If you look back at selling throughout history, not that long ago it was a very different kind of endeavor. Think back about 100 years ago: People had an icebox on a back porch and someone would come by and drop ice in it. When refrigerators came along, an entire market needed to be made. The people who sold refrigerators in the business- to-consumer (B2C) world had to be a bit forceful in trying to convince someone to buy a refrigerator. Buyers would think, “My whole family lived their entire life without having a refrigerator. Why do I need that?”
The business model for B2C and B2B involved hiring more aggressive and hungry sales reps that could actually get people to buy something. This was called "selling someone.” You didn't sell them an outcome, you actually sold them.
Over time, the power has shifted in both B2B and B2C sales. Buyers have all of that information and more access to alternatives. You can’t be self-oriented and pushy anymore. Those behaviors might have served sales organizations well in the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s, maybe even the ’80s. Now, they will absolutely destroy your ability to sell.
The key to successful B2B selling and closing is becoming a bit softer while also being more direct and much more consultative. However, the aggressiveness hasn’t disappeared — it’s transformed. Sales reps must be aggressive in how they create value for a customer rather than what’s best for the rep (and their numbers).
But let’s face it. We’re in sales — we still have to close deals. What's happened to closing is that we've gone from "always be closing" to "never be closing." However, the pendulum is swinging back the other way because “never be closing” is just as bad an idea as “always be closing.”