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Episode 35: the tina turner test

Too often sales professionals place themselves—not the prospect—as the hero in their story and ultimately find themselves in a Mad Max-style battle in Thunderdome: two men enter, one man leaves. But your prospect doesn't need another hero. They need a guide. You can be that guide they are looking for, insightful and helpful as the hero continues his journey. In episode 35, we will introduce some cinema sales skills to reinforce this concept as well as The Tina Turner Test to ensure your branding and messaging places the prospect as the hero. Doing so will help you sell more.  

Forget ABC: Always be closing.

Think ABG: Always be guiding.

Read the article . . . 


When salespeople view prospects as rivals, as competitors to be vanquished, they are entering dangerous territory.  


Like Mad Max entering Thunderdome, too many sales professionals view the sales cycle as a zero sum game. There can only be one winner.  


If you win, that means I lose. 
And vice versa. 

Two men enter, one man leaves.    


It is counterproductive to identify the goal in selling as overcoming the challenge that is the prospect. Rather, the goal in selling is to help the prospect identify and overcome the challenge that is in his business.


As a sales professional, you are not the hero in this movie.


You’re the guide, helping the hero—your prospect—overcome challenges seen and unseen, internal and external, to win the day, save the world, kiss the girl, whatever.    

You may be the hero in the personal movie playing in your mind right now, and that’s OK. In the sales process, however, you are not the hero.   


You are the guide.


In Star Wars, you are not Luke Skywalker. You're Obi-Wan Kenobi, building confidence and training young Luke.


In Good Will Hunting, you’re not Will Hunting. You’re Dr. Sean Maguire played by Robin Williams, challenging your prospect to become his best self, overcoming internal obstacles even he cannot see. 


In Tommy Boy, you’re not Tommy Callahan, heir to the family auto parts business in Sandusky, Ohio. You are Richard Hayden, David Spade’s wiseass character. 


I could do this all day because nearly every movie follows this familiar “Hero’s Journey” story. There's a hero and a guide. 

You are not the hero. 
You are the guide. 


Like many of the guiding principles in life, this is easy to say, simple to understand, and yet oh-so-difficult to practice. This is why so many sales people start conversations by talking about themselves, their career, their successes, their products, and their services . . . instead of asking questions about the prospect's journey and what obstacles they are facing along the way. 


Instinctively, these salespeople view themselves as the hero, not the guide.   

Visit just about any website and it won’t take long to realize who the hero is—it’s the company who owns the website. Who we are and what we do and where we are located and how we got here.


Sound familiar?


It’s not about you. 
You are the guide, not the hero. 


 To lock in this message, let’s return to Thunderdome.


In Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Tina Turner plays the role of Aunty Entity, the corrupt mayor of Bartertown. She also sings the closing title song, “We don’t need another hero,” which reached #2 in the Billboard Top 100 in 1986.


So, on behalf of builders and buyers the world over, I want the chorus of this song to be stuck in your head for the rest of your career.


“We don’t need another hero."


The builder prospect or buyer you are dealing with now does not need another hero.

Why? Because they are the hero. 


We know this, but do we do it?
This the Tina Turner Test.


Go to your website. 
Read your sales collateral. 
Look at your last prospecting email.


Listen to your colleague in the cube next to you leaving that voicemail and ask yourself: 

Are they making the prospect the hero? 


Do they pass the Tina Turner Test?


Your prospect doesn’t need another hero. They are the hero in their story—and they need to be the hero in yours as well.  


You, my friend, are the guide. 
The world needs more guides. 


Smart, dedicated, insightful guides who know how to help the hero better than the hero knows how to help himself. 

In Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, do you remember how that scene ends? 

Max Rockatansky (yes, that's his last name) doesn’t kill Master Blaster—the little guy and his bodyguard—but rather, he shows mercy. Max understands he is just a pawn in this game. He sees the bigger picture and refuses to play along.


And so it is with us, battling our instinct, our human nature to view ourselves as the hero, subordinating our role to that of a humble guide, helping the hero achieve his dream.


Do that day in and day out—pass the Tina Turner Test—and you will be handsomely rewarded for your efforts. Thanks for reading.