Sales might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of science-fiction but like everything else in life, you can learn a new lesson anywhere if you look hard enough. Movies can teach us a lot through characters that we love and stories that inspire us to do better and become better people. A life in sales is no different as every day can bring new challenges that oftentimes seem insurmountable. Let these ten greatest sales quotes from science-fiction movies inspire you to succeed:
1) “Do or do not. There is no try.” Yoda, Star Wars-The Empire Strikes Back – Yoda delivered this bit of wisdom to Luke Skywalker as part of his training to become a Jedi Knight, but it applies to sales better than to almost anything else. Because the job is ‘sell or sell not.’ You don’t get any commission on a deal that failed to close, no matter how much effort went into it.
2) “I’ll be back.” Terminator T-800 Model 101, The Terminator – In the movie, Arnie delivers this line to the desk sergeant who is blocking his access to the robot assassin’s target, Sarah Connor. But it can also apply to a sales rep who is being stopped by a gatekeeper from seeing the decision maker. Make “I’ll be back” your slogan, but hopefully, you can find a better way to gain access than by driving a car through the front of the building.
3) “Let’s talk about the bonus more.” Engineer Parker, Alien – Unlike our sisters and brothers in the working world who punch a timecard and get paid accordingly, those of us in sales are usually compensated according to how many deals we can close, and if things go well, a bonus might come into play. So it behooves us to always be very aware of just where we are in relation to that bonus. In a carrot-and-stick world, that bonus is your carrot.
4) “I’m not in the business. I am the business.” Rachel, Blade Runner – Rachel was referring to the fact that she was a Replicant, but this is a quote that every sales rep should take to heart. Because we don’t just show up to work and then go into sales mode. We need to be aware of potential prospects at all times, whether we’re in the office or on the town.
5) “I don’t like to lose.” Admiral James T. Kirk, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – Nobody likes to lose, but Kirk really doesn’t like to lose. In fact, he won’t accept a no-win situation. As a sales rep, it’s not likely that you’ll close every deal. But if you can come to the table expecting to win, you’re that much closer to success. Assuming the sale really can be a valuable strategy.
6) “I’ve got a bad feeling about him.” Dr. Frank Poole, 2001: A Space Odyssey – Poole is talking to fellow astronaut Dave Bowman about the HAL 9000 computer (the computer that subsequently kills Poole). People have a love-hate relationship with machines; we love how they make our lives easier, but we hate how they will one day revolt and kill us all. If a sales rep can just put a human face on the transaction, it will go a long way toward making the prospect feel more at ease.
7) “Tell him to suit up.” Tony Stark/Ironman, The Avengers – Ironman is inbound, with a huge alien monster on his tail, and he’s telling Bruce Banner that it’s time to get his Hulk on. Face it, puny Banner isn’t appropriate for an epic battle; but the Incredible Hulk is. And in sales, you need to suit up, too. Not necessarily an actual suit, but whatever is appropriate for the environment and reassuring to the prospect.
8) “The path was a circle, round and round. So I changed it.” Joe Simmons, Looper – The protagonist in this time-travel film was caught in a bad loop of murder and death. So he broke out. And when a sales rep is caught in a bad loop of no sales, they also have to break out, even if it means trying something new, or leaving their comfort zone. You can’t do the same thing over and over and expect a better result to occur.
9) “There’s no emotion. None. Just the pretense of it.” Wilma Lentz, Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) – As much as a sales person really and truly wants to help the customer, the fact is that you sometimes have to think of the prospects as pod-people. They may act excited and enthusiastic about the deal, but in reality, they are not your friends. If they think they can get a better deal someplace else, they will abandon you without a second thought or one twinge of conscience. It’s a fact; get used to it.
10) “Fortune favors the brave, dude.” Dr. Newton Geiszler, Pacific Rim – You’ve got to put yourself out there where the situation can find you, ‘cause it’s not going to come looking for you in the break room where you’re grabbing that last doughnut. Make that call, knock on that door. If you won’t pitch to the prospect because you’re afraid they’ll say ‘no,’ you’re never going to give them a chance to say ‘yes.’
Raymond K. Rugg is a veteran sales representative in the publishing and insurance industries. He is the author of the non-fiction book Rugg’s Handbook of Sales and Science Fiction (http://salesandscifi.weebly.