaging with a salesperson. This gives a huge power into the buyer’s hands and enables them to dictate the sales process

So, in a buying environment like this, only the salespeople who really know how to help the prospects will succeed in closing more deals at the end of the day.

What is always be helping?

By now, you must have understood why always be closing is out and always be helping is in. But what exactly does “always be helping” entail?

ABH is all about building a relationship with the prospects or clients instead of viewing them as “dollars” or “deals”. This is beneficial for both parties because the customer has a trusted expert and the salesperson knows that their prospect will come to them when they are ready to pull the trigger and make a deal.

This approach encourages salespeople to think about how they can help the clients instead of how they can push them to close the sale. Here the salespeople are required to,

  • Be authentic in their communication with clients
  • Make an effort to get to know the client’s needs and problems
  • And if and only if their product or service seems relevant to the client, the salesperson should move forward in the sales process

Why always be helping should replace always be closing?

Here are some reasons why it is better to use always-be-helping rather than always-be-closing,

  • Buyers have more power now than they did in the past. They no longer rely on their sales representative to give them information about products or services, since much of it can easily be accessed online. Because of this, buyers are more selective about who they work with.

So salespeople should no longer be pushing the buyers to close with every communication. They should focus on helping the buyers and satisfying their needs.

  • The business landscape is highly competitive today. A lot of businesses out there can offer the same solution that you offer. But by adopting the always-be-closing approach, you can make a difference for your clients by providing them a unique and pleasant buying experience. And, trust me, this is going to give you a huge competitive advantage

How to always be helping?

1. Listen to the prospect and identify their problem

Encourage your reps to ask a lot of questions to dig deep and find the pain points or the problems that a prospect is experiencing. The reps need to remember that every meeting is about discovering the client’s problems and helping if this will be a mutually-beneficial relationship, and not about closing the deal.

Their goal should be to provide value for the prospect. This means that after asking questions if they realize that your product or solution is not going to help a prospect then they should move on.

Your reps working on leads that don’t fit within your business offerings is simply throwing away time and money. But, having said this, they also need to make sure that they don’t leave this potential relationship on a sour note. Because you never know when that prospect might have a serious need for your solution and remember your sales rep who has been very helpful to them in the past.

2. Engage the key decision-makers by delivering information and expertise

Now once your rep has determined that a prospect is a qualified lead and they know that your product is a best fit for them, the next step is to educate them about your product. They need to provide the prospect with as much information as they need to get a clear understanding of how your product is going to solve their problem and produce desired results.

They could deliver the information through,

  • Emails
  • E-books
  • Whitepapers
  • Videos
  • Blogs
  • Website content
  • Customer testimonials etc

This way your rep will be able to bring the prospect one step closer to making a purchase decision without exerting pressure

3. Establish trust and confidence with the customers

Establishing trust starts with being authentic when communicating with the prospects. For this authenticity to come out during the conversations, your reps need to shift their mindset from viewing their customers as signed contracts to viewing them as people with whom they want to genuinely build a mutually-beneficial relationship.

The client wants to be heard and respected. So, when they realize in the salesperson’s demeanor and communication that they are not pushing them into a cookie-cutter sales process, their trust will get automatically established and a good relationship will be formed with that sales rep.

Pro-tip: Developing the always-be helping attitude might take a bit of practice for the sales reps. So, make sure that you regularly track your sales reps’ client call recordings and help them develop a consultative sales approach through coaching

4. Tailor your process to make it easy for the customers to buy

Always Be Helping means giving up control of the buying process. But this does not, however, mean that your salespeople must let the prospects drive the bus. Not at all.

Instead, they must try to strike a balance between how your prospect wants the process to play out, and then using their expertise they should guide them in the right direction.

Your sales rep’s value in the sales process is that they, unlike your prospect, have successfully sold this product many times before. The prospect might not know how to get internal buy-in or how to implement a solution like yours and onboard the users.

But your sales reps do. So, they should work with the prospect to understand their decision-making process and the perspectives of all relevant stakeholders, and then use that information to sell your product successfully.

5. Make always be a helping part of your sales culture

Adopting a new process always starts from the top. If your leadership team doesn’t buy into ABH, your sales teams will most likely not follow these best practices either.

To start the adoption process, include "always be helping" in training materials for new employees. That way, they can start to understand how important it is to help customers in their buying journey. You should also provide employees with the resources and tools they will need to make sure they are properly helping.


Keep in mind, that the purpose of ABH isn’t to help your prospect buy your product. Instead, the goal is to help them achieve a certain result or solve a problem.

Teach your reps to make “always be helping” as a mindset while they are selling. And tell them that those who learn to help their prospects will close more deals in the end.

Here is an ultimate guide that helps you practice active listening in sales

The Ultimate Guide to Active Listening in Sales

Learn how to build rapport with your prospects virtually

4 Techniques To Build Rapport Virtually

Learn about the open-ended sales questions that you can ask to get your prospects talking

Open-ended sales questions that your reps can use to get the prospects talking

Learn about the sales and marketing qualified leads and what is the right way to pass them from the marketing team to the sales team

MQL vs SQL: What are they and How do They Differ?

Learn how to overcome your prospects’ resistance

How to overcome Prospects’ Resistance?

Learn about various buyer personas and how can you customize your selling style to appeal to them

The 6 Buyer Personas and how to train your team to sell to them

Explore the concept of buyer-first selling and how it helps improve your sales

How can sales reps adopt a Buyer-first selling approach?

How can managers instill a Buyer-First mindset amongst their team members?

Published on Sat Jul 9 2022

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