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Glengarry GlenBoss: Sales Meeting Primer

A Primer for Your First Glengarry Glenross-themed TV Ad Sales Meeting around the year 2000. Definitely not based on real events, and any similarities to real events are completely coincidental. Obviously.

·    Watch the movie version of Glengarry Glenross, not as a cautionary tale of corrupt and miserable capitalism, but as a sales “how to.”

·    Repeat the following until you can convince yourself in the mirror: “Entertainment Tonight is a newsmagazine. Entertainment Tonight is a newsmagazine. Entertainment Tonight is a newsmagazine. Just like 60 minutes. Exactly like 60 minutes but better because of Mary Hart’s smile.”

·    If you play golf, refer to Insert A “Play well enough to avoid showing weakness, but not so well as to humiliate Jabba-the-Boss.” In this case vagina equals free pass. Way to go, Vagina!

·    The five star accommodations, extravagant buffets, spa allowance, and welcome basket serve only as a distraction. Expect 12-hour days in a windowless conference room, Socratic style questioning, and a seven pound stress-induced weight loss–from only your face. Use the spa allowance for a massage after dinner and before study group. Go and cry some of those toxins out while practicing the presentation for your aesthetician. If she doesn’t believe Queen Of Swords is a sure-hit, neither will your media buyer. No one believes Queen of Swords is a hit, but all your media buyers will delight in watching you try to pinch the words “Queen of Swords” together with “hit” with your broad, constipated sales smile.

·    Repeat the following until you can convince yourself in the mirror: “Becker is hilarious. Becker is hilarious. Becker is OMG (laugh laugh laugh)”

·    Show passion for Jabba’s gift to the sales force—your own brand new leather bomber/studio logo jacket. You love it. It goes with everything. The logo bomber reeks of timeless.

·    When Jabba-The-Boss unveils THE SALES PRESENTATION, do not—under any circumstances—peruse it. Leave your binder untouched until he instructs you to turn to page one, to turn to page two and so on. During all 119 pages. For the moment your eyes wander you will be the object of Jabba’s interrogation.

·    Practice a comfortable, but not too comfortable posture. Overconfidence in the form of chatting with your colleague about the fall TV lineup might just cause Jabba to slam a beach ball into the wall—narrowly missing your head with “STOP TALKING ABOUT SURVIVOR AND START THINKING ABOUT SURVIV-ING.” Jabba’s head might bloom red and spit.  His little arms might wave around, and you might look down at his tiny Gucci loafers and see Mr. Toad from Wind In The Willows. Resist this very normal but risky mindbending at all costs, or lose yourself to irrepressible laughter and face the wrath of one-on-one buyer/seller role play with Jabba in front of the group. You do not want to go on this wild ride with Mr. Toad Jabba. Oh no you do not.

·    If you don’t know why your competitor has Target’s business, lie immediately and convincingly. Unless Jabba knows and you don’t. Don’t ever pretend to know something Jabba knows or you will find yourself crying in front of all your colleagues, blathering about Nielsen ratings and TV universes until he finally stops you fifteen minutes later. With the beach ball.

·    If the answer is “Because the media buyer hates you Jabba, and has refused to work with our company while you still run it,” replace your answer with an acceptable answer.

·    There is no acceptable answer. Suck wind.

·    Monitor your fluids or risk an unscheduled bathroom break. Train your bladder not to show weakness. Show that bladder that Queen of Swords is going to be a hit.

·    Avoid drymouth. No one can pay attention to your presentation when you chew on that enormous wad of invisible gum. If you must flop sweat, then flop sweat, but have the sense to bring a company-embossed hanky. For the love of God know how many stars are on that logo and what they represent.

·    When you manage to thrill Jabba with your Ricky Roma inspired presentation, accept the toy Cadillac and steak knives humbly. Unless you watch Al Pacino’s spiel in the Chinese restaurant before every presentation, you will never channel him like that again. For instance, you won’t be able to do it when Jabba hand picks you to give presentation to his boss. Now is an excellent time to get 9 months pregnant and leave the company.

