The ABC’s of Selling

by | Mar 3, 2013 | Sales Strategy

I love the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. It’s tough times for the Chicago Real Estate office. Blake (played by Alec Baldwin) challenges the sales team to a contest. The prizes? 1st place gets the Cadillac El Dorado. 2nd place gets a set of steak knives. And 3rd place- you get the sack – you’re fired! Blake sports his Rolex and preaches to the team about the ABC’s of selling – “Always Be Closing”!

Does “Always Be Closing” work in this day and age? I don’t think so. As I mentioned last month in Daniel Pink’s book “To Sell is Human”, customers are more knowledgeable than ever before. All they need to do is Google their question and in no time they can find many solutions, not just yours. Supply has overcome demand in this day and age.

Daniel Pink suggests that ABC should now be the acronym for Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity. Let’s look at what each of these mean.


Focus on your customers’ perspective. Daniel Pink says, “attunement is bringing one’s actions and outlook into harmony” with the customer. We need to identify the customers’ personality style. How do they like to be approached? How do they make decisions, how do they prefer to communicate and what is the perceived value they seek – based on their personality?

Attunement is adapting to what’s comfortable for them. You want to mirror how they behave. People tend to do business with people like themselves. I like me; therefore I would do business with me. It’s always better to view the opportunity from their perspective.

Attunement is also about understanding that customers make decisions with their heart as much as their head. That is, perspective is just as important as empathy. Some personality styles (Orange and Blue being right brained) are more attuned to empathy and (Gold and Green being left brain) are more attuned to perspective.


Roll with the punches. How do we handle concerns and objectives? Even more importantly, how do you handle rejection? Buoyancy is the ability to bounce back from a setback. The best sales people are buoyant. Part of buoyancy is being optimistic and customers are more amenable to sales people that are upbeat.

Help the customer decide. Clarity is contrast. Your customer says your price is too high. Our response is compared to what? How do you make your solution standout as the best? How do you differentiate yourself from the competition?

Daniel Pink tells a story of how a blind man is sitting in a park and has a sign saying “I am blind”. No one throughout the day stops to put money in his cup. Someone stops by and asks the man if he can add a few words to his sign. The blind man says sure. After adding the words the man comes back to check on the blind man’s cup and finds that it is overflowing. What did the man add to the sign? Just 3 words. “It is springtime”. This is not just clarity but context. By adding it is springtime to I am blind, it creates empathy by those that walked by. They can appreciate the beautiful the blooming flowers and trees, yet this man cannot see it.

21st Century ABC’s

In today’s world, ABC, formerly known as always be closing, stands for:

  • Attunement – focus on their perspective
  • Buoyancy – be optimistic and roll with the punches
  • Clarity – add context

Use these three keys for your sale success.

Good selling!