“It’s all happening!” Almost Famous is one of my all-time favorite movies. I decided to watch it again over the weekend, and was surprised to realize that some of the issues that come up in the film are actually very relevant to inside sales. If you’ve never seen Almost Famous before, go watch it right now. Come on, you’re sitting here reading a blog; you can’t be doing anything that important. Don’t worry; I’ll wait here for you.

Now that you’re all caught up (Spoiler Alert Ahead!), I’m going to highlight some of the challenges the Stillwater members face in the film, and how they translate to an inside sales environment.

“Just make us look cool”
Throughout the film, various Stillwater members instruct William (Patrick Fugit) to “just make us look cool” in the article he’s writing for Rolling Stone. Looking cool is so important to the band members that they even opt to have William’s truthful article removed from the magazine, rather than have an unflattering story published. In the world of inside sales, it is important to have a product that is appealing to customers, but it can’t have honesty be the cost of “being cool.”

“Doris is the soul of this band”
Jimmy Fallon’s character, Dennis Hope, is a great salesperson. In his first appearance, he points out his prospect’s (Stillwater’s) pain (not having enough money to pay the record company back), and his solution that will solve it (traveling by plane to play more shows). He pitches his idea in a way that makes it foolish for the band members to say no, despite their protests that “Doris [their bus] is the soul of this band.” Prospects are often reluctant to change what they have in place for any given system, even if it is glaringly obvious to an outside observer that there are far better options out there. You have to be able to go into your pitch strong, so that your prospects have no option but to say yes. Just make sure your plane really is better than your prospect’s bus; otherwise they’ll be back on the “No Airplanes Tour” like Stillwater when the plane almost crashes.

“I’m just one of the out-of-focus guys”
There is ongoing tension between Jeff (Jason Lee) and Russell (Billy Crudup), Stillwater’s lead singer and guitarist respectively, throughout the film. Jeff’s ego gets so big that the band comes close to breaking up after a band t-shirt is printed with only Russell in focus. Jeff’s rage over being “just one of the out-of-focus guys” is so great that Russell disappears for the night and isn’t sure that there will even be a band to go back to in the morning. Now, it’s no secret that there is a lot of ego involved with inside sales and it can be a trait that makes a great rep. But just like with Stillwater, an ego can’t get in the way of what’s best for the company. Things aren’t always going to go the way you want them to and you can’t storm out every time you’re not in the spotlight.

Almost Famous is a fantastic movie and there are many themes to explore. Many of the challenges Stillwater has to overcome as a band mirror challenges that are present in inside sales. It’s important to be appealing to customers, have a strong pitch, but also not let egos get in the way of progress. If you’re having a difficult time with your prospects, you could always climb onto a roof and yell, “I am a golden god!” before jumping into a swimming pool. Some people might say it’s an aggressive move, but hey, whatever works.