If you’re in sales and you haven’t heard the popular phrase “coffee’s for closers”, then you might want to schedule a movie night for yourself or your sales force. The famous line is from the classic motion picture Glengarry Glen Ross, and has been repeated frequently in sales circles since it debuted in 1992.
In a brief but powerful cameo performance by Alec Baldwin, he utters this stinging statement to Jack Lemmon, “Put that coffee down, coffee’s for closers only.”
Why exactly is it that “coffee’s for closers”? I feel there are several reasons:
First, it can be considered somewhat of a perk (get it?). Meaning, if you sell, you get to enjoy the coffee–you know–to celebrate. To the victor go the spoils, so you deserve the coffee.
As for me, prizes are nothing. My prize is my work.
~ Katharine Hepburn
Secondly, it can be a way of letting someone know that if they aren’t selling very well, they really shouldn’t stop for a coffee break, but should get their butts on the phone and work to generate sales.
Sometimes you do need to take a moment to clear your head, especially if you’re grinding it out with no results. Other times, the luxury of a coffee break just has to wait. Making that next phone call becomes more important, and might just be the one that becomes the breakthrough.
Perseverance is the hard work you do after you get tired of doing the hard work you already did.
~ Newt Gingrich.
The third reason that coffee’s for closers is the one that I feel is most important: closers pay for the coffee! Salespeople pay for everything that runs a business. They’re the ones who bring in the clients, and their client’s money pays all of the bills. Whether it’s rent, phone bills, electric, even down to the toilet paper. And, yes, the coffee. Whoever sells the most, deserves the coffee because they essentially paid for it with their skill and hard work.
In fact, very often it is the hard work of the “closers” (the top salespeople) that helps average or struggling salespeople keep their jobs, because they increase the overall profitability of the entire company. While I don’t feel any salesperson should be allowed to keep their job when they’re technically not profitable to the business, there are many companies that look at overall numbers and prefer to keep bodies on board.
Another important way that top sales pros help other salespeople and overall profitability is through mentoring and coaching of junior sales staff. What salesperson wouldn’t want to get sales tips from the best in their business? Whether formal or informal, such coaching is gold to other sales staff and the company as a whole.
So closers bring in the most revenue and, in some cases, make it so that certain salespeople get to keep their jobs. They deserve the coffee, don’t they?
You don’t close a sale; you open a relationship if you want to build a long-term, successful enterprise. ~ Patricia Fripp
It’s interesting that if you remove the “C” from closing, you’re left with losing. So close sales, don’t lose them.
Do you want cream and sugar with that?
Rock Star Life Coach & Sales Strategist