What you can learn about selling from Kate Hudson in Raising Helen

Do you need to reframe your perspective on selling? We all kinda do. So I thought, “What better place to get some inspiration than a romantic comedy?” Yes, this post shares some lessons about selling (what to do and what not to do) learned from watching Kate Hudson sell a jukebox on wheels in Raising Helen. Read on to learn some tips on selling without being pushy. Like a used car salesperson. Like Helen Harris. 😉

Do you remember that scene in Raising Helen where Kate Hudson sells the ugly lime green car and gets the ham?

None of the other salespeople at Massey Motors had been able to unload that car, and Helen did it with a few tricks that you can totally apply to your business.

And, no, the lesson here isn’t that you have to be a used (*ahem* previously owned) car salesperson to actually make a sale. Or be as adorably gorgeous as a celeb.

Maybe the first thing you thought of when I started talking about selling cars is that person everyone loves to hate: the used car salesperson.

You’ve probably had a bad experience at a car dealership. I know I have. You probably butted heads with a super pushy salesperson. You probably felt pressured to buy and really, really uncomfortable. 

Like sweating through your sweat-wicking athleisure wear sweating.

This just means you need to change your perspective on selling a teeny tiny bit. 

So, if you’re thinking you have to be pushy to make a sale, let’s see what we can learn from a good ol’ romantic comedy. 

Use your humor.

So Massey Motors is doing a gimmick with a guy on stilts to bring in more customers. At Helen’s suggestion, of course. 

(Nope, not gonna recommend you get a wacky waving inflatable arm tube man for your next launch…)

Leo Dileo (who owns every hot dog stand in Rockaway, dontcha know) threatens to break the guy’s kneecaps because his girlfriend is pretty sure he’s looking down her shirt.

With damn-good comedic timing, Helen steps in and asks, “Think you can reach them?”

It’s just a light comment, but it helps break the ice. It bridges the gap between the experience the customer is having and the better experience, the service Helen is about to provide.

Everyone loves a lighthearted comment, a good joke, an icebreaker.

Especially when they’re being sold to. Because we’ve all had unpleasant buying experiences, right? Making light of the situation makes the situation better pretty much every single time.

How can you bring some humor in to your sales copy?

Instead of painting a grim picture of the dire straits your customer is in, consider a totally over-the-top reason your client would want to work with you and embellish with so many details it borders on ridiculous.

Toss in a couple of one liners after a particularly tough paragraph. Even something as simple as, “Whew, that was a lot, amirite?”

You don’t have to go all stand-up comic or even fire up the self-deprecating remarks. You just have to be real and show some personality.

These little touches will make your sales page more relatable and more enjoyable to read.

Introduce yourself.

I’m gonna go ahead and quote everyone’s favorite redheaded southern sales queen, Kendrick Shope, on this one: “All things being equal, friends buy from friends. All things being unequal, friends buy from friends.”

Does this mean you have to be best friends with your customers? Does it mean you have to follow them on every single social media channel and like every single post? Does this mean you can’t sell to random people that stumble across your website in the middle of the night?

Nope.

But it’s a hell of a lot easier if your customer knows you, has heard of you, is familiar with you. Because cold sales can be kinda hard.

Warm up your audience by introducing yourself BEFORE you ask for a sale. 

Don’t just start banging down their proverbial door with offers. 

What does this look like for you?

Not just, “Hi. Helen Harris.”

Maybe a welcome email with fun facts about you. A blog post sharing why you’re passionate about what you do. A video so your customer can see your face. An about page that’s totally open and vulnerable and connects with your customer.

Make sure they know who you are, what you do, and how you can help them. (That would be creating that know, like, and trust factor, my friend.)

Know your customer.

It’s hard to sell to someone if you don’t know what they’re looking for, right?

Helen first points out a silver Volvo, which gets her client to describe himself as a “rich bachelor,” not a family man.

Bingo. She totally just narrowed down the kinds of cars he’d be interested in. 

(And, let’s be honest, she also read him like a bingeable young adult trilogy…)

Are you trying to sell your customers a safe sedan when they really want a fast car?

If you know your customer is looking for something a little more sporty, you now know, “Okay, if I offer this customer a little red Corvette, they’re more likely to buy.” 

Which also means, if you offer them a minivan, they’re gonna lose interest fast.

Always remember that you need to know your customer so you can offer something they’re looking for and up your chances of making that sale. 

Create some exclusivity.

We love to feel special. We’re all special little snowflakes. And we want to feel like we’re getting something specially suited to us.

Enter exclusivity.

No, you totally don’t have to create false exclusivity like Helen does. (“Only a handful of these were made. Earmarked for special customers only. Like in the old days when guys like Elvis Presley and Frank Sinatra used to special-order their cars right from the factory…”)

But you can make your client feel totally special in other ways.

Like:

  • Using exclusive language while still being totally inclusive of anyone who wants to sign up. Words and phrases like “exclusive offer,” “insider,” “one of the few,” “be the first,” “only available to newsletter subscribers,” “only available to members.”

  • Creating a members-only area. You can sit with us, but only if you’re wearing pink on Wednesday. And you have the password.

  • Create some scarcity if it feels right. This means only offering your product or service to a certain number of people or only at certain times of the year. Instead of having an evergreen offering, you’re limiting the number of people this way.

  • Create a waitlist. Like, holy shit, you’re so awesome people are literally waiting to work with you. Big shot status.

  • Give your offers deadline (and stick to ‘em). When the doors are only open for a limited time, there’s a certain amount of exclusivity for those who manage to get in before time’s up.

  • Only making your offer available to a certain group of people. That would be your niche, your ideal client, your target audience. You’re already doing this, right?

The fact is, we’re people, and the more exclusive something is, the more we want it.

Bottom line here, my friend: Sales tactics don’t have to be pushy, know your audience, get the ham. 

So how can you reframe your sales tactics to include one (or more!) of these lessons? Let’s do a simple one: Infuse some exclusivity on your current sales page. Find one or two spots where you can slip in some exclusive language. Maybe a button could say, “Claim my spot!” Maybe, “In this limited time offer…” Or, “Get insider access to…”

If you don’t have a sales page yet, don’t fret! (Always sneaking in rhymes, I can’t even help myself.) That’s exactly why I’m offering a small, live class to help you better understand the elements of a good sales page and how you can create your own. Class doesn’t start for a couple of weeks, but you can be one of the first to sign up right over here! 😉