·    Avoid sitting next to Jabba at meal times, but especially avoid being caught by Jabba avoiding Jabba at meal times. Mind those shifty pupils. When your turn inevitably comes, keep your hands off the bowl of your white wineglass or receive a twenty-minute etiquette lesson. Once Jabba drinks from bubbly to white to red to head-on-the-table, you may move freely about. Enjoy a few minutes with your colleagues before returning to your rooms to alternate practicing THE SALES PRESENTATION with mowing key lime biscuits from your gift basket and hyperventilating into a paper bag.

·    Repeat the following until you fall into a restless sleep “Montel really cares. Montel really cares. Montel really cares…because…he…so…cares.”

·    Take comfort in the knowledge that your time with Jabba will make even childbirth, the longest sleepless night with an inconsolable baby, and the worst case of food poisoning on your 34th birthday seem manageable by comparison.

14 comments… add one

  • Heidi February 22, 2012, 9:37 pm

    Suck wind and avoid drymouth? We all must carry these pearls of wisdom with us. Wherever we go.

    Ann, when is your book coming out? Because you must write, make, ordain a book. Please.

  • Logical Libby February 22, 2012, 9:47 pm

    Television, all aspects of it, is a bitch from hell. And I think I have met Jabba… Or at least five of them.

  • Brett Minor February 23, 2012, 1:04 am

    That is a lot of rules to keep track of. Is it possible to just zone out and wait for meeting to be over?

  • Anna Lefler February 23, 2012, 7:40 am

    Feeling pretty good about my old PR job right now.

    Thank you for that.



  • The Empress February 23, 2012, 9:38 am

    Dry mouth as we speak.

    NEVER have I felt happier about deciding to stay home than at this very moment.

    Yes, the wounds are still that fresh…

  • dusty earth mother February 23, 2012, 9:54 am

    That was excruciatingly funny. You know, in hindsight. In reality, I’m sure it was merely excruciating. Did Montel care about you then? Did he? Huh? I don’t think so.

  • Andrea February 23, 2012, 2:45 pm

    Wow! Cleaning other people’s houses IS glamorous afterall…or at least has fewer rules!

    I just panick=ked a little that one of my kids (bosses) was going to ask me a trick question that I will have forgotten the rule for!

  • lostandforgotten February 23, 2012, 5:33 pm

    HA. Love. Also, shockingly similar to my work which is not sales/marketing. I did however completely evade my boss while at a conference last year. This was not limited to running, hiding behind a giant pillar, and pretending to have fake conversations with people.

  • Nancy Davis Kho February 23, 2012, 11:53 pm

    And now I remember why I threw away the money and glamor of a corporate job and went in for poverty and being my own boss. Because of Jabbas everywhere.

  • Julie February 24, 2012, 12:05 pm

    You are so right:
    Socratic-style questioning is the new Cleanse!

    Until now, it’s been a completely under-estimated weight-loss method.
    You know.

    For your face.

    p.s. I prefer Mary Hart’s legs. But don’t tell her that…

  • Jack February 24, 2012, 4:40 pm

    Hah, I sold space and I just might have worked for Jabba or his very evil doppleganger.

  • MommyTime February 25, 2012, 10:00 pm

    You make me really really glad that I never tried to go into PR (which I did consider). But you make me glad by making me laugh. So, thanks for that! :)

  • the mama bird diaries February 27, 2012, 11:02 am

    You are so funny lady. Entertainment Tonight is completely a NEWS magazine show. Without a doubt. Totally.

  • sue tuckman May 2, 2012, 5:55 pm

    OH MY GOD!!! i can’t believe when you put it all out there..that we actually survived…and yes, i am thinking about survivor again!

    peeing in my pants laughing….thank god not hysterically crying anymore!!!
    love you ann!!!

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