- Inigo Montoya teaches us about making sales calls better
Inigo Montoya teaches us about making sales calls better
Before John Wick, there was another cinematic man of focus, commitment, and sheer will. A man who has practiced and perfected his craft, fueled by a desire for revenge. That man was Inigo Montoya, illustriously played by Mandy Patinkin, in a 1987 film that sits atop many people’s top 10 favorite movies lists, The Princess Bride.
In The Princess Bride, the Spanish henchman seeks the 6-fingered man that murdered his father. He has spent all his life planning to encounter this man, challenge him to a duel, and avenge his father. Inigo Montoya has studied sword-fighting endlessly (in much the same way we would like our sales and BDC teams to ready themselves for their engagements with prospects) and has both physically and mentally prepared for this eventual confrontation. He even committed an avowal to memory for the moment he meets his father’s killer. A pledge for the day he faces the person he promised to kill.
“Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”– Inogo Montoya
This is easily one of the most well-known movie quotes of the last 50 years. It’s repeated multiple times in the film and is stated with a brilliant commitment by Patinkin. Any character with such a singular focus draws admiration from viewers, and Inigo Montoya is a classic example. So what does this dastardly swashbuckler from the silver screen have to do with car sales? Great question. In a time where dealership personnel prefers to text 50 times before dialing a phone once, where they abhor phone scripts but still suck when “winging it” on their calls, I think sales and BDC teams can learn a lot from Inigo Montoya, specifically when making sales calls.
First, let’s embrace the devotion to his pledge. It isn’t just pillow talk. Inigo Montoya dedicated countless hours, days, weeks, months, and years to perfecting his fighting skills and swordplay. He’s likely battled hundreds of men and won. Now, how much time does your sales and BDC team train? How much true attention do they give to perfecting their phone skills? How much do they scoff at role-playing when everyone knows it is necessary for training? Preparation is the foundation of Inigo Montoya. We must coach our staff to have the same mindset, or they will never grow. They need to ask themselves one simple question: Am I making sales calls that achieve the desired outcomes?
Now let’s look at how Inigo Montoya’s avowal teaches us about making sales calls. His sales call example covers each element perfectly.
When making sales calls, the greeting must be enthusiastic and focused. Not said flippantly.
When making sales calls, the introduction is so important.
“My name is Inigo Montoya.”
Who are you? Who are you with? This is important when making sales calls as it builds clarity if your phone number is not saved into the recipient’s cellphone, which it likely isn’t. Moreover, if you haven’t yet had a direct connection, the exchange of names starts the process of any relationship.
When making sales calls, the context sets the purpose.
“You killed my father.”
What is this about? Why are you calling me? This is where either the purpose of your call must be shared, or the relevant personal link. The substance of your call happens during this stage. Even if leaving a voicemail, the context needs to happen. If you are indeed on a live engagement, a question asked of the customer to generate a more fully realized conversation is ideal.
When making sales calls, the call to action indicates the next steps.
“Prepare to die.”
What do we need from them? What must happen? You must alert the customer to the next steps or invite them to complete a task or activity. This can be stating what you will do next for them or what you need them to complete. Nonetheless, this is about managing expectations and setting the scene for the following action.
As you can see, Inigo Montoya lives by a promise to himself and has learned by a script so well he is off-script. Your team, even if never “on script,” can follow this foundational structure when making sales calls every time.
1. Deliver a strong greeting.
2. Introduce themselves.
3. Provide the context or purpose of the call.
4. Make an invitation or discuss the path forward with the next steps.
These 4 basic goals can guide your team fundamentally while making sales calls or any outbound sales call they are tasked with during the day. Filling in the myriad word tracks that can be used under each of these 4 sections is the fun part. That’s where practice comes in. Whether you train your salespeople on how to make sales calls or use DealerKnows for your automotive phone training, embracing the structure of Inigo Montoya’s beloved mantra is a great place to start.