Coffee is for Closers

Do you deserve coffee?

At least a dozen times at sales meetings over the past 15 years or so, many sales leaders have trotted out this video snippet from the movie Glengarry Glen Ross and then expounded on its virtues, clearly using it as a great kick in the seat of our pants as salespeople.  I’m here to point out how that this clip (after the jump and NSFW, by the way) is relevant to anyone who has to produce…whether you’re a developer/coder, factory worker, farmer, call center or support person, or in any field where results matter.

Alec Baldwin is on screen for less than seven minutes and, in my and many other people’s views, his is the defining performance of that movie and incredibly powerful. The premise, according to the Wikipedia article about the film, “Early in the movie Blake (Alec Baldwin) is sent by Mitch and Murray (the faceless owners of the real estate office in which the main characters work), to motivate them by announcing, in a torrent of verbal abuse, that only the top two sellers will be allowed the more promising “Glengarry” leads, and everyone else will be fired.” This confrontation sets up the rest of the film: the motivations that the characters feel that this rainy night is a make-or-break one; the reason the incident with the Glengarry leads that occurs later on; and the promise that — if only each salesman was better at closing like Blake — that they could achieve the same sorts of results as a guy that made $920k, drove an $80k BMW and sports a $25k gold Rolex.

Anyone whose been in sales for any length of time knows that there are many variables that enable one to achieve wildly successful sales numbers. An enterprise software salesperson in New York, L.A. or Chicago has more opportunity than one in Kansas City, for example, and top performers are usually in major markets. Same thing holds true for those who sell into vertical markets where they canvas accounts across many geographies.

But any salesperson who has been even modestly successful also knows one fundamental truth, and it’s a truth that cuts across all professions and labors.

That fundamental truth is this: it is up to each of us to make it happen. To get results. To create opportunities. As a salesperson to “help people buy” rather than shove products or solutions down their throat. To ABC (Always Be Closing) since if you don’t ask for the order…you won’t get it. To create and deliver not just results….but rock solid ones. TO STOP WHINING AND SAYING ‘OH…WOE IS ME’ TO ANYONE WHO WILL LISTEN AND STOP MAKING EXCUSES FOR THE LACK OF RESULTS.

Same thing holds true for other professions. Let’s say you are a developer creating a web or mobile application. You find it a challenge, stay up all night several times per week, work weekends, and do so for months to get the thing out the door. But there are so many bugs in the software, or you didn’t pay attention to details of the user interface, that the end user experience is horrible! People stop buying and word-of-mouth means your creation fails.

Or you’re a call center support person who answers the phone like you could give a sh*t, barely help the person at the other end, and do your best just to get off the phone and word gets around that the company offers horrendous customer service (and “customer service is the new marketing” as many now believe in a day of social media). Or you’re a factory worker that builds products and you do just the base-case work on them. The fit-n-finish isn’t that great and eventually the quality of the overall solution this product fits within sees sales drop because it’s now crappy and you come up with all sorts of excuses why it failed and it was your failure.

The lesson for all of us with Alec Baldwin’s tirade is crystal clear: it’s the results that matter and YOU are the person that gets them!

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About Steve Borsch

Strategist. Learner. Idea Guy. Salesman. Connector of Dots. Friend. Husband & Dad. CEO. Janitor. More here.

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Connecting the Dots Podcast

Podcasting hit the mainstream in July of 2005 when Apple added podcast show support within iTunes. I'd seen this coming so started podcasting in May of 2005 and kept going until August of 2007. Unfortunately was never 'discovered' by national broadcasters, but made a delightfully large number of connections with people all over the world because of these shows. Click here to view the archive of my podcast posts.