What Tarantino teaches us about our trade

PLEASE DON’T WATCH THIS IF YOU ARE OFFENDED BY ADULT THEMES AND STRONG LANGUAGE!

It’s hard to believe that he can, but master of cinema Tarantino demonstrates a number of sales philosophies in any number of his films. I’ve picked the classic ‘Kahuna Burger’ scene from ‘Pulp Fiction’ to illustrate what I mean…

  1. You control the environment in which you sell. Jules and Vincent immediately set up in the apartment in strategic places to control what goes on. Always make sure you are aware of where you are presenting and what might go wrong! What interruptions might you face if you are at a clients premises for example?
  2. Always stay ‘in control’ of the call. Note how very subtly Jules makes sure that nothing happens that he isn’t comfortable with. Whether he is directing ‘flock of seagulls’ back to the couch, or tying ‘Brad’ up in knots with his quick fire questioning. Jules runs the ‘meeting’ at his own pace and follows his own agenda. He dictates things with body language and eye contact and the slightest of gestures of his hand. Now that’s charisma!
  3. Tell your story, and don’t rush it! There is an inevitability to this scene that is as horrific as it is fascinating, and clearly few client calls will end this way! However, Jules sets the scene, explains the rationale for the visit, delivers the message, and closes the deal. All at his own pace and with his own particular style
  4. Practice, rehearse and practice some more. Even Jules is happy to admit that he has the verse he uses memorised for occasions just like that, and the same verse even comes in handy later in the film during the ‘breakfast scene’ as well. Good stuff like that can be used over and over, and fitted in to any number of situations when you are comfortable with them. It doesn’t have to be a verse from the Bible, it could be technical specifications, statistics etc
  5. When you get in trouble, questions are the answer. An extreme example here, and its fair to say Jules never loses control of the ‘meeting’, but if you are struggling, or the meeting is going off point, questions are a great way to get everything back on track. It’s a great, non aggressive tack to take. Make sure they are relevant though (Describe Marcellus Wallace?) And its probably best to avoid throwing over tables and pointing guns
  6. Always stay on brand. You may wonder why Jules and Vincent go to all that trouble with Brad and his cohorts? Why not ‘close the deal’ as soon as they gained entry to the apartment? No, they stay on brand, terrifying the people that had crossed their boss, Marcellus. This is gangland punishment with style and panache!  They are professionals, and take an enormous amount of pride in their jobs. Even in the midst of an epiphany, a ‘road to Damascus’ moment that hints at a forthcoming change in his ways, he still ‘gets the job done’.
  7. Finally, don’t give a speech, put on a show! We see a bloody, brutal episode in a stereotypical drug culture situation lifted to high cinema by the performance of a master at work!
Am I right? Can you see it? or am I miles off with this one? Let me know…
  1. mrsmoti
    mrsmoti says:

    Well Damian – don’t think you can go wrong here – kick-ass selling, adult themes and strong language. And you may not have written a book yet, but stick all these posts together and – hey, diddley, dee – you’ve got a great sales guide…

    My Kindle looks forward.

    • damiandowling
      damiandowling says:

      Thanks Mrs Moti! great comments. As soon as I’ve put that ebook together, you’ll be the first to know!
      I’d also heartliy recommend your blog to anyone that finds this one remotely interesting – one can reach it by clicking on your name
      (there’s a way for me to include a link on this one to your blog isn’t there? I’ll have to look into that…)

  2. Joe B
    Joe B says:

    Love it – who would have thought Tarantino was versed in the Giff as well? Reminds me, still 190 pages to go