5 Sales Lessons From NBC’s The Office

Lessons from NBCs the Office

The Office is a lot of things: ensemble comedy, mockumentary sitcom, workplace satire, beet farm propaganda. It’s also a show about sales. Many of its characters sell paper for Dunder Mifflin. Steve Carell’s Michael Scott, the socially inept office manager, is a seasoned salesperson turned branch manager. And throughout the show’s nine seasons on NBC, many plot points hinge on a big sale.

In rewatching the series, keep an eye out for the following sales lessons.

What Not To Say During A Sales Negotiation

What Not to Say During a Sales Negotiation

They said what?

Negotiating a business deal is tough enough. But when the room gets tense and the sale looks like it’s slipping away, a poorly placed phrase — or a frustrated expletive — can bring the talks to a screeching halt.

Every sales pro has a story like that, and they make for great cocktail patter. There are plenty of ways to avoid the heartburn in the first place, however. (more…)

Sales Metrics 101: Why Data Means More Than Sales

Sales Metrics

Look inside a number and you’ll find a story. Sometimes the numbers tell a rousing tale of success. Sometimes they foretell a company’s impending doom. Most of the time, they tell you how things are and how you might make a positive difference . . . But only if you know how to read metrics, the language numbers use to spin their tale.

Consider a business with two salespersons. Let’s call them Meg and Ron. The metrics tell you that Meg the intern closes two deals per week and Ron the pro closes four. So you goad your sales team into the corner cafe for a quick treat, lauding Ron for being an “achiever” and cheering on (read: shaming) Meg to catch up. But you were just halfway into the story, and the numbers have a few chapters left to narrate. If you had looked closer, the metrics also show that Meg gets far more prospects in the pipeline than Ron, who benefits by following up on clients Meg generously refers to him. It also shows that compared to Meg — who closes deals at nearly the speed of light — Ron lumbers like an ox when it comes to getting a prospect’s nod. (more…)

7 Steps to Ace Pre-Call Sales Planning

Sales Call Planning

In a sales call, you not only have to traverse the rocky, psychologically nuanced terrain of persuading a stranger to purchase something from you, you also have to execute that process within a purely auditory medium. Body language and facial expressions can’t be seen.

But there is hope. Whether it’s a warm call, cold call, or room temperature rap session, a little preparation and a handful of simple, effective tips can help turn a sales call into a sale. (more…)

Going Beyond the ABCs: How To Make A Deal


The art of closing

There are dozens of closing techniques in the world of sales, but none of them will be of any use in the real world if you miss the big picture: building relationships.

Being a good salesperson depends on the habits that you’ll adopt, both as a professional and as a human being: things like listening, focusing on the client, asking relevant questions and genuinely caring about other people. People buy when they trust the seller and they won’t trust you if it feels like you’re only considering your needs and reading from a script. (more…)