Old Sales Maxims Should Be Tossed

Rules And Maxims

Maxims haunt the sales industry. The A-B-Cs of Selling, “Always Be Closing” continues to gain play. Especially with the young. Who hear it from the old.

Maxims are typically worn-out, cycled-through methods that no longer apply to the modern world. Yet, they continue to be used, because they are comfort food for the old, to pass onto the young.

Too many sales offices and with too many sales trainers and sales managers, the old horn: “Always Be Closing” still holds sway, despite a lack of metrics behind the maxim itself.

A-B-Cs of Selling Have Tired

There is a lot that is wrong with this advice, but I want to just point out the biggest reason. If you are always closing someone, you never know anything about how you can really help them. And at the end of the day, either we are creating value for our clients or we aren’t.

If we are creating value, we will keep and grow our customer base. If we are not, we will not continue to grow our customer base.

Does A-B-Cs of Selling Hurt Sales Culture?

Besides, the A-B-Cs of Selling don’t really fit the culture of our current business and buying climate where people have so many options. Even the slightest feeling of apprehension when dealing with a salesperson will push a buyer away from a sale.

So what is a salesperson to do, if they can’t always be closing? Simple! Use your head…here’s a few ways to do just that.

Prospecting Strategically

In many sales offices, the only prospecting you know of and hear about is cold calling off an undifferentiated list of prospects. Which is just a terrible way to prospect.


Because everyone uses caller ID now, so what used to be a thankless job is even worse now. And the worst thing is, every now and then you may actually get a win on the cold call front…which really only makes the cold calling at all costs crowd even braver.

Instead of being a ‘cold call at all costs’ crowd, think strategically by asking yourself a set of simple questions.

Evaluating The Cost

What kind of value is my target customer going to gain from coming to a game?

Who is the right kind of buyer for this seat, suite, or package?

What ways can I reach this person?

These questions are going to guide you to a whole different set of ideas and answers.

Referral Frequency

Seriously, when was the last time you asked a buyer for a referral? Or when was the last time someone offered you a referral?

The answer is probably “not too recently”, if we are being honest with ourselves.

Why is that? Likely because you aren’t focusing on getting the referrals or asking for them.

So how do you get more referrals? Simple: you start making a concerted effort to get them.

The first step is to ask for them.

Priming The Referral Pump

Start referring people to other service providers.

Build a schedule that prompts you to ask for referrals.

Set up the expectation of referrals at the start.

Lifetime Customer Value

Too often we get trapped in having to make a sale today because we need to hit our numbers. This is good because if you hit your numbers, you keep your job. But by always looking at your sales career as a numbers game, you fail to ever consider the long-term value of a customer to you and your organization.

One of the big failures of our sales careers is not taking advantage of the customers we already have by never working to understand and grow our relationships with them.

Deeper Than A Passing Judgment

“You are a single ticket buyer, but I can never see you as a season ticket buyer so you stay in the single ticket buyer silo.”

Even if that person just started a business that is taking off and wants to buy tickets to entertain clients with.

“You are always an upper bowl buyer” or “Corporations only do this.”

So on and so on.

Build Relationships, Not Maxims

Don’t focus on maxims. Focus on relationships. Your job as a salesperson is to build relationships with your buyers and to grow those relationships over time to be of more and higher value. As you grow, the relationships with the buyers should grow.

Will this be 100%? No. But there will be a tremendous opportunity for growth and long-term value if you pay attention.

Dave Wakeman

Dave Wakeman is a globally recognized expert in the areas of revenue, strategy, and marketing. His consulting firm, Wakeman Consulting Group, has attracted clients like Odwalla, Yellow Tail Wines, the US Department of State, American Express, Madison Square Garden, and Volunteers of America. Wakeman will be teaching "Making The Strategic Sale" at the Sports Sales Boot Camp in Pittsburgh on June 28, 2016.

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