Dr. Emmett Lathrop “Doc” Brown, Ph.D., the fictional character from all three Back to the future movies, is the inventor of the first time machine, which he builds out of a DeLorean sports car. The character is portrayed by Christopher Lloyd in all three films. Without knowing it, Doc Brown also gave us some great tips on how to excel at sales. Here are the top three. One from each movie.

Back to the Future, Part 1

Marty McFly: Wait a minute. Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?

Dr. Emmett Brown: The way I see it, if you’re gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some “style?”

Doc Brown does it with style, and so should you. When talking with prospects and clients, remember that over 90% of a sales dialogue is interpreted through non-verbal communication. It includes facial expressions, body language and positioning. It also includes your tone of voice, and such other factors as your choice of clothing, the car you drive, or the brand of laptop computer you use. Since we tend to react more to what we think a person meant than to what they actually said, when attempting to build rapport, we need to pay just as much attention to our style and non-verbal signals as we do to our words. Do it with style.

Back to the Future, Part 2

Marty McFly: The almanac. Son of a bitch stole my idea! He must have been listening when I- It’s my fault! The whole thing is my fault. If I hadn’t bought that damn book, none of this would have ever happened.
Doc: Well, that’s all in the past.
Marty McFly: You mean the future.
Doc: Whatever! It demonstrates precisely how time travel can be misused, and why the time machine must be destroyed, after we straighten all of this out.

Sales can be misused too. If you have a time machine, you definitely have a responsibility to the space time continuum.  If you are a sales rep, you have responsibilities to your self and you prospects. Here are some great qualities of a responsible sales person:

  • Possess an appropriate sense of urgency, as exemplified in the need to see the sale progress and to bring situations to a resolution
  • Anticipate consequences and evaluate alternatives before acting
  • Tend to not have excuses for a situation and take action when situations require action
  • Maintain a positive outlook towards situations and people—tends to admire, and not to criticize a lot
  • Can accept valid criticisms and suggestions for performance improvement

Back to the Future, Part 3

Jennifer Parker: Dr. Brown, I brought this note back from the future and now it’s erased.
Doc: Of course it’s erased.
Jennifer Parker: But what does that mean?
Doc: It means your future hasn’t been written yet. No one’s has. Your future is whatever you make it. So make it a good one, both of you.
Marty McFly:

[Marty wraps his arm around Jennifer] We will, Doc.

Doc is right. Your sales are what you make of it. Motivational consultant Gavin Ingham says the following;

Motivation begins and ends with you. You determine your own motivation. Motivation is internal, it’s something that you control; even though you may not realise that this is the case. Most people think that motivation is something external to themselves, something  that happens to them. For this reason they and their sales results get buffeted severely throughout life.

Sales superstars do not believe or act this way. Sales superstars know that their personal motivation is down to them. No matter what anyone else does or says they get to choose their own motivation levels. No matter whether they get the deal or they lose the deal, they get to choose their own motivation levels. No matter whether life’s going the way they want or it’s not, they get to choose their own motivation levels.
And it’s that choice that sets them apart and defines them as the rock stars of sales.