Soul Proprietor – ABC

by Theresa Reed on May 4, 2015

soul proprietor abc

Two tales of fictional men who market very differently:

Alec Baldwin plays a character named Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross, a movie about sleazy real estate agents who will do anything to “make a sale”.  In that movie, he launches into a famous dialogue where he mentions “ABC – always be closing” and threatens to fire everyone except the top two salesmen.  What does this lead to?  Desperate, pushy sales and pitches that will make you cringe.

Channing Tatum plays the lead character in Magic Mike, a movie about the “plight” of male strippers.  In the opening scene, Mike bounces from club to club, handing out invitations to his show to female club-goers.  He’s charming, fun, and chill.  Not every woman goes to his show but some do.  And when he steps on stage, he delivers a knockout performance and the money comes.  Everyone is happy.


See the difference?  (Yes, they are both marketing and selling.)

One is old skool, high pressure, will do anything to get the green while the other approach is laid back, fun, and establishing rapport with people who may actually enjoy (or need) what is being offered.

Even though Magic Mike is in a provocative business, he’s a smooth and effective salesman without ever being aggressive, while the tactics that Blake and his crew use are sleazy and belligerent.

Years ago, I watched a man at an event operate just like a character out of Glengarry Glenn Ross.  He “worked the room” but wasn’t there to make friends.  He was there to “get leads”.

Every single conversation turned into a “sales conversation” and I watched, totally fascinated as he turned on the phony charm only to trap people into uncomfortable discussions about the latest expensive coaching package he was dishing up.

He tried talking to me too but I have a favorite strategy just for these occasions: I start babbling about stuff that is so off-topic (cat butts, Game of Thrones, the latest Oprah article on menopause) that they usually get frustrated and just walk away.  (This works great for any boring conversation that you find yourself stuck in.)

Later on, I heard him bragging about all the money he made at this event and it made me a bit sad.  Instead of enjoying this weekend and meeting new friends, he spent the entire time pushing people into things they didn’t really want through aggressive, manipulative sales pitches.

It doesn’t have to be like that.

Instead of pushing people through the door, invite them into your world.

Be friendly.  Seek out the right people for your work through being genuinely interested in forming relationships rather than just focusing on leads or closing a sale (I even get squeamish typing that phrase).

People are people and deserve to be treated as human beings, not notches in your sales quota.

The next time you think you have to Always Be Closing or if anyone advises you to adapt an aggressive approach that feels awkward or tacky, follow this new ABC: Always Be Channing.



© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015

images from stock photography and personal collection

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