Applying Jerry Maguire’s Philosophy to Modern B2B Sales

What can Jerry Maguire teach you about selling? Quite a bit, it turns out. Read our top takeaways for sale pros from the classic blockbuster.

May 16, 2017

  • what-is-your-mission

A handful of Hollywood movies have accurately captured the ethos and anguish of the average sales professional. Jerry Maguire is one of those, offering valuable lessons that have stood the test of time. Here are three takeaways from Tom Cruise and company that you can apply as a modern sales professional.

Tie Your Future to Your Customer’s Success

Even those who have never seen this movie have likely heard one of its most oft-quoted refrains: “Show me the money!” Though it’s Jerry’s client, Rod (a pro football player) saying this, it could just as easily have come from the mouth of Jerry (who plays a sports agent, aka a sales rep for pro athletes).

In this case, Jerry demonstrates model behavior by responding with “Help me help you!” Jerry wisely recognizes that if his client succeeds, he will too. In fact, by the end of the movie, Rod is excelling in his career and new clients start knocking on Jerry’s door. As their relationship strengthens, so does their joint success.

In the modern buyer era, this is exactly the approach and mindset that drives sales success. A focus on helping instead of selling goes a long way toward cementing a relationship that pays off over the long haul.

You can assist your prospective and existing customers in many ways,

  • Sharing relevant information as they research their options
  • Offering to introduce them to those in your professional network who can share insights and advice
  • Guiding them on ways to best navigate the buying process
  • Keeping them informed of opportunities to extract more value from your solution
  • Inviting them to share their success in the form of case studies, conference presentations, and webinars

Be Authentic

Jerry experiences an epiphany, realizing that he’s tired of playing the “sports agent” game. As he writes his personal mission statement, he laments the fact that the money machine has come to overshadow personal relationships in his business. He says he can no longer BS people.

This sentiment echoes a key principle of social selling: be authentic. People do business with people they like and respect. You demonstrate your genuine interest in helping the buyer succeed by focusing on them rather than your product or quota. Take the time to research the buyer and their company on LinkedIn with a goal of pinpointing strategic initiatives and figuring out how to provide relevant insights. Comment on their LinkedIn articles or a recent business achievement. Share their content with your own network to boost their visibility.

Genuine actions show you are sincere, credible, and are interested in building a relationship instead of just making the sale. And they help you build trust, making your prospect more receptive to engaging with you and even possibly making a purchase.

Get Personal

Jerry’s mentor, Dicky Fox, says, “The key to this business is personal relationships.” The same holds true for selling. All your relationships will come into play in different ways at different times. The personal relationships in your LinkedIn network can also prove valuable when you are seeking warm introductions and insight into target accounts. Establishing personal connections with prospects paves the way for meaningful interactions and can even predispose buyers to favor you and your company.

The good news is that you don’t need to experience a crisis of conscience and develop a new philosophy to become the best sales professional you can be. Start putting these words of wisdom into action and you’ll be well on your way to excelling in your field.

For more ways to succeed in the modern sales world, download our new eBook, Making Sales Simpler: The Effortless Guide to Using LinkedIn for Sales Success.