In the movie “Glengarry Glen Ross,” Alec Baldwin’s character Blake, in one of the more memorable monologues of the last 30 years, emphasizes the importance of “ABC”: Always Be Closing. In this scene, Blake announces that the top winner of that week’s sales competition receives a Cadillac. The second place winner receives a knife set. The third/fourth/fifth/etc. place “winners” receive an escort out of the building into the world of unemployment. Pretty cutthroat, no?
While the real world isn’t quite like that, the underlying theme is eerily similar: Always Be Closing (Selling). And if you are able to take in oxygen and expel CO2, you’re selling at some point during the day.
Students entering college must sell themselves on the basis of their academic credentials and potential. Potential employees must sell themselves to a potential employer based on their education, experience, and fit within the company. Co-workers sell each other on the perfect restaurant to go to for lunch. Hell, children must sell themselves to their parents in order to receive a toy or to attain permission to go to a friend’s house. The examples go on and on. Everyone sells everyday.
In the sales world, we must not only seek out opportunities in our professional lives but we must also recognize sales opportunities in everyday situations. Find yourself at a casual get-together with friends and a new acquaintance shows up? There is an opportunity there. Make a connection. Connections lead to personal relationships, which can lead to mutually beneficial professional relationships. Standing in line at a store? Strike up a conversation with someone around you. Build relationships all day, every day.
And don’t forget the “easy” ways to sell yourself.
- Business cards are mini-billboards that cost pennies each. God help you if you ever run out or don’t have them on you.
- Forums are free advertising space. Join a sales forum or a forum dedicated to a hobby of yours. A co-worker of mine has landed several contacts with people all over the world via a beer rating site, people he never would have known otherwise.
- Alumni groups are excellent resources for creating networks and for attaining prospects. The icebreaker (same alma mater) is done for you. The rest is up to you.
Your sales day doesn’t end when the whistle blows at 5. If you want the Cadillac, you gotta sell 24/7. Always Be Selling!