Fight Club is one my favorite movies and stars Edward Norton and Brad Pitt. It’s pretty graphic at times, but the truth is there are some great lessons to be learned from it about life and believe it or not – about sales.
Lesson 1 – It Takes Pain to Win
“Without pain, without sacrifice you have nothing.” Tyler Durdin
Sometimes I think we remain mediocre because we are not in enough pain. Pain is a motivator. Discontent is a catalyst for great things to happen in our lives. Does it physically hurt you that you’re not where you want to be in your sales, salary, career or family? Well it should!
One of the messages in Fight Club (the chemical burn scene) is you should let yourself feel the pain. If you’re not where you want to be, stop numbing yourself to the mediocrity in your life. Wake yourself up out of your stupor and seriously think about the things you don’t have yet: fulfillment, a sense of accomplishment, an award, money, that dream vacation, pride, or whatever it is you want. Are you hurting yet?
Once you start to feel that pain, feel it deeply. Grab a hold of it and channel that into super-hero determination. You’ll be surprised at the results you will achieve.
Lesson 2 – Solving Problems Leads to Sales
“It was right in everyone’s face. Tyler and I just made it visible. It was on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Tyler and I just gave it a name.” The Narrator
Your job as a salesperson is to meet people’s needs. You are not supposed to sell – you are supposed to solve problems. That sounds easy enough right? The issue is that as consumers, we don’t always know what we need. We don’t always recognize there is a problem to be solved. You want to kick some butt and take some names in sales? Figure out how to make our needs visible and put the solution (your solution) on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Just remember not to be obnoxious, overbearing or pushy.
PS – The more creatively you can do that, the better.
Lesson 3 – You Can’t Fake Sincerity
“Sticking feathers up your butt does not make you a chicken.” Tyler Durdin
If you are not authentic, people can tell. If your true motivation in being kind to someone in order to hit them up for a sale, be prepared to lose. What would this world be like if every salesperson cared about their customers more than closing the deal? Unfortunately, that mindset isn’t teachable; that value system has to come from within you. Are you willing to shift your perspective on selling? Are you open to a new approach that may seem counter-intuitive?
Lesson 4 – Know When to Walk Away
“[Screw] Martha Stewart! Martha’s polishing the brass on the Titanic. It’s all going down man.” Tyler Durdin
The bottom line is this: you can’t afford to waste your time. You’ve got to make really smart decisions about your priorities. You also need to learn to say “No.”
Let’s get practical. Is that networking group yielding any results for you? Yes, I know you already paid the 12 month membership fee. But seriously, how many referrals have you received? How many strategic business relationships have you developed? Here’s the big question: how much new business could you develop if you spent that 1.5 hours plus drive time doing something else?
Another scenario: Will that prospect who has been stringing you along really become a customer? And if you have to work that hard to convince him/her that they should be working with you, do you really want them to become a customer? How miserable could they make your life moving forward?
At what point do you say, “Enough is enough?”
I wish there was a black and white answer to that question, but there isn’t. Knowing when to keep nudging and knowing when to cut your losses takes practice and unfortunately, learning hard lessons along the way. But over time, you will become more self-confident and realize what value you bring to your clients. You know what happens next…? That’s for another blog post. 😉
Here are some other quotes from the movie. Which ones speak to you? How does it challenge you?
“I say never be complete, stop being perfect. I say, let’s evolve. Let the chips fall where they may.” Tyler Durdin
“The things you own, end up owning you.” Tyler Durdin
“Stop trying to control everything and just let go. Let go!” Tyler Durdin
Alicia Arenas is a guest blogger for The Red Recruiter.
Read Alicia’s last “Fight Club” post – “The Fight Club Guide To Selling, Part 1”
Photo Credit, Polina Sergeeva