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.

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