Don't Always Be Closing

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Don't Always Be Closing


There’s a trite concept known as “ABC” (Always Be Closing) from the sales world.  I think it’s from a David Mamet film (Glengarry Glen Ross).  The idea is that to be successful in sales, you have to “always be closing” (i.e. always focused on the end goal of getting the deal done).  I disagree. 

I attended the recent Boston Startups Meetup last night.  Basically, it was about 20 or so startup folks from the Boston/Cambridge area getting together for an informal dinner (Thai food) in the heart of Harvard Square.  Events like these are one of the reasons I love living in Boston.

I’m usually not big on social networking events (I tend to be a bit of an introvert), but I like this particular group because of one simple fact:  the people are not trying to sell you something.

Too many times, when you go to these social events you run into a disproportionate number of people that are trying to sell you something.  Not always in the literal “please buy my product/service” sense, but more in the “what can I get from you” sense.  Don’t get me wrong.  Startup founders should be passionate about their companies.  Goes with the territory.  But, sometimes, it’s good to just be human and have a genuine conversation with other people.  It can be about business.  It can be about technology.  It can even be about your startup.  It just shouldn’t always be about promoting your product/company.  You shouldn’t always be looking to get something out of the conversation.  Often, a healthy debate or a deep technical discussion is immensely valuable.

My favorite conversations with other startup folks is when we can discuss an issue or topic on which intelligent, rational people can objectively disagree.  For example, I’m in the midst of a somewhat intense discussion this week with someone regarding the merits of Python vs. C# in the context of startups.  That is, which is better?  Any night that I can discuss something like this, instead of just being sold to, is a good night.

In any case, just a quick note to all the startup folks out there:  Take a page from the book of young geek entrepreneur Shimon Rura, who helps organize the Boston Startup group and is a genuinely great guy.  You don’t need to always be closing.  Sometimes, it’s enough just to “always be”.

My thanks to Shimon for organizing yet another geek entrepreneur event.  Looking forward to the next one.

Posted by Dharmesh Shah on Fri, Jul 07, 2006


C#, of course (being an MCSD).

posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 at 3:53 PM by Perry Ismangil

Python, of course (being a Nokia die-hard -- Python for Symbian is so cool)

posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 at 3:54 PM by Perry Ismangil

Python or C#? It depends... (being a software architect)

posted on Friday, July 07, 2006 at 3:55 PM by Perry Ismangil

You make a great point about ABC but I really think you miss the point of ABC. Most of us are not startup genius people. We are average or maybe slighly above average people who need every single possible angle to become more successful. And also you must remember most people (at least myself) dont really care at all about what others think, or care about. We just really care about getting ahead...and if that means annoying 1000 people to sell 1 person a product so be it. It is a very competitive world out there no doubt about it; in the last decade we were told of a massive "skills shortage" only to have massive Tech layoffs and massive number of unemployed newly minted Tech graduates; and now we are at this weird world were Americans are competing with Chinese. Indians and Pakistanis for Tech jobs....Ill take every chance to get ahead I can. And I suspect many others feel the same way. I plan on ABC'ing until I make it.

posted on Saturday, July 08, 2006 at 3:28 AM by Jay

I think that the ABC approach is being taken somewhat out of context here. I've always taken it to be a comment about the sales process building towards the close. That said, I agree 100% with your points regarding networking. The best networkers think about how they can help the other person more than own immediate goals. Everybody can use some help and nobody likes to feel used.

posted on Monday, July 10, 2006 at 1:26 AM by Andrew Fife

Thank you for the kind words, Dharmesh, and for supporting the spirit of the event. In addition to the argument that it just feels nice to be able to meet people in business without their trying to sell you something, there are a lot of pragmatic arguments for this low-pressure mode of interaction. In particular, to get honest objective feedback about your work, and to meet new partners and employees, one is much better served by a community that supports ongoing discussion about topics people are genuinely passionate about, rather than encouraging short-term interactions that must be classified into "closing" or "worthless". These are dramatically different goals, best served by different kinds of communities.

posted on Thursday, July 13, 2006 at 11:58 PM by Shimon Rura

What`s up with you? When you approach a hot woman you don`t ask her to suck your d.... right off the bat. You first get comfortable with each other by getting to know each other. But of course you have your objections. Cummon man, we`re about selling and the atmosphere above described is nothing else than SELLING! Different way, same goal!

posted on Friday, January 25, 2008 at 2:01 PM by Sven

You know why mister, because you drove a Hyundai to get here tonight, I drove an $80,000 BMW, THAT'S my name. 
Only one thing counts in this life, get them to sign on the line that is dotted.

posted on Thursday, August 21, 2008 at 2:58 PM by F*ck you, that's my name


posted on Monday, August 25, 2008 at 10:58 AM by Glengarry Glenross

you missed the point, networking is all about selling us to other people. don't mislead readers, ABC rule works everywhere. 
it is just a different perceptionÇ: trying to help people but the objective is still the same= sell yourself

posted on Thursday, February 05, 2009 at 10:19 AM by julio c

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