Top 7 Sales Lessons from Hollywood
By Roger Grannis
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Hollywood is the master of tapping into people's emotions. Learn seven of their secrets and how to use them to sell more and be happier in business and in life.
People buy with emotion and justify their purchases with logic. If that weren’t true, we’d all be driving used Honda Elements. With emotion at the root of buying decisions, what can salespeople learn from the masters of emotion—moviemakers?
Here are seven lessons from Tinseltown.
- Tap people’s emotions.
There are four basic emotions: glad, mad, sad, and scared. Titanic started out glad and ended sad. The Shining scared us. Silkwood got us mad. Animal House made us laugh.
What scares your prospect right now? The thought of losing his job? Missing a mortgage payment? What dreams does he want to fulfill? A promotion? A Bonus? A trip to Hawaii?
The better you connect the dots between your product and your buyer’s emotions, the easier the sale.
- Use hooks.
The original title for Gone with the Wind was Tomorrow Is Another Day. Not quite as catchy, is it? Nor is the name Pansy, which was the original name for Scarlett.
Use hooks in your sales message to grab and hold attention, just like movies do with their titles and opening scenes.
What are the key points you need to make when leaving a voice mail? Your name, phone number, and offer, and your prospect’s name. Of the four, which are most likely to grab the interest of your prospect? His or her name and the offer.
Say those first.
Old way: My name is Steve Brown. My phone number is 1-800-234-5678. I’m in charge of convention services at the Waldorf, and I’m calling about a 20 percent discount we’re offering.
New way: Jim? Jim, hi. I’m calling from the Waldorf. I’m in charge of convention services, and we’re offering a 20 percent discount I thought you might be interested in. By the way, my name is Steve Brown, and my number is 1-234-5678.
- Use specific, standout details.
Details make things credible and believable. In Pirates of the Caribbean, the pirates had brown, rotten teeth. Would they have been as convincing if their teeth had been white and straight?
My son ran for secretary of his sixth-grade class. He was not the most qualified or the best known. But he won because, while the other candidates recited the usual clichés, he used these specific details in his campaign speech: “I’ll never run out of ink. I have a collection of 324 pens from around the world. My favorite is from Belgium—it has a waffle on it.”
- Slant your message to your audience.
Movies are targeted to specific audiences. The audience for The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie is different than that for Born 2B Gangsta?
Similarly, good salespeople tailor their messages to individual personalities. Consider these traits:
• Formal vs. informal
• Logical vs. emotional
How might you vary your approach if you were selling to the characters of the classic TV show M*A*S*H?
• Hawkeye: logical and informal
• Winchester: logical and formal
• Radar: emotional and formal
• Klinger: emotional and informal
- Tell good stories.
Hollywood tells stories. They’re the oldest form of human communication. When prehistoric cave dwellers sat around the fire, they didn’t talk about pie charts and statistics. They told stories.
Stories are persuasive without sounding like sales pitches. Stories touch our emotions and will be remembered more than rambling proof points.
• Open with a time, place, and setting. “Last summer, in the middle of the August heat, one of my ice cream manufacturers….”
• Include obstacles, just like in the movies. “When the power failed, the backup generator didn’t kick in….”
• Show how your product solved the problem. “Within 15 minutes, we had a new generator up and running. It saved $53,000 worth of ice cream from melting.”
• Add humor, and appeal to the senses: “My customer was so happy, he not only paid me—he gave me a free case of mint chocolate chip.”
Hollywood entertains (well, some of the time).
I heard Apple CEO Steve Jobs tell this story at the Boston Computer Society in 1982. “When I attended Reed College, there was some graffiti on the bathroom wall that said, ‘To be is to do.—Plato. To do is to be.—Socrates.’ But the only guy who made money on those two words was the one who made them entertaining, Frank Sinatra: ‘Do be do be do.’”
- Edit, edit, edit.
Alfred Hitchcock said, “Drama is life with the dull parts cut out.”
That’s what a good movie is—a series of dramatic events with all the boring, unnecessary clutter removed. When you present your product, do you edit out the unnecessary clutter? In selling, just like in the movies and TV, less is more.
Sell more. Speak better. Sign up for the FREE monthly e-mail newsletter Clearview Clips, filled with tips and tricks to help you be more persuasive and get what you want out of life. Sign up at http://www.ClearCreate.com
Roger Grannis is the president of Clearview Creative Communications, which helps companies improve sales results with custom tools and targeted training. Clients include GE, Monster, Sams Club, VNU Exhibitions, and Bain and Company.
Contact Roger at or http://www.ClearCreate.com
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Article Submitted On: August 08, 2008