Sales lessons from a Bollywood movie

Waris Hussain
5 min readJul 14, 2021

The startup world is booming in India. Everyone is becoming familiar with the concept, and showing more interest in startups and businesses.

But this wasn’t really the case in 2009.

Why am I picking the year 2009? Because something happened in the same year.

India has the world’s largest film industry, where more than 700 feature films and 100 documentaries are produced each year.

Among those numbers, was one movie released in 2009 — Rocket Singh: Salesman of the Year.

The protagonist, H. Singh Bedi aka Rocket Singh, is a college graduate with low marks but he’s passionate about sales. His friends and family ask him not to go the sales route because of its bad reputation, Rocket Singh is determined to become a salesman. The rest of the movie progresses with his journey in a corporate office, and how he started his own sales firm while working full-time.

Willingness to learn is everything.

When entering a company as a Sales Representative, you’ll learn tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Salesforce, which aren’t taught in school curriculums. You’ll need to teach yourself these tools, along with getting better at the hard and soft skills required in sales. Your willingness to learn plays a critical role here.

You need the right aptitude much more than good marks.

You can be at the top at your school. But if you don’t have the right aptitude for sales, you won’t be a good salesperson, influencer, or negotiator. You need to have the right aptitude: an aptitude for empathy. The ability to see beyond the obvious, listen carefully and analyze what people want.

Hard work is the key.

This advice applies everywhere, not just in sales.
Rocket Singh travelled from company to company, running around and following his boss. He’s trying to learn as much as he can from this.

A sales representative has to hunt for potential leads, manage all leads, and communicate with them on a regular basis, along with organising everything, and this sure takes hard work.

Integrity is important.

As a salesperson, you’re going to communicate with leads and potential customers. You don’t want to come off as someone who talks a lot and gives unrealistic expectations, but doesn’t live up to them. Be honest in your calls and have integrity. Staying true to your words is essential, because people can smell fake promises from miles away.

Stick to your words and be a person of integrity.

A secret for success in business: Satisfied Customers

Rocket Singh always brings good, happy vibes with him. This is what sets him apart from other salespeople from his company, being able to impact customers in a good way. He talked to people on a personal level as if they’re his friends, and not “potential leads”. He always filled those people with happiness and zeal, which inturn, created happy customers.

As I learnt in my Customer Success Project, good customer success makes the business outsmart the competition.

As a salesperson, you have a unique opportunity to make sure those customers are satisfied even before they are your customers.
These delighted and satisfied customers will be ambassadors for your company. Their referrals can generate more business that sometimes you can’t even handle. This is a sure path to Growth.

Take risks

Rocket Singh was working as a salesman for his corporate job. But when he realised an opportunity in the market, he decided to start his own company, along with continuing his current one. There was a chance he might lose his job because his boss wasn’t a fan of his employee working somewhere else as well. But he took the risk, with a quote in his head all the time -

Your day-to-day tasks will have a major portion to talk to potential customers. Each day you’ll be exposed to new faces. Sometimes you’ll have to go out of your bounds to make sure you’re helping those people and turning them into customers of your company. When those chances arrive for you to take those risks, jump out of your comfort zone, and take that risk! You’ll get some pretty interesting results.

Always be observant.

Every sales and marketing person has to keep their eyes and ears open to scan the information regarding prospects, competition, and market influencers.

When it comes to business, having the right information at the right time can even give you an unfair advantage sometimes. You need to be the modern-day Sherlock Holmes.

You need to be a team player.

Throughout the movie Rocket Singh respected his employees. He found out their unique skills and constantly reminded them how valuable they are. Irrespective of their positions, Rocket Singh made sure that his entire team was dedicated to the common vision of “Delighting customers”.

He did everything possible to make sure everyone had the same shared vision. Going the extra mile to make them realize how their work will help the organization to achieve that.

Your teammates will be more engaged when they are empowered, empathized with and encouraged by their leaders, and fellow team members.

Celebrate your team’s success and support their failures. After all, a sales team isn’t just about the numbers, it’s about the People.

This movie was released in 2009. Had it been released today, when more and more people are becoming familiar with startups, it’d have been much greater hit among the public.

I watched Rocket Singh: Salesman of the year about two years ago. But it is only now that I can draw relations to the movie and sales lessons. Rocket Singh is a man who believes in keeping people happy and engaged, he had this different take on sales and it surely teaches us something.

Doesn’t matter if you’re in sales or not, these lessons are helpful for all of us who are starting their career, or looking for an opportunity to grow. And if you’re someone who’s starting their own venture, or growing from what you are right now, I recommend watching this movie, it definitely will give you insights and you won’t even have to attend some B-school.

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Waris Hussain

I'm a User Experience Designer, a curious soul always keen to learn as much as possible. Here to share what I've learnt and get better at life.