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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

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

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

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.



Joseph Giorgi

Joseph is the head of the Media Team at Quality Logo Products. He's a video specialist, blogger, perfectionist, and all-around likeable guy. When he's not busy focusing on the nitty-gritty details of his written and visual work, he's normally listening to bad 80s music and scouring the internet for useless information on useless subjects. You can also connect with Joe on Google+.

Comments

  1. Scooby DOO!

    Joe, I totally agree BUT I did not see it coming that you watch the awards. Did you SEE Nicole Kidmans DRESS? OMG. hahaa. Wait, that will be Lauren K’s topic. Spoiler alert!

    Number one to me: Be the BEST.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      I’m a bit of a film-buff, so yeah, I try to watch the awards if I can.

      And yes, simply being “the best” at sales is probably a good rule of thumb. I should have just used that as the only criterion for success and kept this post short. It basically trumps the rest anyway. :)

  2. Jill Tooley

    Great post, Joe!

    You’re right, customer service IS a lot like a ceremony for the Oscars! #1 has a lot to do with preparation: you won’t win many customers with disorganized work and an ineffective sales pitch just like you won’t win many Oscars with a sloppy plot and badly-edited movie trailers. #2 shows that your work isn’t done once the film is released; you’d still need to get out there and meet studio execs/industry connections to promote your work just as a salesperson would need to meet with customers and maintain professionalism after the sale is completed. And #3 demonstrates that not every film/sale can be a hit; sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but you need to learn from mistakes if you want to improve your chances of success!

    Good salespeople do deserve awards for their accomplishments…and that’s just one of the many ways that promo items can be used. Trophies, plaques, gift sets…you name it, it’s been given as an award of some sort.

    Anyway, I only have one more thing to say: Word of mouth also plays a big role in moviegoers’ opinions AND in company dealings. I’d be much more likely to see a film if a trusted source recommended it, just like I’d be more likely to choose a company’s services if a trusted source recommended it. If you do a bang-up job, then people will talk about it! :)

    • Joseph Giorgi

      Thanks!

      Wow, you brought up some other really good points. I totally forgot about word-of-mouth. I should have figured out a way to incorporate that somehow. And I should have talked about how the award itself is a kind of promotional giveaway.

      So many missed opportunities. Oh well, there’s always next year’s Oscar blog! :)

  3. Bret Bonnet

    I stopped watching the Academy Awards about 10 years ago when “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure” got totally SNUBBED by not getting a nomination for Best Film of the Year.

    What was the Academy thinking?!?!?

    … Sales ain’t easy. My admiration and appreciation to all you great sales people out there (all of which work at QLP!). Job well done.

    • Joseph Giorgi

      No worries, Bret. The new Bill & Ted movie that’s supposedly in development is sure to win the critics over!

  4. Alex

    Interesting! Great comparison and post.

  5. Cybernetic SAM

    Joe I am so sorry you didn’t get to watch them, guess we should get television! I really did want to watch them.:P

  6. JPorretto

    Joe, I think you would’ve been a better host than Anne Hathaway and whatshisface. I didn’t watch, but they are getting KILLED by the media.

  7. Yowhatup!

    Great post Joe!

    Sales ain’t easy…that’s for sure.

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