SQUIRREL! - 6 Sales Lessons We Learned From Dogs in Up!

Sales people often find themselves "chasing the sale." 

And while chasing the sale sometimes works, here are some of the most common mistakes that salespeople make, as told through the dogs in Up!

If you need a refresher on Up! Here's a video that contains some of the best scenes:

Mistake #1 - Giving up too easily due to a “rude” prospect

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The little boy in Up, Russell, initially displays some resistance to Doug (the dog). He doesn’t know Doug, he hasn’t heard good things about dogs, but then he realizes that Doug is endearing and kind. Sound familiar? How many people have negative perceptions of sales people and initially push back, only later figuring out that the sales person is, in fact, there to help. It’s important to remember that you’re offering something of value to the prospect, and to not give up too soon.

Mistake #2 - Getting too buddy-buddy with prospect too early

In Up, Doug jumps on Carl (the prospect), telling Carl that he loves him. This leads Carl to push back with quite a bit of resistance. When you first connect with a prospect, there is a definite trust barrier. The prospect doesn’t know you, and you don’t know them. To act like you know him/her so soon can further push the prospect away. That’s why it is important to ask questions and get to know your prospect before beginning to advocate a solution.

#3 - Getting distracted before following up properly

All of the dogs in Up frequently become distracted whenever they think they hear a squirrel. In sales, the metaphorical squirrel can translate into anything that gets in the way of the salesperson following up properly. Another lead, a meeting, or an in-office competition can all represent the “SQUIRREL!” moment that takes your attention away from your prospect. 

Mistake #4 - Assuming that all of your clients have the same pain points.

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During the movie, the dogs assume that all humans are mailmen. While they are mistaken, they didn’t have a chance to learn about the differences in humans. In sales, if you assume all of your clients have the same needs, you will quickly find that your luck will run dry. Learning and listening to your clients is the only way that you will be able to truly help them – and you can’t do that if you think that they are all the same.

Mistake #5 - Letting pressure push you into chasing unqualified leads.

Doug is under a lot of pressure to find this bird on behalf of the pack in Up. He obsessively tries to take the bird prisoner, and claims to be hot on the bird’s trail when he really has no idea where the bird is. Having to meet goal can have you chasing every single lead that falls into your lap. But sometimes it’s more important to focus on the quality leads over the quantity.

Mistake #6 - Failing to close the sale.

When Doug first comes into contact with Russell and Carl, the bird attacks Doug. At that point, Doug’s sale is staring him straight in the face! But he still can’t close it. He begs and pleads with the bird to be his prisoner. Sometimes, the sale is yours for the taking. But it’s up to you to close it. Confidence is key! Believe that YOU are alpha. 


Kate Jacoutot

Spire Workforce Solutions, 5575 Peachtree Dunwoody Road Northeast, Building C, Suite 240, Sandy Springs, GA, 30342, United States