So I am kind of obsessed with this little movie called “The Greatest Showman” that came out on DVD recently (well, streaming because who even owns a DVD player anymore). Maybe you’ve heard of it? I love the story but what really gets me is the music. What a soundtrack! It’s from the genius songwriters behind the Broadway hit Dear Evan Hanson and it packs a punch of meaningful lyrics. I was musing today on the topic and wanted to delve into one of my favorite songs on the album, The Other Side.
Alright. So in the story, PT Barnum has his circus and it’s a huge hit but he’s not satisfied because the snooty upper crust society is still looking down their noses at him (and more importantly, his children). He needs legitimacy with society and to get that, he needs a society partner. So when his wife mention Philip Carlyle, an uptown swell who writes plays, Barnum seeks him out for a drink. Cue amazing song where Barnum talks Carlyle into running away to join the circus: The Other Side.
The Message Direct Sellers Should Take Away
Barnum’s approach here is brilliant. He is the one who needs Carlyle in this scenario. He needs someone who can elevate the status of his show. But if you listen to the lyrics, his whole pitch is based on what he can give Carlyle.
“You run with me
And I can cut you free
Out of the drudgery and walls you keep in
So trade that typical for something colorful
And if it’s crazy, live a little crazy
You can play it sensible, a king of conventional
Or you can risk it all and see”
He has identified an issue for Carlyle that isn’t readily apparent to the viewer (or even Carlyle) before this point in the story–not unlike how a business owner needs to identify the needs of a customer before the customer even realizes that need.
The best example of this I ever heard was at SassyCon (an incredible convention for direct sellers put on by the amazing Brenda Ster and Sassy Suite staff). One of the speakers talked to us about how she ended up buying a 31 Bags Tote because the ad spoke to a problem she didn’t know she had: bringing groceries in from the car! Most of us either try to carry 20 plastic bags on each arm or make multiple trips. The ad showed a busy mom hauling groceries into her house in one trip using a convenient tote. Sold!
It’s the same thing Barnum is doing. He tells Carlyle that Carlyle’s life is dull and caged, but Barnum can set him free. His ENTIRE pitch is about what he can give Carlyle, not what Carlyle can do for him. It’s brilliant.
“Don’t you wanna get away from the same old part you gotta play
‘Cause I got what you need, so come with me and take the ride
It’ll take you to the other side
‘Cause you can do like you do
Or you can do like me
Stay in the cage, or you’ll finally take the key
Oh, damn! Suddenly you’re free to fly
It’ll take you to the other side”
And though initially Carlyle insists he’s fine and isn’t interested, Barnum plays on his emotions and instead of selling him a thing (a percentage of the business), he sells Carlyle a feeling–the freedom to dream.
Retailers, you will not sell clothes if you ask people to support your daughter’s ballet lessons. You will not sell essential oils if you ask customers to help you hit your month end sales goal. And you will not build a team if you tell them how cheap it is to join.
Sell value. You could spend $100 on this watch, but I would be remiss in my obligations as your friend if I didn’t tell you that you could kitnap my company and get the watch AND a locket for that same $100. Sell emotions. It might look like just a dress, but this dress is as comfy as the yoga pants you wear daily but looks much more polished. You’ll feel more confident in this dress. In this dress, you won’t be embarrassed if you have to get out of the car at school pickup.
Above all, sell the relationship. Barnum spends the entire song talking about what he can give Carlyle. Carlyle won’t be alone. He will have dreams, he will have freedom, and he will have someone there with him supporting him. Who wouldn’t want to buy into that?
Want to see this sales method in action? Come hang in my group! We are an awesome community if I do say so myself.