Academy Awards and Customer Service: What Good Salespeople and Winning Films Have in Common
There are so many types of salespeople in the world, and things can get a little hairy when it comes time to dole out the recognition that so many of them rightfully deserve. For the most part, it takes true dedication on the part of the salesperson—as well as a belief in the service that he or she is providing—to convey the value of something to others, especially when that something is intangible. Selling material goods can be tough, but selling ideas is tougher still.
At the end of the day, success in sales deserves its due recognition. Though different areas of expertise in the sales profession may seem unlike other areas, it doesn’t mean that the core principles aren’t the same. What are those principles, you ask? Well, let’s take the high school English approach and do some quick comparing and contrasting.
Hey, didn’t the Academy Awards just air last night? They sure did—and it got me thinking that actors and filmmakers might just be salespeople too! I mean, think about what’s required of an efficient salesperson, and while you’re at it, think about what makes an award-worthy film. There are some definite similarities:
Communicate the Worth of What You're Selling
1) Communicate the Worth of What You’re Selling
Now, I’m no expert in sales, but I’d imagine that much of it has to do with making sure that the customer (even if your customer is an audience) understands the inherent value in what you have to offer. People simply need to know that something is worth buying (or buying into), and they’ll oftentimes need to identify with the person doing the selling. This is undoubtedly taken into consideration when the awards are handed out at the Oscars. In a way, the ceremony honors individuals who make a living out of selling believable stories on-screen. When an on-screen performance is believable enough, or when the technical proficiency on display simply cannot be ignored, the film in question is all the more likely to receive accolades, and rightfully so.
Be Likable and Professional
2) Be Likable and Professional
No one makes a big sale (or a decent movie, for that matter) without attempting to convey both likability and professionalism. When talented salespeople speak to customers, they don’t just relate the basic information about a product or service—they make the information engaging, palatable, and relevant. Raw facts are one thing, but without charm and a little know-how, even the most interesting facts will end up falling on deaf ears. The same goes for award-worthy films. They require skilled craftsmanship and attention to detail. They need to be likable enough to provide audiences with at least 90 minutes of entertaining content, and professional enough to allow for seamless escapism. When the Academy composes its categorized lists of annual Oscar nominees, they include only the ones that demonstrate excellence—the ones that win them over.
Always Be Closing
3) “Always Be Closing”
Fittingly enough, this tip for sales success belongs to Alec Baldwin, as it was made famous by his character in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross (required viewing for those in the sales profession, by the way). As summarized by Investopedia, it’s a strategy “in which a salesperson should constantly look for new prospects, pitch products or services to those prospects and complete the sale. Always be closing (ABC), as a strategy, requires the salesperson to be persistent, but also know when to cut losses and move on to another prospect.” Naturally, good salespeople shouldn’t need to cut their losses too often, but in the event that a particular sale doesn’t go as planned, there’s no point in dwelling. Move on to the next project and hold your head high. Learn from your recent mistakes and improve on them—that way, there’s no excuse not to close next time. And that’s sound advice in any area of sales. You think professional actors and moviemakers let a loss at the box office (or at awards shows) discourage them? Nah-uh. They move right along to their next big-screen endeavor, bringing their A-game along with them, like the great salespeople they are.
Though they’re not technically part of the same arena, the fundamental similarities between conventional salesmanship and award-worthy filmmaking are definitely noticeable—and very much worth taking note of. A lot of salespersons out there might benefit from watching award-shows like the Oscars.
Which awards would you give to your favorite customer service rep or salesperson? What similarities do you see between customer service and award-winning films?
Heading photo by Dave_B on Flickr.