In the cult classic sales movie title Glengary Glen Ross, there is this scene where Alec Baldwin’s character outlines a sales process that uses the acronym A-I-D-A.

While the movie is quite entertaining, this scene reminds me of many things that I feel are missing from sales processes and techniques that are taught to salespeople. Here is a quick breakdown of those.

Missing Item #1 – There is no explanation of the “how”.
In this clip of Glengary Glen Ross, there is the manager goes through the sales process that the salespeople should use. He goes through each stage and while it can easily be seen how those stages logically fit together and could be a good order of steps to take a prospect through, he does not explain how to take a prospect through each stage.

There is a mention of Attention and Interest. The manager says, “Do I have your attention?” and “Are you interested?”, but he says nothing about how to genuinely grab the prospect’s attention and how to build genuine interest.

Now, I know this is just a movie and it probably would not have been very entertaining if it handled sales training properly. But I have worked for many different sales managers and been through many training programs and they all had this same gap and that is that they focus only on telling you what to do and they do not tell you how to do it.

For example, a company will often teach their salespeople about the products they need to sell and then they tell them to go get the prospect’s attention (generate leads), get them interested (create qualified opportunities), get them to make a decision (close the deal), and they will not get into any details around how to best do any of those steps.

With only being taught about the products they sell, salespeople will often go out and focus primarily on talking about their products and services as the primary way to grab the prospect’s attention and build interest. What they might not realize is that there is a better way it can include focusing more on the value offered, the pain resolved, the ways you are different, the impacts of doing nothing, customer examples, ROI, etc.

Missing Item #2 – There is not a step for pre-qualifying.
Another big flaw that I see in Glengary Glen Ross’ A-I-D-A is that it does not have a step for pre-qualifying the prospect. One of the biggest mistakes that I think salespeople make is that they do not qualify prospects enough or at all.

Pre-qualifying the prospect would be asking a few questions to determine if the prospect is even in the general vicinity of needing what the salesperson is trying to sell. This is an extremely powerful step for a few reasons:

  • It does not make sense for either party to invest time discussing if the prospect is nowhere close to being a fit and that can be identified when pre-qualifying
  • Pre-qualifying can save time trying to sell to prospects that have an extremely low probability of purchasing
  • It makes the sales process more of a consultative sales methodology
  • It makes the conversation more interactive by getting the prospect talking
  • It is a less pushy approach because it takes a salesperson from talking about their stuff and shifts them to ask the prospect about their world
  • It makes it easier to close at the end of the sales process if you have pre-qualified at the beginning

If I were to make a change to the Glengary Glen Ross A-I-D-A sales process, I would add a Q after Attention for pre-qualifying. Once I have your attention, I will then pre-qualify you to determine if it makes sense for me to spend my valuable time talking to you.

Also, Read How to Provide Sales Coaching When You Are Also the Sales Manager