Sales and Screenplay

We're not writing to teach how to sell a screenplay. Check @goodinaroom if you want to learn about that. We're writing to discuss the similarities between sales and screenplay.

It doesn't matter if you read Zig Ziglar, Dixon & Adamson, or Blake Snyder, and Syd Field. You're going to find one idea uniting good sales and good screenplays: story. In sales, we use the story to sell a product. A screenplay is a story, and likely, it's sold by telling a story.

Wants & Needs are the two most basic units of story. A customer's Wants & Needs are the two most basic units of sales. The two art forms - sales and story - rely on the exact same elements. What's intriguing is the way they can help either the seller or writer improve their skill.

In a sale, we use a story to engage with a customer's Wants & Needs. We tell stories about our challenges on sets, or our time selling Sake, or our mother's cosmetics. In a sale, a story functions to describe concepts, such as the difference between price and cost (Ziglar). It also functions to create an emotional relationship between the customer and seller. The most useful stories describe concepts and connect to a customer's Wants & Needs by reaching into their emotions.

A writer writes by creating characters with strong Wants & Needs intending to form an emotional connection with an audience. The emotional heart of a story is what makes it meaningful to an audience member. A character who wants to preserve their towns' historic district may reach any audience member who worked to stop the times from changing or who gave their all to an ultimately fruitless project (among many other possibilities). Emotions drum up an empathetic relationship between viewer and character and can be known as a hook.

Identifying, illuminating, and understanding Wants & Needs is how we improve as sellers and writers. It's always a bit random to know what may resonate with a customer or a viewer. Time and practice make it more exact. Good research does too. But what isn't random is Wants & Need; they're why sales even exist; they're why writers use them as tools. Their writing only resonates if the characters are in some way, no matter how abstract or obscure, like us and we're full of them.

In screenplays, we create fictional Wants & Needs to resonate while in sales we seek our customer's true wants and needs to persuade. It doesn't matter if you're selling RABS or scripts. Whatever skills the arts require separately from one another, if you're a seller, you can be better by studying story and if you're a writer, you can be better by studying sales. You can be better by studying the world to heighten your understanding of Wants & Need.


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