Horror movies are predictable and filled with clichés. Although we know a monster lurks around every corner, we squirm in anticipation of a sudden sound or blood-curdling scream that will make us fly out of our seats at any moment.
It turns out horror films are filled with sales strategy lessons.
1. Never enter a deserted house. Something bad always happens!
SALES LESSON: If the business looks run down and management can’t be found, it's a sign this prospect doesn’t have money to spend. Make sure your prospects fit your company’s ideal customer profile… and use it!
2. Know the person to whom you are speaking. In scary movies, the victim often has a prior encounter with the villain in which all sorts of information that comes back to haunt them later spews from their mouth.
SALES LESSON: Take the time to research your prospect and anticipate some potential needs. Peruse their website and LinkedIn, and read a few trade association industry articles. Don’t go into the meeting cold.
3. Have something to offer. The person with the least to offer is the one who winds up on the floor with a knife in his back. It’s all about creating value… and the person “worth” the least to the villain dies!
SALES LESSON: Whether you are setting the appointment or already knee-deep in the sales process, it’s important to show the client or prospect that you are a valuable partner, someone whose ideas and resources make them more successful.
4. Don’t go back without a plan. After someone winds up missing, the whole gang rushes back to the scene of the crime. Of course, they stumble around without a plan and end up in worse shape than before.
SALES LESSON: Do your homework; ask good questions; be prepared to suggest some possible solutions so you and your prospect can collaborate to create a final solution everyone has confidence in.
5. Dress the part. It wouldn’t be a horror flick without blood and gore. It’s expected.
SALES LESSON: Always dress, and act the part expected of you. Be professional.
6. Know what is lurking behind every corner. Half the fun of a horror film is that we don’t know what will jump out next. We fear the unknown, the creepy, the unfamiliar. The one who “checks it out” always dies, usually due to a lack of preparation.
SALES LESSON: There should be no surprises in sales. If you’ve prepared properly, both you and the prospect know exactly what is ahead when it comes time to present the proposal. Communication and an interactive process are critical.
7. Use your team. The person who leaves the group to “check things out” alone never comes back alive. There is safety in numbers.
SALES LESSON: Use your team. If your operation is typical of most, you are part of a larger sales organization and have many “specialists” on whom you can call for support. A good salesperson is not alone and knows when to call on those resources.
*Editor's Note: This blog has been updated with more relevant information.