“Coffee’s for closers.” Glengarry Glen Ross is perhaps one of the grittiest movies ever made about what it means to be a salesman in a high-pressure environment. Alec Baldwin’s introductory monologue to his sales team is downright demoralizing—and the epitome of negative reinforcement. Unfortunately, in 1992, it’s what many sales-based businesses believed was the secret to success.
Always be closing, right?
Today, while high-pressure tactics and aggressive sales strategies are far from extinct, there’s a new school of thought. Instead of badgering prospects to sign on the dotted line, it’s all about creating equitability. Sales is less and less a transactional endeavor and more and more a relationship. The idea is to cultivate lasting, expanding relationships instead of pumping and churning prospects.
It’s a concept coined Account-Based Management (ABM), and it’s a fundamental part of how JXM operates.
Solving, not selling, is the core of ABM
Here at JXM, we talk a lot about problem-solving—especially as an alternative to selling. The simple fact is that people don’t like being sold to. What they do like—and are receptive to—are solutions, provided in a transparent way.
We seek to solve, not to sell. As a result, we find ourselves forming meaningful partnerships and friendships, as opposed to transactional relationships. But what does this mean, really? Money still changes hands and services are still rendered… so what makes what we do different from a transactional approach?
Consider the core tenant of ABM: solving, not selling. Where selling is inherently transactional (and monetarily motivated), solving stems from a sense of duty and a willingness to help. At the end of the day, JXM sees it as our duty to help those asking for it—and we’ll go above and beyond the dotted line to do it.
When a friend asks for help, you help them
Pretend you’re a mechanic by trade. A good friend calls you up one day to say that their car is making a strange noise. What do you do?
Chances are, you’d offer to take a look at it and do what you can. In the end, you might only end up referring them to a repair shop, but what matters is that you made the effort to help your friend in the capacity you were able to. You might walk away with a six-pack for your troubles or a promise to repay the favor in the future—but more importantly, you’ll affirm yourself as a good friend: someone capable of and willing to help.
It’s this type of simple altruism that JXM tries to practice through ABM. Sometimes a client will come to us asking for help… but they have no budget. They’re a friend, and we can’t turn them away. We know that our partners respect our time and only ask for favors when they absolutely need them. Because we’re partnership focused, we look for ways to provide support.
It takes courage to ask for help, especially if there’s no budget to pay for that help. We believe that courage should be repaid by lending a hand—even when the remunerative aspect of the interaction isn’t there. We know that later down the line, they’re likely to repay the favor. And, if nothing else, we walk away feeling good about doing good.
Coffee (cake) is for friends
There’s a reason our clients know us on a first-name basis. It’s the same reason they get delicious coffee cake in the mail from us every year. And, it’s the reason we continue to distinguish ourselves beyond the transactional. ABM: Account. Based. Marketing.
As a business, there’s something truly magical that happens when you stop seeing sales opportunities and start seeing opportunities to be helpful. When you stop selling and start solving. When client relationships become the sum of their parts, not the parts themselves. Adopting an ABM mindset makes it possible to do what you love and love what you do. And, as the old saying goes, “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.”
There are still plenty of companies that believe coffee is for closers. They’re more than happy to sell you a solution—any solution—but it only extends as far as the contract stipulates. If you’re looking for the best solution, delivered by someone with a vested interest in helping beyond the transaction, the team at JXM would love to chat.