As you know, I leave my serious blogging to the my content for TOPO. When I went to let off some steam, I come over the Funnelholic and write something fun. (I realize I just said I like to write b2b sales and marketing blog posts for fun). BTW, the other day, I was introduced by someone as “formerly the Funnelholic”. I am still the Funnelholic man…just a little less frequently. (:
The most famous sales movie scene of all time has got to be the Alec Baldwin rant in Glengarry Glen Ross. If you haven’t seen it, you can watch below. Just know – it is totally NSFW. PLEASE DO NOT KEEP GOING IF YOU WILL GET OFFENDED.
Anyway, I decided to tear it down through the lens of the modern sales manager. I hope you enjoy:
Alec Baldwin: Let me have your attention for a moment. ‘Cause you’re talkin’ about what…you’re talkin’ ’bout…bitchin’ about that sale you shot, some son of a b*tch don’t want to buy land, somebody don’t want what you’re selling, some broad you’re trying to scr*w, so forth, let’s talk about something important. Are they all here?
Craig: Well, he’s got my attention.
Kevin Spacey: All but one.
Baldwin: Well, I’m going anyway. Let’s talk about something important. (sees Lemmon pouring coffee). Put that coffee down. Coffee’s for closer’s only. You think I’m f*ckin’ with you? I am not f*kin’ with you. I’m here from downtown. I’m here from Mitch and Murray. And I’m here on a mission of mercy. Your name’s Levine?
Jack Lemmon: Yeah.
Baldwin: You call yourself a salesman, you son of a b*tch.
Craig: “Coffee is for closers” is one of the most quoted lines of all time. Couple things – I have been called to the mat in a meeting before. It can be brutal. But really, people don’t do that anymore and that’s clearly a good thing. I really feel for Lemmon here. Why personally attack him? Don’t do that.
PS He’s “here from downtown”. Classic.
Ed Harris: I don’t gotta listen to this sh*t.
Baldwin: You certainly don’t pal ’cause the good news is you’re fired. The bad news is you got all you got, just one week to regain your job, starting with tonight, starting with tonight’s sits. Oh, have I got your attention now? Good. ‘Cause we’re adding a little something to this month’s sale contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado. Anybody want to see second prize? Second prize is a set of steak knives. Third prize is your fired. You get the picture? You laughing now? You got leads. Mitch and Murray paid good money. Get their names to sell them. You can’t close the leads you’re given, you can’t close shit, you are shit, hit the bricks pal and beat it ’cause you are going out.
Craig: There are some key issues in this one. Sales people do respond to challenges but they never respond to threats regarding their job. In today’s world, if you say that to someone, then their resume is up and they are looking. In general, things rarely change – the odds are that the guy who you think isn’t going to make it, won’t.Sales leaders hold out hope and put them on plan or “wait to see how they do with these accounts”. It never changes. I don’t say that cold-heartedly because I say the same thing to sales reps. Like their managers, sales reps try to tough it out. But look if it’s not working, it’s not working – time to move on and find a place where they can succeed. It’s best to be really honest here and move on.
If guys aren’t selling, a prize isn’t going to help them. Often there is a deeper issue that a prize won’t solve like product-market-fit, bad sales people, etc. I met a struggling company the other day that had 1 rep out of 12 hit their number. Their solution was to “fix” this with trip to Costa Rica for the number one person. Don’t get me wrong, I am down with competitions. However, I like them for the fun and extra competition they drive. BUT prizes are not a solution to a problem. Fix that first and use prizes so reps get 150% of quota not 100% of quota. The rep at 20% should be selling because 100% of quota is their job. A new El Dorado ain’t going to help. If they are lazy, why are they working there?
“You can’t close the leads” – demand gen people everywhere love this one. See below
Lemmon: The leads are weak.
Craig: Yep. That’s the response every time…
Baldwin: The leads are weak. The fuckin’ leads are weak? You’re weak. I’ve been in this business 15 years …
Craig: Ok, I’ll make a point: Find the truth here. Look at the leads and look at how sales is following up on those leads. The answer lies somewhere in between. If conversion is low, it is NOT always the leads. As a matter of fact, most leads ARE weak. A great conversion rate might be 30% which means 70% are weak. It’s ok, that’s how this works. Find the ones that aren’t and…
Convert them. This is the potential problem. I have experienced numerous situations where I have been told to come in because the “leads suck”. When we analyze the entire process, we realize that the first sales call is what sucks. You can’t find that out without investigating the entire process.
Harris: What’s your name?
Baldwin: F*ck you, that’s my name. You know why mister? Cause you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove an 80,000 dollar BMW. That’s my name. (To Lemmon) And your name is you’re wanting. You can’t play in the man’s game, you can’t close them? Then go home and tell your wife your troubles. Because only one thing counts in this life. Get them to sign on the line which is dotted. You hear me.
