Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
For many startups, sales is the last thing they want to focus on. They are so focused on getting their product out there that they forget about the importance of sales. This article will provide you with some basic sales lessons for startups and entrepreneurs. Sales is not just about making a sale — it is also about understanding your customer’s needs and providing them with what they need to make their lives easier. Hugh Jackman in the movie, The Greatest Showman, was a great case to learn how to sell effectively. Here’s why:
The Greatest Showman = Great Entrepreneur
The Greatest Showman is a 2017 American musical drama film starring Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron, Michelle Williams and Rebecca Ferguson. The film celebrates the birth of show business. Inspired by the ambition and imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman tells the story of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.
Related: 10 Movies All Entrepreneurs Should Watch on Hulu
Be passionate and embrace your vision
Passion is what will keep you going. It is what will make you work hard and continue to do so even after the first few weeks of your business. Every entrepreneur should have a clear vision of where they want their business to go and how they want it to be perceived by the world. They should also have a drive that pushes them forward in order to achieve this vision.
There is this bar scene in the movie that I’ve probably watched more than 1,000 times on YouTube, which shows how to deliver your passion and your vision. Jackman’s character, P.T. Barnum, is trying to convince Efron’s character, Phillip, to work in his business. Barnum is trying everything — passionately describing his vision and showing that Phillip will finally be free if he works with him. He is painting a more fun future for Phillip and trying to convince him.
You, as an entrepreneur, should also be passionate about your product or service. Not in an annoying way, but in a way that you’re really proud of what you create. Offer the benefits not for yourself, but for the other person.
It’s important to give people space
There is a moment in the film after Barnum performs, where he gives Phillip space to think about the offer. Barnum ends his offer with the words: “But I guess I’ll leave that up to you,” and he sits down on his chair. This is a key moment, because Phillip is stopping and really thinking about the offer for a couple of seconds, before he turns around and starts to negotiate with Barnum.
There are many opportunities in a sales meeting that can be used to get the attention of the customer. For example, if you notice that they are distracted by something, you can offer them space. This means moving away from them and giving them room to breathe. Another way is to create space for yourself, and offer it to the customer. This could mean moving your chair or standing up while they sit down. In this way, you are both giving each other space and making sure that there is enough room in the meeting for everyone.
Related: 8 Simple Keys to Becoming a Better Salesperson
Be authentic, and embrace failure
The only way to make a connection with your audience is to be authentic. We are all human, and we have flaws, but it’s important to share the best versions of ourselves and be okay with failing from time to time. Later on in the movie, Barnum makes a couple of mistakes that brought him not only financial struggle, but also hardship with his wife and family. After a time of regret and reflection, he realizes the important values, what really matters in his life and why he is in business in the first place — for his own family.
This has happened to all of us. Something goes wrong, and then we have to make tough decisions. Don’t be too proud. Take responsibility, and be authentic in your communication. Try to be a problem-solver, and focus on the good things that have happened already.
In many ways, successful entrepreneurs are showmen, too. They create buzz, win the hearts of people and create value. The way they do this is by being authentic and providing content that people want to read and share. This doesn’t mean that everything should be only for show, but you should have some vision and have passion for your projects. Reach out with the benefits for your clients and be enthusiastic about how this will transform their business. The more you focus on the other side, the easier the sale will be. The truth is, it will not actually be a sale, it will be a partnership — which is more valuable than a quick sale.