sales advice from princess brideOne of the most popular—and most quoted—movies of all time is The Princess Bride. Although it didn’t do particularly well at the box office when it was released in 1987, it has earned a massive fan base via video and cable over the years.

princess bride sales adviceThe story centers on Westley the farm boy trying to save his beloved Buttercup from being forced to marry the evil Prince Humperdinck. Along the way, he encounters a swordsman seeking to avenge his father’s death (Inigo Montoya), a giant (Fezzik), and others. The movie has action, adventure, romance, humor, and suspense. And an important sales lesson for keen observers.

Late in the movie, Inigo and Fezzik take Westley—recently killed by Prince Humperdinck—to see Miracle Max, hoping to revive him. The retired Max doesn’t want to be bothered and refuses to help. Inigo must persuade him, but his initial efforts fail. How does he succeed?

If you don’t have the entire movie committed to memory, or if—heaven forbid—you haven’t seen the movie at all (You haven’t seen it? Inconceivable!), watch this clip:

It’s only when Inigo appeals to something that matters to Max, that Max agrees to help.

So what’s the lesson? People do things for their reasons, not ours.

If you want your prospect to buy, you need to know what matters to them:

• What do they love?
• What do they hate?
• What do they want?
• What do they fear?
• What are their priorities?
• What are their values?
• What do they want more of?
• What do they want less of?

These are the things that matter to your prospect, not your features and benefits. You might have an amazing product or service, but unless you can relate it to something that’s important to your prospect, they’re not going to buy it.

By the way, this is also a leadership lesson. Everybody in your organization does what they do for their own reasons. Tap into those reasons and you can significantly improve productivity, teamwork, sales, customer service and profitability. And that is a noble cause!