Coffee is for Closers

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Now for something totally different. I just watched Glengarry Glen Ross for the first time – maybe the last time. I haven’t felt so empty since I read Death of a Salesman. This is based on a play by David Manet, whom I do not know. Actually now I do know him. He is erudite and cynical. He is skeptical of capitalism and surely believes that no one wins unless others lose. The doctor dropped him on his head when he was born and he has never gotten over it. The play is about a cutthroat sales environment where number one gets the new car, number two gets the steak knives. Numbers 3 and down all get fired. No pressure. Besides they are selling real estate that is probably not worth the price. Can you spell s-l-e-a-z-y? But the whole movie is worth it for the one great line “Coffee is for Closers, only!”

Now put this next to some of the great sales training I have seen and read lately. The win-win strategy. No one wins unless all win. Every deal enlarges everybody’s piece of the pie. What is the pain and how can I help? When the customer is about to sign, pull the contract back and say “are you sure?”. “Is there any issue that has not been addressed to your satisfaction?” “Can you think of anything that will come up tomorrow that will cause you to change your mind?” I am not selling – I am buying. I want to buy the pain you have using the services I have for currency. I hear and understand what your issues are. I have convinced you that we will totally deal with those issues and you have convinced yourself that you do not have the spare resources to do it better or cheaper. This is selling in a free market among professionals. Right?

Then I make the mistake of telling my lovely wife about the movie along with an insight I had about how to close one of my accounts by creating a sense of urgency that was not there before. The next thing I notice is that I cant find the coffee!

Where is the coffee?

You guessed it. From the other room I hear “Coffee is for Closers!”



About the Author:

While I was at Stanford, I got to know Dr. William Schockley, the inventor of the transistor. While at Bell Labs I produced the first computer generated animation, I worked on the first packet switch and the first picture-phone. I worked with the inventors of Unix and C. I produced multiple compilers, operating systems and microcode. I worked with the Snobal language - the precursor to Perl and Ramis the precursor to SQL. The building I worked in was home for 5000 of the smartest people in the industry. We had Phd's cutting the grass. (just kidding). I never had it so good again. Today that building is empty and for sale. After the Bell System, I spent 25 years in the satellite industry. I led development teams in the VSAT industry. I started and grew early stage companies in this industry. Recently I have been involved in cloud computing startups focused on infrastructure and virtual desktops.
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