"You Call Yourself A Salesman, You Son of a B****?"

"You Call Yourself A Salesman, You Son of a B****?"

A classic line from the 1992 cult drama classic, Glengarry Glen Ross, brilliantly delivered by Alec Baldwin’s character, a “motivational” sales leader.

Now Prove It. I see hundreds of salespeople’s resumes in any given month. What amazes me is that most salespeople have no idea how to write one. Your resume is simply the backside of your baseball card. It should only highlight the most important statistics of your career and that’s what employers care about.

  • Team – Company
  • At Bats – Years of Experience
  • Hits – Sales Wins
  • Home runs – Major Deals Closed
  • Steals – Advancement or promotions
  • Awards – Relevant accolades i.e. President’s Club

You get the picture; cut all the fat out and stick to the numbers. With the wide-range of available candidates in the market, you need to standout and the only way to do it is to show revenues generated by you. A salesperson is only as good as their recent successes. Salespeople are not hired anymore based on experience and personality; it’s all about the numbers, recent numbers.

Many experts have said that employers will look at a resume anywhere from 15-25 seconds before deciding to move on or move forward. If your career must be summed up in less than 30 seconds, then you MUST draw the employer’s eyes directly to your numbers.

Here’s how to do it:

After your ‘Summary of Experience’ or ‘Career Snapshot’, you should list each year in a column with the Quota, your Performance and the Percentage above (or below) the quota and Company Ranking if applicable. Any solid, tenured, successful salesperson knows these numbers off the top of their head and can spew them off at any given moment.

Here are some common mistakes seen way too often on Salesperson’s resume: 

  • Makes 1,000 cold calls per week. – Who cares? How many did you close and how much was the sale?
  • Consistently exceeds sales quotas. – Great! What’s the quota? What percentage did you hit?
  • Number 1 salesperson in the company. – Great! Are there only 2 of you? How many salespeople?
  • Generated new business contacts from Fortune 500 companies. – Really? Any person with internet access and a pulse can do this through LinkedIn.
  • Grew territory revenues by 100% - Great! Is the territory the entire country, the northeast, your neighborhood? What were the revenues before you got there?

Even if you are happily employed and making good money, you should always have an up-to-date resume illustrating your most recent successes. It’s a smart plan each year to take 10 minutes to document your accomplishments for that year. This is not Major League Baseball where someone does this for you. It’s up to you to keep track or no one else will.

Views: 1398

Comment by Amber on April 16, 2012 at 11:39am

Dan, this brought back memories of my days as a Sales Manager. We had a district manager who thought he was brilliant for having us all watch Glengarry Glen Ross as "motivation". He also showed at each of our offices to our staff. His email tagline was "Coffe is for Closers". He made us all ask written permission to order any coffee for our offices. These were managers that were running multi-million dollar offices - it didn't work!! Corporate HQ came down with an edict that no quotes, references, or clips from that movie and a few others could never be used again by any employees.

Oh, and this was the same guy that wanted all his female managers to literally say "you're the man" whenever he did something that he thought was just so awesome...


But to your post, I agree specifics are important. One thing I think about the awards and accolades that people list - we need to know why it was significant. From a sales perspective, I have seen many awards that have little relevance to actual performance that would matter because of how companies structure them. Just because someone was the "best" in a group that might not have been very good doesn't mean they are actually the type of perfomer needed.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on April 17, 2012 at 2:12am
I hated that movie but your resume suggestions are some of the best I have ever seen. If your resume gives me some real stuff then I have a proven product to sell.
Comment by Doug Washington on April 17, 2012 at 10:22am

 "Put that coffee down! Coffee's for closers only. Do you think I'm [f'ing] with you? I am not [f'ing] with you."

Comment by Darryl Dioso on April 17, 2012 at 10:31am

If you make 1000 cold calls a week you are not a sales pro - you're a telemarketer.

Great post.

Comment by Dan Hunter on April 17, 2012 at 10:42am

And your name is you're wanting... cant play in the mans game? Then go home and play with your kids.

Comment by Noel Cocca on April 17, 2012 at 12:56pm

For anyone that has done agency recruiting for more than a decade...this one is great!

Comment by Bill Schultz on April 17, 2012 at 1:07pm

1st prize- a cadillac- 2nd prize- steak knives

third prize- you're fired!

Comment by Suzanne Levison on April 17, 2012 at 6:07pm

Excellent post

Comment by Feargall kenny on April 18, 2012 at 2:34pm

Good post. I would add that a salesperson's resume also needs to clearly identify a few other key things namely

1. The Verticals that they have sold into and name a few marquis firms within those verticals

2. The chain of commands involved in the sale - CMO, CTO, VP of HR etc.

3. If their current or past employer isn't well known, a one liner on the area the company is in or what they actually sold there.


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