The essential and only ABC of selling you’ll ever need

abcPay-off: learn 3 ‘ABC’ frameworks – the last of which is perhaps your most important sales framework to keep in mind
Investment: 2 mins

This post follows on from last week’s post on “The 100m learning sprint (towards winning your next sale)” Once you’ve defined the sprint, you can begin to look at how you’ll tackle it. And a great way to start at the highest level is to know your sales ABC’s (especially the last of the three!)

A short history of sales ABC’s

ABC 1 – Alec Baldwin

Remember the old school ‘ABC of selling?’ Ever seen the excellent movie Glengarry Glen Ross where Alec Baldwin’s aggressive character introduces ‘the ABC’ of selling as:

Always Be Closing!

The video might amuse (don’t try this approach at home) and keep in mind there’s some colourful language in it:

And we wonder why sales people got a bad name.

The most commonly requested sales advice?

And, it’s a shame to me that even today perhaps the most common sales question I’m asked is ‘how do I close better?’

Of course, if you’re focusing on the close, you’re focusing on the wrong thing.

Sales are closed early, by the customer ideally, when you do an excellent job at helping your buyer determine the right fit and value for their unique requirements.

You close better by qualifying better.

ABC 2 – Dan Pink

Then Dan Pink recently came along with ‘the new ABC of selling’:

Attunement – aligning yourself, with your customer, seeing out of their eyes, empathising

Buoyancy – staying afloat when constantly rejected

Clarity – seeing other problems to solve beyond the obvious, making sense of things

Much better.

But if I’m honest, I’m surprised these were pulled out as the main three points of selling for non-sales people in his book “To Sell is Human”.

They’re relevant for sure, but I don’t feel they’re particularly practical to string into a useful framework. Great book of his though, so worth a read.

ABC 3 – My own ABC of selling

So here’s my own ABC of selling:

“Learn where your customer is At and meet them there, learn where they want to Be, and learn the Challenges (from both your perspectives) that are stopping them from getting there effectively and efficiently”.


At – what’s going on, what are they thinking and feeling, how well equipped/capable are they etc?

Be – what do they want to happen or achieve? What’s important? What fixes do they want? What pains do they want removed? How will they know they have succeeded?

Challenges – why are they not there already? What’s holding them back? What would help them get there faster, more easily, or cost effectively? What would have to change? Who will make those changes?

And you could add a ‘D‘ to this – ‘Do‘ as in, now you and they know the ABC, what will they DO? What are their options and confirmed plan of attack?

Use this on your next sale

Learn the ABC for the next sale you’re trying to make, and your buyer will feel listened to and understood. They should trust you, your approach, and hopefully your advice. You’ll have aligned yourself with them, and you can then begin to suggest options and solutions to help them get from A to B effectively whilst navigating or avoiding their challenges.

And if your solutions and options don’t assist them in doing that, you’re trying to sell the wrong thing to the wrong person. Move on!

That’s the ABC worth committing to memory and using.

If you followed last week’s short lesson, why not start brainstorming the A, B and C of the person you’re selling to next?

We’ll pick up on this next week. Sign up to the posts if you want to be notified (top or side of screen).

P.S. If you’re in the UK and have a team of technical consultants or non-sales people who could use some support to improve how they sell and develop your business, I can probably help. I’m here.

Scroll to Top