How to Hire a Closer.

The phrase “Coffee is for Closers” resonates with anyone who’s seen the classic film, Glengarry Glen Ross.  I have personally used the video clip where Alec Baldwin screams at Jack Lemon, “Put down that coffee, coffee’s for closers,” numerous times in recruiting for call centers.  Although the film depicts the unethical sales behavior of a real estate company, the phrase does have merit.  What I want to cover in today’s blog is exactly what I think a closer is and how to interview one. How do you know when you are talking to a closer?  How do you recruit a closer?  How do you, for that matter, even know what a closer really is?  A closer has the ability to get a customer to ask to buy the product rather than the salesperson asking for the sale.  It is not a salesperson that lies, cheats, or steals.  It is not a salesperson that will sell a product or service that a customer doesn’t need or want.  It is not an unethical salesperson. I remember meeting with a potential customer in his office and after our pleasantries, I asked him to take his credit card out of his wallet and place it on his desk.  I then slid the card over to me as he looked at me like I was crazy.  After speaking to him about our product and demonstrating to him how it would be a huge benefit to his company, he asked me when he could have it installed.  I then picked up his credit card and wrote up the order.  Now that’s a closer!  I only tell this story so that I can illustrate the how part of being a closer.  I could never have done what I just wrote if I did not believe in the product, know my customer and his needs, and know how I could add a huge benefit to his company.  All I had to do was show my customer what I already knew.  To be a closer, you have to be prepared more than anything else. You know you are talking to a closer when they never try to close you.  As funny as that sounds, a closer will make you close him/her.  They will make you, the customer, ask for the product or service.  Recruiting a closer is a bit more difficult because they are not selling you anything, other than themselves.  In recruiting, you have to ask a few specific questions to pull out of the candidate if they are actually a closer.  For example, if you are at the end of a month and not at quota but could pull one of next month’s sales in early, would you do it?  A closer would respond, “What do you mean not at quota!” I would describe a closer’s attitude as “take it up to arrogant and dial it back just a hair.”  Confidence is everything to being a closer.  If you talk weak, you sell weak, and you come off as if you do not believe in your product or service.  When you interview a salesperson and they say phrases such as “I love a challenge” or “tell me I can’t” or even “who’s your top salesperson, I want to know who my competition is” you know that you are talking to a closer. To conclude my blog on closers I would like to say a word of caution to all of the hiring managers and recruiters out there.  Closers are hard to find.  They are not simply arrogant salespeople.  They are not big talkers.   Instead, most closers listen more than they talk.  Have a few closer questions in your list of questions to potential candidates.


Keenan is A Sales Guy Inc’s CEO/President and Chief Antagonist. He’s been selling something to someone for his entire life. He’s been teaching and coaching almost as long. With over 20 years of sales experience, which he’ll tell you he doesn’t give a shit about, Keenan has been influencing, learning from and shaping the world of sales for a long time. Finder of the elephant in the room, Keenan calls it as he sees it and lets nothing or no one go unnoticed.