13 Apr 2016

Even Movies Have Lessons for Sales Professionals

Last night, whilst relaxing with the wife and dog, the movie “The Martian,” starring Matt Damon came on tv. Damon’s character “Watney” is an astronaut trained who is abandoned on Mars. Watney has to survive on Mars and obviously food is limited, therefore he must stretch his food rations as best he can until help arrives. All he has are his wits and a few resources including his mental toolbox. Unable to communicate with NASA, he manages to find ways to keep alive until the next manned Mars mission arrives. Now I know I will never be alone on Mars, I hope I’m never on Mars at all as they surely have no good coffee there. However the film did get me thinking and it reminded me of what a trainee once said. He was new to the role and also felt that he was on a strange planet. It’s called planet “Sales”. And if you’re going to survive in Sales, and subsequently thrive, you need to use all of your mental toolbox resources to move forward. Unlike Mark Watney though, you shouldn’t feel alone, especially as you are reading this post on our website. We can help.

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Never Give Up!

Even when up against impossible odds, Damon’s character never crumbled, he always kept positive looking for solutions to every problem that arose. Similarly in sales, we frequently also must contend with challenges that could potentially demoralise us, objections and other obstacles that blast our deals into outer space thereby negatively impacting our emotional state and therefore our ability to push forward with new sales. I’m fairly certain that if Matt Damon’s character was in sales, he’d keep chin up and look for the root cause and resolve to issues as they arise. Thankfully, if you are in sales and sometimes finding it hard, what you’re facing is probably not an alien presence, but instead something that could be managed by changing your own behavior. Whatever the problem is, we can work with you to find the solution together.

Small Steps make the Process
In “The Martian,” the main character improves his destiny and stays alive by taking small steps to a better future. Process is fundamental in sales also. To be successful we must trust the process that works best. Never skip steps! If the process needs changing then change it however once it is again in place we should stick to it rigidly. Just like a spaceman wouldn’t forget to put on his space helmet before exiting the craft. Similarly, we need to ensure that we don’t miss essential process pivotal points. For example, if you try to rush the presentation phase and skip to the close because you believe that your customer is already semi ready to move forward. We must adhere to the working process without fail.

Tales of the Unexpected
Bad things happen sometimes. Usually when they do it’s not just one thing either. They usually come in waves to challenge us. The same happens in sales. The same also happened to Matt on Mars. It was an unfortunate series of events that marooned his character in space, despite his skills as an astronaut. It was out of his control. Sometimes there is nothing we can do apart from begin immediate troubleshooting. A good salesperson often finds themselves in uncontrollable circumstances. Budget shortfalls, economic downturns, maybe even lack of customers due to bad weather. Any number of factors can result in lost revenue and decreased sales. Suck it in, accept the losses and move on to grasses greener and bigger opportunities.

We Already have the Essential Tools
Whilst on Mars, Damon used his skills, knowledge and resourcefulness, single handed he A-Teamed together the NASA equipment and any other spare parts from previous space missions to build the shelter and food supply framework he needed. Even on earth, it’s easy for us to get caught up in the notion that we need the very latest cyberspace technology to get the job done well. Yes, technology does help us to connect with customers in ways that we would never have dreamed possible 10 years ago. However in the world of B2B and B2C sales, even the latest gadgets are no replacement for those crucial human contact moments. The best sales happen when both the buyer and seller connect with eachother. This is hard to achieve using an email, wechat or skype. Always remember that people buy from people and they always will. Keep it simple. Gadgets often over-complicate the sale. It is best to focus on the basic elements required first and look to the gadgets as nothing more than an aid.

Failure brings Success
Whether in space or on Mars, the best way to move forward is to learn from failures. There is no better lesson learned than one that has come from a past failure. Nobody is perfect. We all mess things up sometimes. It’s what we do following it that really makes the difference. Be like the Damon character in “Martian”. Accept that there is no perfect way to get ahead. Try try and try again. Learning and improving each time. Build those connections, plan for those great deals, nurture your long-term loyal clients. Once you have figured out the optimum steps and processes to suit your business you can replicate them when you make initial contact with new clients.

If you haven’t seen the movie yet, it’s definitely worth a look. Unlike Damon though, try and keep your feet on the ground. Good luck!