11 Sales Insights: Chris Gardner's Pursuit of Happyness

The sales lessons to learn from Chris Gardner include being persistent, believing in yourself, thinking creatively, and keeping on improving by working hard.

11 Sales Insights: Chris Gardner's Pursuit of Happyness

Movies have been a primary source of entertainment for us for a long time. They help us relax and take our minds off of the stressful aspects of life.  

Although movies are dramatized versions of reality, that doesn’t mean we can’t learn anything from them. Movies inspired by the life of successful individuals, who have witnessed the ups and downs of life and overcome them all, motivate us to draw parallels with our lives and do the same. 

And movies revolving around sales are not different. That’s why today, I’ll talk about one of my favorite sales movies, The Pursuit of Happyness, starring Will and Jordan Smith, which is based on the extraordinary life of Chris Gardner (played by Will Smith) and how he went from homelessness to starting his broking firm.

Gardner’s real-life experiences serve as a masterclass in resilience, determination, and positive thinking, showcasing how one man’s unwavering pursuit of happiness led to remarkable success in the cutthroat world of sales. 

With that said, in this post, I’ll explore the exceptional sales lessons extracted from Chris Gardner’s story. This story is a source of inspiration that will empower you to embrace the race of becoming successful with strong determination. Let’s get into it!

Sales lessons to learn from Chris Gardner’s journey

The Pursuit of Happyness is a story about a struggling salesman and a single father, whose daily life revolves around taking care of his 6-year-old son combined with the hustle of a sales rep. It is an insightful journey that will leave a deep impact on you as a sales professional.

Movie poster of The Pursuit of Happyness.

Be persistent

“Baby steps count, as long as you are going forward. You add them all up, and one day you look back and you'll be surprised at where you might get to.” – Chris Gardner

One of the central pillars of the movie, Chris’s persistence despite facing numerous challenges and setbacks is beautifully represented by Will Smith. He keeps on going, looking for new opportunities or new ways to handle his problems every time he comes across them. 

For example, he invested his life’s savings into bone density scanners hoping to turn a profit after selling all the units he purchased. But after seeing that it was a wrong decision, Chris didn’t give up. He started to visit every doctor and hospital in his vicinity trying to sell the remaining pieces.

Chris trying to sell his bone density scanner in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.(source: Geoff Review)

The same thing can also happen in sales, where now and then, you might face rejection or get turned down by a prospect you were expecting who would definitely say yes. That’s when you have to remember how Chris kept on going after facing those challenges and being resilient to giving up. Your persistence might bring you opportunities that you never thought existed in the first place.

Embrace the power of belief

In the movie, Chris never doubted himself once. He always believed that he could do it as long as he kept on working hard. Even after spending the night in the train station washroom, he picked himself up the next day and continued forward.

Chris had confidence in his product and as a sales rep, it is essential. If you don’t believe in what you are selling, then how can you expect your customers to believe in it? When you genuinely believe in the value and benefits of your product or service, your enthusiasm will resonate with prospects, allowing you to build relationships to sell more effectively.

Master your product knowledge

In one of the scenes in the movie, Chris was demonstrating his bone density scanner to one of the prospects, and the machine didn’t turn on. After a simple checkup, Chris found out that one of the components was not working and needed to be replaced.

Of course, this doesn’t happen in real life but it shows you that he was well aware of the product he was selling. He knew where and what to look for in case of an issue. And this showcases his product knowledge. 

As a sales professional, you need to have complete knowledge about the product you are selling so that in a scenario where something goes wrong, you can immediately improvise the situation. You can acquire information about your product by going through documentation or videos about the different features of your product.

For instance, Zixflow offers a help center knowledge base that contains every detail about its features to ensure that you can make the most of the software by addressing any problems that you might come across.

Help center of Zixflow containing all the details about its features.

Always be proactive

Throughout the movie, you see Chris chasing opportunities. He didn’t wait to get lucky. He always tried to actively find chances and make the most of them. For example, when he learned that he won’t be paid for the 6-month internship, he didn’t wait for a better opportunity. Although wasn’t sure that he would get a full-time position once the internship ended, he still decided to play the hand he’s been dealt.

Chris’s story exemplifies the importance of being proactive in sales. You should always seek out opportunities instead of waiting for them to come to you. Successful salespeople take the initiative in identifying leads, asking the right qualifying questions, and reaching out to them after doing due diligence. 

To help you in contacting your leads in an orderly manner, you would need an outbound sales solution like Zixflow. It offers outreach capabilities that allow you to engage your prospects during each stage of the sales cycle. For instance, you can use Zixflow to run email campaigns to send tailored emails to your potential customers.

Zixflow lets you send personalized emails to your prospects.

