Pursuit of Happiness: Sales Analysis

The iconic film, Pursuit of happiness provides a sneak peek of some core sales fundamentals. I have outlined some of the sales learnings available to us during Will Smith’s cold calling mission. Remember, just because it’s a popular film doesn’t mean the content is not factually correct. Many times advisors are brought in to add realism to the motion-picture.

So what can the Pursuit of Happiness teach us on how to improve our sales? Watch the YouTube video:

OK, so you saw the clip? Great, now lets look at the content:

1- Have a plan

As the narration shows, Will Smith’s character had a plan he had already worked out what was required of him to achieve his goal. He knew that people who brought in the ‘most money after 6 months’ were hired. So now he has his outcome and that gives him a direction for his efforts. Not only did he know to make money, but make the most money out of his colleagues, and make the most in a 6 month time frame.

2- Know what is expected of you

He had to work his way up the call-sheets he’d been given, from bottom to top, and sign as many clients as possible. So to do what was expected of him, he needed to understand the resources he had at his disposal, and decide if, with his current situation, he had a chance of making more than anyone else…unfortunately for him, this ‘stock-take’ gave him the realisation he needed to amend the plan he was given.

3 – Know your maths

Due to the demands place on him for looking after his son, Will’s character had to ‘do in 6 hours what they do in 9’ so he had to optimise his time and figure how to fit the same tasks into a shorter day. It was hard but he economized by not hanging up the phone between calls to save 8 minutes a day. Now 8 minutes a day, to my mind, would not be sufficient-enough a time-saving to warrant the added stress, nor the lack of mental clarity in call preparation before speaking to someone new. If you have a large rejection, even seasoned salespeople may still be feeling the effect for 30 seconds – emotions are easily controllable, but they don’t just flick off. Instead, they subside.

4 – No water… so time is not wasted in the bathroom?

NOT recommended. Studies show that you should take a break every 45minutes (as this article from HuffPost explains) – for just a few minutes – to maintain mental fitness, attention, and retention – all these factors would slowly start to affect the quality of his conversations late in the day and he would come across less positively. Furthermore, the lack of hydration would create at least some mental fatigue, exacerbating the situation

5 – Checked his progress

After 2 months of this crazy schedule, unsurprisingly he was still not anywhere near the top of the call-sheet. He was nowhere near calling CEOs where the big money was… and not surprisingly! But he did review his progress and this is something that will keep a salesperson / junior broker on track. Ideally though, this should be done as part of a weekly morning meeting.

6 – Take initiative

Here our hero throws out the rule book and skips to top of list (CEO Zone) where ‘Mr Ribbon’ agrees to a quick meeting before a sporting event. So what does that tell us? Sometimes to get ahead you have to do what everybody else isn’t. Sometimes, you have to take some risks and go out an take what you’ve earned.


For some real-life sales tips, check out this post.


Until next time, Sell Well 🙂


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