Put down that coffee: A wake-up call for small businesses

In the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, Alec Baldwin’s character shocks the office by telling Jack Lemmon’s character to “put down the coffee. Coffee is for closers.”

Although Baldwin’s character’s sales management and motivation methods leave much to be desired, he definitely highlights one critical point in business that is true of any business anywhere: Closing is paramount.

That’s probably not news to you or to the millions of other entrepreneurs out there. But what many people forget (or perhaps don’t realize) is that they won’t close if they don’t sell.

Let’s step into the classroom for a quick lesson:

  • Marketing: This is generally the promotion of your business and its products or services in order to gain attention, generate leads, turn those leads into prospects. Your message here is: “Hey, we might be able to help! Please listen to what we can do for you.”
  • Sales: This is generally the process of presenting a specific offer to a specific prospect and asking them to buy from you. Your message here is: “Hey, we are the right solution for you right now. Please buy.”

See the difference? Now here’s why many small businesses fail: Marketing is fun and easy and creative. You can market a lot and there are many marketing channels to use. Sales is difficult. It’s time consuming and can be costly. There are fewer sales channels. It can even be embarrassing (when you don’t know the answers or when a customer says no or gives an objection you can’t overcome). It’s really hard work. Most small businesses fail because the owners spend a lot of time marketing (that’s good) and avoid the selling (that’s bad).

Both marketing and sales are very important to the growth of your sales funnel and your business… but only one has a direct impact on cash flow. You can and should market your business but if that’s all you do, you might as well pack it in.

Businesses grow because of sales. That’s it.

Devote a lot of time to marketing because that will fill your sales funnel and give you the opportunity to make sales.

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