By now, I hope and pray that you have all seen and worship one of the greatest American movies of all time, Glenn Gary Glen Ross. Alec Baldwin’s now famous tongue lashing monologue has been seen a gazillion times for good reason — it’s absolutely brilliant. On the wild chance you haven’t heard, this is the film that made the phrase, “coffee is for closers” famous. At one point in his tirade, Baldwin bellows, “Put the coffee down. Coffee is for closers only.” And later on, “If you want to work here, close!!”
Baldwin’s “always be closing/coffee is for closers” mantra came to mind recently in my own business. I didn’t close. So no coffee for me.
Here’s what happened. I met with this fellow, nice guy, small business owner. He felt trapped in his business. He’d prefer to sell, but no one is buying. He reached out to me because a mutual friend/acquaintance told him I could do a bunch of cool internet marketing stuff for him. Which is true, I could.
So he called and we had coffee and had a great chat. I left that coffee believing I had a new client. Then I sent him a proposal. “Gulp” was a word he used when he saw the numbers. He then asked me if I’d be interested in a trade – he provides a very cool service – so I said “yes” without hesitating. Then he bailed out on me entirely.
I don’t know the full reason why he bailed, but part of the reason is he thought I was nuts he didn’t understand the strikethrough tool and thought I was hanging out my dirty editing process for the world to see. There’s a bit more to the story that prudence leads me to leave out. But I’ve taken the position that I didn’t make clear enough what value I could deliver. Major fail on my part. I had an opportunity to close, and didn’t. So here’s what I say to all prospective clients.
I will help you think more clearly about your business and will help you position yourself with regard to your competition. I will ask you many penetrating questions to get to heart of your core value.
I will research the competitive landscape.
I will help you develop a unique value proposition.
I will interview your customers to hear what they have to say.
I will write clever, benefit laden headlines and great emails.
I will stick with you for months as we work together on a large ebook project – and I will interview people all over the world.
I will stay up all night to help you win that new project.
I love the written word, and live for the clear organization of complex material.
I know and work with good designers – people who can help clarify and communicate your company’s value proposition and your reason for being.
I am easy to work with and comport myself as a professional.
I will help you understand how SEO works and I can help you achieve rankings in Google search queries.
I will work with you until you are happy with what we’ve done.
I will tell you if I’m not the right person for your project.
I won’t surprise you with a fee that you weren’t expecting.
I will have suggestions for you that may surprise you.
I will deliver more than you expected.
Let me repeat: I will help you close.