marketing qualified lead

Why ‘Star Wars’ Is Really About Sales & Marketing Qualified Leads

After recently re-watching the original Star Wars trilogy, I made a startling discovery. The first movie (for clarification, I mean episode IV) is all about marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads. I know that sounds crazy but it’s (kind of) true! Just stick with me and by the end you will be convinced that I’m right. So let’s get to it.

The (Sales) Force

Think of making a sale for your business in the same was as someone accepting the existence of The Force. In the movies, The Force is an all-powerful entity that binds the universe together. It works as a power that influences people’s actions and decisions. Just like with sales, some things are in your control, but ultimately it comes down to the buyer/believer. If they are not susceptible to what they are hearing, eventually they will turn away. It is a salesperson’s job to minimize the number of people who turn away. That’s why it’s important to treat every lead different depending on where they are in their buyer’s journey. In Star Wars, getting people to believe in The Force is no different. This brings me to my first example.

What Are Marketing Qualified Leads And Why Do They Matter?

Luke: The Sales Qualified Lead

In the movies, people talk about the Jedi like they would monks following a religion. How many people do you know adopted a religion within the same day they heard of it? I’m assuming not many. Enter Luke Skywalker! In the movie, he has never even heard of The Force but after only a brief conversation with Obi-Wan Kenobi (and getting the coolest weapon in the galaxy!) we know that Luke is pretty open to the whole idea. He even seems perplexed that Han isn’t open to the idea of The Force while on their ill-fated trip to Aldaran. For this reason, Luke Skywalker is the quintessential example of a sales qualified lead.

After only a short conversation, we know that he is willing to believe in The Force, even though he has seen no evidence of its existence. Later, Obi-Wan does show off the powers of The Force by using a Jedi mind-trick on a nosey Stormtrooper, but the use of it was both necessary and beneficial. Obi-Wan allows Luke to see the power of The Force but never refers back to that as a way to convince him that The Force is real. By allowing Luke to make up his own mind about whether to follow the ways of The Force was essential to his full adoption of the Jedi ways that would eventually lead him to destroying The Empire’s grip on the galaxy.

Han: The Marketing Qualified Lead

Han is a different story. He isn’t openly hostile to the idea of The Force, but he comes pretty close to it. He chides Luke, telling him that he’s seen no evidence of an all-powerful force that binds the universe together. Even more surprising is that this is after he watches Luke deflect multiple laser blasts from a practice droid while blinded! Anyways, fast forward to the scene where the Rebels are preparing their attack against the Death Star. Notice that Luke doesn’t give Han a speech about why he should fight for the Rebels or that he’s morally wrong for not helping them stop a tyrant who has a weapon of mass destruction.

This is the way your sales team should treat its marketing qualified leads. By not feeling pressure from Luke, Han feels unashamed about turning to his friend and saying, “may The Force be with you.” This is surprising because at this point in the film we are pretty sure Han still doesn’t believe in The Force. Though he may not believe in it, Han has progressed from questioning hostility to respectful recognition of The Force. And, as we all know, Han comes back and saves the day! Not because of incessant nagging, but because he was able to make the decision on his own. Without that level of freedom, Han may have taken his loot and ran away from the battle out of spite. Glad that didn’t happen!

Conclusion

When thinking about sales and marketing qualified leads, it’s important to remember the human aspect of these concepts. I think that by linking these ideas to well-known and popular characters we are better able to understand how and why leads need to be treated differently. Remember, Luke Skywalker may have been The Chosen One, but he couldn’t have saved the universe without Han’s help. A successful business needs to learn how to effectively cater to both sales and marketing qualified leads.

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Dan Gartlan
Dan Gartlan helps companies of all kinds drive their business initiatives and achieve their goals with strategic marketing programs that deliver results. As President of Stevens & Tate Marketing, he has over 20 years experience across various industries, and continues to share his expertise to build brands nationwide.