Think out of the box

During his internship, Chirs was tasked to cold-call prospects in a call sheet, trying to sell his company’s products. But after a few calls, he understood that reaching out to people who had no decision-making power in their company will get him nowhere. So, he jumped straight to the top of the sheet and called the CEO, which resulted in him booking a meeting.

This goes to show that although he went against what he was told, he was able to score a much better lead than most of the other interns. And all of this was possible because of his creative thinking. When you are working in sales, you often have to do something that is out of your comfort zone and take calculated risks. 

Maintain a positive attitude

Gardner’s positive attitude in the face of adversity was a driving force behind his success. Having an optimistic mindset is vital in sales as customers are drawn to optimism and confidence. It will not only help you overcome obstacles and handle rejection but also deliver a quality sales engagement experience to your customers. 

In the movie, Chris always acted in a friendly manner, making others believe he is living a normal life. He looked presentable and talked cheerfully to appear like someone you can relate to. It’s these sales qualities and the mental attitude that made him stand apart from other interns in his company.

Have a learning mentality

The movie emphasizes the importance of learning and continuous improvement. After he was selected as an intern, Chris attentively listened to the presentation conducted by the company to give preliminary training to the interns. On top of that, he can also be seen reading books to further increase his knowledge after putting his son to bed.

Chris Gardner reading a book in the light coming from a small window in the movie The Pursuit of Happyness. (source-IMDb)

This goes to show that Chris understood how crucial it was to keep increasing his knowledge to handle various types of sales. And as a sales rep, you should also focus on the same. You reach out to prospects every day and have to convince them to purchase your product using the right sales engagement approach. That's why you must learn the required skills and be updated with the latest information.

One of the ways to do this is to watch videos to improve your overall skill set. And Zixflow can help you with that. It offers a learning section within the application where you can add videos that your sales reps can easily access and watch. This is a great way to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge to take care 9f the needs of the prospects.

Don’t be afraid to take risks

Chris took a risk of investing his savings into the business of selling bone density scanners, hoping to turn a profit but unfortunately, his venture didn’t go as planned. This shows that he was not afraid to take risks because for him the reward was worth taking the risk.

So whenever you are not sure about performing a task or reaching out to a big prospect, take into account the risk and rewards associated with it. If the rewards far outweigh the risk, then go for it with confidence.

Protect your dream 

Every one of us had a dream of what we wish to achieve but as we enter the professional phase of our lives, we slowly start to give up on that dream. The reason for that can be anything, such as life getting busy, someone telling us that it is a far-fetched dream, or something else happening that makes us lose focus.

Although Chris was going through a lot of challenges in the movie, he still told his son, Christopher, that no matter what anyone else says, you must never give up on your dreams. 

In the sales field, rejections happen much more frequently than in any other industry. But rejection should be taken as a part of the job and it should not define how your professional career or the future will be. You should never let a few lost deals get in the way of your goals and aspirations.

Work hard and be disciplined

There is no substitute for hard work. If you want to be successful, you have to work hard and be disciplined in what you do. For example, in the movie, Chris was supposed to work 9 hours daily during his internship period but since he had to pick up his son from daycare, he could only work 6 hours. 

So to make sure that he is not wasting any time, Chris didn't drink water to avoid going to the washroom and he didn't put down the receiver of the phone after hanging up to save every second. 

This shows that not only was he hard-working but also disciplined in following the methods he devised to achieve his goal.  As I said before, there are no shortcuts to success. But you can leverage the correct automation tools like Zixflow to lower the manual work you have to do. 

With Zixflow, you can build sales cadence using its sales cadence platform to automate the outreach and follow-up process. This way, you can direct your energy to more important activities to close more deals and bring in revenue.

The sales cadence builder of Zixflow consists of steps and a schedule of the cadence.

Celebrate small victories

Whenever he got a chance, Chris celebrated small victories that come in the form of getting accepted for the internship, securing a room for himself and his son at the end of the day, or finally landing his full-time position. 

That’s why, you should also cherish these small victories and praise yourself and your teammates for hitting small goals. This will uplift the overall performance of your team and build a positive working environment within your company.

Apply these lessons in your own pursuit of happiness

Chris Gardner – whose life inspired the movie The Pursuit of Happyness.

These are some of the valuable sales and entrepreneurial lessons that you can learn from the movie Pursuit of Happyness. It is an amazing movie that is a great watch for anyone, inspiring and motivating individuals from all walks of life.

Chris’s journey from nothing to becoming a successful businessman serves as an example that nothing is out of reach in this world as long as you are persistent and hard-working.

And if you need any assistance with your sales process, you can reach out to us – Zixflow. With our state-of-the-art sales engagement platform, you can say goodbye to hefty operations and simplify your sales process to generate more revenue.

Share on social media

Ready to use the platform of the Future?