We had the opportunity of launching a new online sales training client in Victoria, British Columbia recently.  In our discussions, the topic of closing techniques came up several times.  I suggested that the ABCs of sales have changed.  Some of our favorite celebrities can teach us a lot about what it takes to be a top performing Salesperson.

If you’ve watched the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, you know the character played by Alec Baldwin is a pushy, arrogant egomaniac who attempts to motivate a team of Salespeople to close more business.  He professes the ABCs of Sales to be “Always Be Closing.”  If watching it on YouTube, beware of its vulgarity.  While it’s a cult classic in the sales industry, it’s horrible advice for Salespeople who are attempting to build strong relationships with their clients in hopes of getting repeat business and referrals.

Asking for the Business

Yes – Professional Salespeople need to have the confidence to ask for the business.  Sales success doesn’t come to those who cower at the thought of trying to get a client’s commitment.  Yet, ask yourself this question – when is the last time you had a pleasurable experience being closed on?

No one likes closing

It’s my opinion that neither the customer nor the Salesperson enjoy closing techniques. Unfortunately, too many Salespeople and Sales Managers feel it’s a necessary part of the sales process.  How else do you get the business?

Salespeople Can Learn from Celebrities to Make More Sales

The job of a talk show host is to  extract information from their guests for the entertainment value of their audience.  Many of these great personalities have a way of making their guests feel so comfortable that they forget about the mic or camera that is communicating their interview to millions of people.  Through the use of rapport, confidence and trust, these hosts are allowed to ask difficult, personal questions and get straight answers from newsmakers who may not have even been that honest with themselves.

The Job of a Salesperson

We are given the task of building a relationship with our customers to find out their needs and do our best to help them.   That’s why the new ABCs of Sales is Always Be Connecting.  If we connect with decision makers in a sincere, genuine way we are more likely to do business with them.  We also must ask discovery and high trust questions in order to get authentic answers.  This is despite the bad image and stigma our industry faces.  Let’s be frank – we need our clients to forget for a moment that we are enticing them to buy from us in hopes that they will trust us with their best interests.  And you thought the job of talk show host was tough!

How do they do it?

I have been very fortunate to have worked in two industries in my career – broadcasting and sales.  By learning the techniques of successful reporters and interviewers I was able to then apply that knowledge to sales. I’ve seen hundreds of top-performing Salespeople use the same techniques employed by great broadcasters.  I truly believe that both groups are unaware of the similarity in their communication techniques.

The Five Success Skills

There are five skills used in the art of communication.  When used together, they build strong relationships based on trust.  They allow people to feel comfortable sharing confidential information in a non-threatening way.  These skills are practical and have widespread use in business and personal applications and are the basis of understanding people’s perspectives.

#1 – Asking Great Questions:  Great questions result in great answers

#2 – Actively Listening:  Hearing the words used and emotions expressed

#3 – Paraphrasing:  Repeating what you heard in your words for clarity of communication

#4 – Summarizing:  Understand the full perspective of the conversation

#5 – Positive Personality Projection:  Being warm, sincere and authentic


A few years back Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker, wrote a blog post on The 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.  It went viral receiving over an amazing 10 million views.  She is now a contributor on Forbes.com.  Here’s her story on The Five Success Skills and their applicability in sales, business and personal life.

Forbes.com – Communication Lessons from a Sales Trainer:  Stop Talking and Start Listening

My Takeaway

Communication is the basis of understanding.  The greatest power of influence is your ability to listen.  Whether you are in sales or simply convincing people to adopt your ideas at the office or at home, your success starts with understanding other people’s perspectives.  Investing time in realizing why they feel the way they do is a practise that is appreciated and often returned.  Next time you have a difference in opinion, stop trying to convince the other person that you are right.  That usually just intensifies the disagreement.  Use the Five Skills to understand his or her viewpoint and disarm the emotions.  You may find them more open to return the gesture.

What do you think?  I’m interested in your thoughts and application of The Five Success Skills.  If you liked this post, shared it your social media platform.

These skills are detailed in my book, SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money.  It’s designed as a practical guide for Professional Salespeople who wish to build strong relationships with their clients for repeat business and referrals.

Thanks for reading!


Dave Warawa – PROSALESGUY 



Shut Up! Cover Photo Kindle - FINAL!


Author of SHUT UP! Stop Talking and Start Making Money

Available on Kindle and paperback.  

Click the link for a preview of the book

and its  5 Star reviews.