Coffee is for Closers

Coffee is for Closers


Does coffee give us super-powers? Maybe not.

Does coffee help us work harder? Does it motivate us, keep us alert, inspire us? Yes it does!

Coffee fuels ambition, designs, code and yes, it can even help sales.

The quote “Coffee is for closers” has a true ring to it for anyone who is ever made a sale. It simply makes sense. Closers drink coffee. Coffee gives them the edge they need to make the sale. This is the way I like to think of this quote.

However, if you’ve seen the 1992 movie Glengarry Glen Ross, you’ll remember that the context of this quote was quite different. In the middle of  the high-pressure “motivational” monologue given by Alec Baldwin’s character, Blake, Jack Lemmon’s character pours himself a cup of coffee. Blake then tells him, “put that coffee down! coffee is for closers only.”
Blake goes on to tell them about their new sales contest. First Place gets a Cadillac, second place gets a set of steak knives, and third place gets fired. This scene, and this movie depict the worst selling conditions and the harshest type of sales pressure there is. This type of selling has always left a bad taste in my mouth.

When I was young I worked in an office where this type of high-pressure selling was part of the corporate culture. I didn’t do the selling, but I sat in on the sales meetings, helped run the contests, and witnessed the culture that valued the sales numbers over everything else. Something never did sit right with me about this type of sales, part of it felt dirty to me. Sales are important. Heck sales are very important, but sales is not everything.

Because of this nagging feeling, this bad taste I had in my mouth about sales, I struggled when the day came when I had to sell. The day that I realized that I had to be a salesman was the day I opened my own business. All of a sudden I had to be the one making the sale. I had to be the closer. Having to feed my family was an excellent motivator, and I soon overcame my fear of sales. But in the process I realized something. When you are providing a product or service that has value equal to the money that is changing  hands, you have more than a sale, you have a mutually beneficial transaction. And if the product or service meets or exceeds the expectation, you can have more. That initial transaction can be the basis for something much more important than a sale, if everything goes well you can build a relationship, and a relationship is something to celebrate! Put that on your sales chart.

So what is better than pouring coffee down your throat while making phone call after phone call, desperately trying to make a sale? A better way to use coffee is sitting down with your prospect and sharing a cup of coffee, while taking the time to know them and their business.

Coffee is for closers, but closers build relationships.


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