What Sales Leaders Can Learn From One of the Funniest Movies of All Time
To keep their team motivated and performing at the top of their game
With hilarious performances by Leslie Mann and Jon Stewart, grossing over $230MM worldwide and winning Adam Sandler both a best comedic actor award, and worst actor Razzie award, “Big Daddy” has a big takeaway for sales leaders.
The takeaway helps leaders understand salespeople more and get to a central idea that might demotivate and negatively affect salespeople’s performance.
Salespeople by nature are often
Competitive, Ambitious, Driven, and Outgoing.
Although the introvert stoic salesperson who is a fantastic listener can succeed in many ways, the reality is that salespeople tend to be a rowdier bunch than say the chemistry lab scientists.
The hardcore sales organizations that live their lives with with an “Always Be Closing” philosophy can be very stressful for even career salesmen or women. Combine that with leaderboards, trips, promotions, and the draw of more money, it is no wonder salespeople have come to develop their stereotypical high performance image.
Close the Deal
The image is also perpetuated by high-performance motivational speakers or sales trainers.
Stereotypes aside, salepeople in all organizations share a common goal:
Today, closing a deal is a combination of mental awareness, product knowledge, professionalism, marketing, speaking, presentation, and more. Managers have the challenge of keeping their team motivated and staying at peak performance.
Similarly salespeople need to stay in peak performance with every customer interaction so that conversations are productive enough to generate revenue.
Digging deeper, the customer interaction consists of:
Not saying the wrong thing that might have legal repercussions, or promising things your product or service does not do.
Managing individual emotions, and the emotions of the person sitting across from the table.
Maintaining a positive attitude.
All while answering questions and presenting your product in the best possible way.
While other roles might allow someone to “sit in a cubicle or office” with their coffee until they are ready to “deal with people” the salesperson does not have the same luxury.
It is like expecting an athlete to perform at peak gametime levels, 8+ hours a day, 5 days a week.
Organizations Spend A Lot of Resources
While sales is not a strenuous physical activity, it can be a mental drain. Thinking cost energy too.
Another example could be playing a chess match 8 hours a day with every match counting toward your salary if you win. You don’t win, you don’t eat. But after the first few games, you can burn out.
To figure out how to get more out of their employees, salespeople alike.
Not every sales organization or salesperson performs with these types of attitudes or level of activity. And companies at the Fortune 500 level have vastly different types of sales organizations and activities than a scrappy startup selling training courses for $99 a pop.
Everyone Shouts “Surprise”
Some try to set their culture to be less about “selling” and more about relationships, or more about communication, or more about “love.” And at some level, they might try hard to figure out how to take a less “perform or lose” approach and a more “give first, reap rewards later” all while motivating buyers to sign on the dotted line before the end of the month.
So what does the movie “Big Daddy” have to do with all of this?
Corinne Maloney (portrayed by Leslie Mann) brings together a few dozen friends to dress up in a swanky New York studio apartment to throw a surprise birthday party for her fiance Kevin Gerrity (Jon Stewart).
Sonny Koufax (Adam Sandler) walks in amused as
only to realize it is the wrong person. A few moments later, Gerrity (the intended surprisee) walks into the room to “no surprise.”
Corinne Maloney is disappointed and looks at Sonny and says “hhhuhg, we wasted the good surprise on you.”
Consider for a moment all the energy that got put in for that single moment: party planning, rallying people without letting the surprise out, preparing drinks, and dressing up all for one big exciting moment. It can be mentally draining and tiring.
Some salespeople are naturally likeable and handle themselves in every conversation very easily and close many deals because they have years of experience under their belt. For every natural-born closer, there are probably at least 3–5 salespeople who have to make a conscious effort to improve with every call, and it takes them a few years of practice to get into the groove and make themselves seem natural.
Meanwhile, the energy that Corinne applied toward planning that “one big surprise” is essentially the energy somewhat expected from a salesperson on every single dial of the telephone.
This isn’t about the account manager who travels to 3 or 5 customers businesses a day and chats with decision makers to gather information. Nor is this about the manager who did so well they got promoted in the first 6 months and gives great motivational pep talks. Nor are we talking about “good salespeople” vs “bad salespeople.”
Reduce the Monotony of Phone Dialing
The address here is the everyday outbound sales rep who is expected to make 100+ dials a day to close a few deals or at least open a conversation.
When every dial can potentially lead to a phone conversation and therefore a sale, salespeople are therefore constantly in that mode of preparing that “big wonderful surprise.” They may even unconsciously be expending the energy equivalent of a “big surprise” with every dial.
And here is what this mean’s for leaders.
It is probably more critical than ever to adopt the new technologies that
Do not mistake this concept to be “make less dials” or “work less hard.” It is possible to increase the number of dials, while also reducing the monotonous draining experience of them through automation.
Instead of being in a constant state of “preparedness” tension with every outbound call, salespeople can be in a state of preparedness, while rehearsing, and doing closing activities that are also beneficial for the company.
This idea is for the consideration of improved integration of marketing, sales, and technology so that your salespeople last longer, stay motivated, and ultimately perform better when it matters.
The sole purpose of dialing a phone is ultimately to get someone on the phone. But sitting through rings and voicemails, and pounding on a number pad is not the same as having a conversation. There are more effective ways of doing so, and in fact, you can even get more dials out, and more customer conversations with the right innovation within the salesforce.