So, what were you doing in 1992?

Like any half decent student two years into their BCom, I was working hard on maximising my leisure time. Movies played a big part in that, so when the film Glengarry Glen Ross finally made it to Auckland I was ready. A film about prospects, warm leads, sales, marketing and motivation? Showing on a Tuesday in town? That was right up my alley.

Selling the Old-Skool Way

Twenty seven years later the cast of Glengarry Glen Ross is probably more famous for other things. Times change. So though Al Pacino is still best known as an actor, Alec Baldwin has become the world’s best known Trump impersonator. And Kevin Spacey? Times change.

The movie itself remains a good watch. Especially for anyone in selling. In the most famous scene, hot shot motivator Alec Baldwin blows into town to teach a lacklustre team of estate agents the ABCs (Always Be Closing) of selling. It’s a truly heroic performance (Google it – you’ll love it) full of hard, harsh stuff. You’ve got to always be closing… taking money from those silly enough to give it to you… stabbing your colleagues in the back to make the sale.

Evolving Your Approach

Well, fast forward to 2019 and things really are different. That old school “always be closing” has given way. The ABCs remain, but with a different meaning. In place of the hard sell we now have customer engagement and winning through value. So what do the ABCs of selling mean in 2019? Here’s my take.

  • A means Adding Value. If your communications and proposition doesn’t show how you add value then you’re gone
  • B means Be Visible. Digital and especially social is giving every business the tools to compete. It’s never been easier to find the right customer, at the right time, and adding value to them.
  • C means Consistency
  • And the bonus D, deals, making offers to your customer, offers to solve their problem, offers to engage and work with you

Consistency is where I see most businesses fall down, especially with content. It’s hard, you need to be across multiple channels, in front of all potential customers, and all the time with a consistent message. Generating enough content takes time – too many businesses embrace content or inbound marketing as a flash in the pan. They think this is a one time set and forget, and so when the initial enthusiasm wanes they drift off. This is a fatal flaw.

Giving Your Customer What They Want

For a prospect to become a customer they need consistency from you. They want to see you in all the places they are, with the same approaches, and the same messages all focused on helping them. This is the challenge of sales in 2019, and a core part of the shift from Alec Baldwin and his gang.

The meaning of ABC may have changed, but getting it right is where smaller businesses can compete.


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