Frank McCabe is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at The Beacon Group, a Massachusetts-based construction, logistics and facility services firm.
Remember Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross? For those of you that have ever been in sales, chances are someone has directed you to watch this movie. While not the most critically acclaimed picture, there is one of the most famous scenes in history related to salesmanship. In this lackluster story about a New York real estate office, Alec Baldwin delivers a blood pumping motivational speech to his sad sack team of salesmen. In a nutshell, he completely humiliates each one of them for their lack of success and desire. While most of the scene is an expletive-laced tirade by Baldwin, there is one key phrase that came out of it which is still often heard around many a sales seminar – “A.B.C. – Always. Be. Closing.” What is really meant by the phrase is to always be selling – selling your products, you services, yourself.
A couple weeks back I blogged about how to be productive at work during the dog days of summer. Today, I want to offer a couple tips about how to be productive even during your time away from work.
If you have a passion for what you do, whether you are in sales or not, you are probably thinking about work even during your down time. If you do not have a passion for what you do, you can stop here and go back to watching last week’s episode of Entourage from your desk.
I am involved with a small casual clothing (t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, etc.) company. We are always exploring new and creative ways to market our apparel as well as find new sales channels. Recently, while spending a weekend on the coast of Maine with my family, I missed an opportunity. One afternoon, we were walking around one of the many quaint towns in this part of the world. We stopped into a clothing store and I noticed they sold t-shirts of a competitor. I did not think much about until later that day on route home – I had missed a perfect opportunity to ‘soft sell’ our company. If I had my ‘A’ game that day, I would have promptly left my business card (or even better, a catalog) behind with the store manager and followed up when I returned to work. But, I didn’t.
This story is just an isolated example of what it means to ‘Always Be Closing.’ While you may not be involved in a role that requires you to sell or maybe you can’t translate your business into such simple terms as my tale of the retail store, it does not mean this mantra can’t work for everyone.
Whether you are on vacation, out to dinner, at a ballgame with friends; you never know who you will meet and how they could influence your career. A few simple ideas to prepare you for that next chance opportunity:
- Always carry business cards. Even a few stuffed in that George Costanza wallet you have been lugging around for the last decade is fine.
- Have an ‘elevator speech’ prepared. Essentially, be prepared to deliver a 30 second speech about your business and/or yourself. Be concise and to the point but emphasize what is important and compelling to your listener.
- Be polite – to EVERYONE. The golden rule should always be in effect whether you are in a formal meeting or on the subway. Why? You just never know. The person sitting next to you could be your next big sale or maybe even your next boss!
Don’t get me wrong, your time away from work is precious and you should enjoy every minute of it, but it never hurts to keep your eyes wide open wherever the road takes you. You may discover the next best thing for you or your business is right in front of you.
Photo Courtesy of VC Cafe