I recently saw the movie, The Big Kahuna again. It’s a terrific movie that should be required viewing for all salespeople, sales managers and professionals.

It’s the story of three industrial lubricant salesmen (two grizzled veterans and a kid from research) trying to land a big account at a trade conference. Throughout the movie, they struggle with the hotel, their competition and each other.

While there are numerous ideas and insights (as well as laugh-out-loud moments) spread throughout the film, the most powerful occurs near the end, when Phil (Danny DeVito) lectures the young Bob (Peter Facinelli):

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling Jesus or Buddha or civil rights or ‘How to Make Money in Real Estate With No Money Down.’ That doesn’t make you a human being. It makes you a marketing rep. If you want to talk to somebody honestly, as a human being, ask him about his kids. Find out what his dreams are—just to find out, for no other reason. Because as soon as you lay your hands on a conversation to steer it, it’s not a conversation anymore; it’s a pitch. And you’re not a human being; you’re a marketing rep.”

Phil is dead on. Too many salespeople are so busy pitching, they have no idea who they’re talking to, much less what their hopes and dreams are. Which causes prospects to feel like revenue sources, rather than human beings.

If you’re a salesperson, business owner or professional, rent or buy this movie ASAP. If you’re a sales manager or VP, do a screening of it for your sales team. (Bonus points for providing popcorn.)

If you’ve seen the movie, what did you think of it? What were your biggest takeaways? Share them in the comments section below!

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