(Flips the blackboard)
Craig: Oh boy. Never talk about yourself. Its conduct unbecoming a sales leader. It’s all about the reps. If you want to call them out, that’s okay but don’t regale them with stories of how great you are/were. You will lose the room.
“Get them to sign on the dotted line” – of course we want closers, but that type of direction implies “at all costs”. That is bad. He could have said this instead: “If they fit our target market and have a pain we can solve, get them to sign on the dotted line.” I’d feel better about that one.
ABC. A, Always, B, Be, C, Closing. Always be closing. Always be closing. AIDA. Attention. Interest. Decision. Action. Attention. Do I have your attention? Interest. Are you interested? I know you are ’cause it’s f*ck or walk. You close or you hit the bricks. Decision. Have you made your decision? And action. AIDA. Get out there. You got the prospects coming in, you think they came in to get out of the rain? A guy don’t walk on the lot lest he wants to buy. They’re sitting out there waiting to give you their money. Are you going to take it? Are you man enough to take it? (To Harris) What’s the problem, pal?
Craig: ABC – always be closing. There has been lots of blog posts about how ABC is ABH (always be helping). I don’t want to focus on that. Actually, ABC is still a great motto as a way for sales people to think about the micro-steps in the sales process. “Always be closing…for the next step” is my philosophy. A great sales process is moving the buyer along the buying path in a series of steps. Each step has exit criteria that requires a mutually agreed upon decision. For example, after the demo, you want to close for the trial. In that context, always be closing is a good thing. Lots of young reps end calls with “when should I follow up?”. NO, The end of the call is: “I recommend we connect next week to discuss…How is your Tuesday?” Always be closing.
Harris: You, boss, you’re such a hero, you’re so rich, how come you’re coming down here and wasting your time with such a bunch of bums?
Baldwin: You see this watch? You see this watch?
Baldwin: That watch costs more than your car. I made 970,000 dollars last year, how much you make? You see pal, that’s who I am, and you’re nothing. Nice guy? I don’t give a sh*t. Good father. F*ck you, go home and play with your kids. You want to work here, close. You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you sucker. You can’t take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit. If you don’t like it, leave. I can go out there tonight, the materials you got, make myself 15,000 dollars. Tonight. In two hours. Can you? Can you?
Craig: Me, me, me. Bad.
Also, sales leaders do want nice guys and good fathers. Buyers buy from people they like. They revile the jerk, “me-me-me” sales person. Good people build good relationships and that is what you want from your sales team.
Go and do likewise. AIDA. Get mad you son-of-a-*itch. Get mad. You know what it takes to sell real-estate? It takes brass balls to sell real estate. Go and do likewise, gents. The money’s out there, you pick it up, it’s yours, you don’t, I got no sympathy for you. You want to go out on those sits tonight and close, close, it’s yours, if not, you’re going to be shining my shoes. And you know what you’ll be saying. Bunch of losers sitting around in a bar: ”Oh yeah, I used to be a salesman. It’s a tough racket.”
Craig: Ok, so this was for motivation. I am sure they are really motivated. I get it – these guys can either make it happen or they can’t. They are accountable for that. However, the modern sales leader should not leave the reps on an “island”. Instead, they say: “What do you need for the organization to make that happen” and then they break down walls on behalf of the reps. That is one of the biggest issues here. The manager’s job is to enable these guys to make it happen. Instead Alec says “I am great and you are not. I am going back home tonight and close the business or else.”
These are the new leads. These are the Glengarry leads. And to you, they’re gold. And you don’t get them. Why? Because to give them to you is just throwing them away. They’re for closers. I’d wish you good luck, but you wouldn’t know what to do with it if you got it. (To Harris) And to answer your question, pal: Why am I here? I came here because Mitch and Murray asked me to, they asked me for a favor. I said the real favor, follow my advice and fire your f*ckin’ ass because a loser is a loser.
Craig: Wow. Mean as hell. Ok, there is something important here. I call it the Glengarry Rule of Territory Management. As a sales manager, your job is to drive closed business (duh). You should assign leads or prospects to reps who have the highest likelihood to close them. Period. For example, if someone is good at closing financial services organizations – have them work every great fin serv lead they can. Conversely, I was working with a team on target list development. The VP of Sales was looking at the target list of his rep in Houston. The list had all different kinds of companies. The rep said that he was trying to diversify. The VP said: “Come back to me with all oil and gas companies.” Right call. 90% of the rep’s business was oil and gas. Why break that? Give him more.
There you have it. Great scene. Happy closing.