Forget the “business” section at Barnes + Noble — some of the best sales lessons you’ll ever learn can be found right in your Netflix queue.
It’s true: if you watch TV like a savvy detective, you’ll notice that most of your favorite characters — those charismatic + confident superstars that keep you glued to the screen, week after week — are masterful at selling, selling, selling.
Since I’m all about indulging in guilty pleasures to boost your business, I’ve cherry-picked a few of my all-time favorite TV characters to highlight the way that they woo, intrigue + seduce their targets (without even trying.)
Permission to binge-watch every single season? With hot buttered popcorn?
And cayenne pepper on top? Hell YES.
Serena van der Woodsen from Gossip Girl
Confession: I’m still severely depressed that Gossip Girl came to an end (currently having major Chuck / Blair — Chair? Bluck? — withdrawal.)
But back to our girl, Serena.
The gorgeous van der Woodsen is the epitome of breezy, effortless cool. In the pilot episode, Serena returns from a year away at boarding school and instantly dethrones Blair as Queen Bee of Constance Billard without doing (or saying) anything at all. She literally just waltzes in, takes a seat … and rules the school.
The lesson? Never let ‘em see you sweat, even when you’re working your bootie off behind-the-scenes.
If you’re freaking out because sales aren’t as stellar as they could be, don’t plunge into instant panic. Your clients will feel the desperation, get totally turned-off … and start looking for another Queen Bee.
Instead, channel your inner Serena: give yourself a classy mani / pedi, put on your hottest dress and approach every sale like it’s an obvious “yes.”
Damon Salvatore from The Vampire Diaries
OK: when you look like THIS immortal bad-boy, you don’t need to do much selling.
But Damon isn’t just a pretty face. He’s got a supernatural ability that we can all learn from: heightened senses.
Specifically? Vampire-hearing, which Damon uses to snoop on (just about) everyone in Mystic Falls, gathering down ‘n dirty details that he can use to his advantage.
You might not be a vampire (and if you are: OMG! tell me everything!) but even with ordinary human hearing, you can still collect vital insider info on your clients + customers.
Listen carefully to praise (and not-so-glowing feedback) to see what your people want + need. Peruse your most-popular blog posts to see what’s resonating with folks (and what’s not). Hang out in Facebook groups, forums and online classes where your victims (um, I mean … “customers”) are chatting away.
The lesson? Stop pitching and start listening.
Really hearing your customers and understanding what they want is THE way to sell without sucking the life out of yourself … and everyone else.
Anne Boleyn from The Tudors
Not many mistresses can drive a man to sever his religious ties and found an entirely new church, just to make it legal to get a divorce and remarry … you.
But that’s precisely what Anne Boleyn does to King Henry VIII … and morality aside, you’ve got to admit, she’s a pretty fierce saleswoman.
The lesson? You don’t have to be “loved by all” in order to rise to the pinnacle of power — and get what you want. A little controversy can excite + ignite the people you want to woo.
There’s a fatal flaw in this Queen’s sales technique, though …
Ultimately, Anne can’t deliver what she promises to Henry — a male heir to the throne.
Annoyed by her inability to meet his demands, Anne’s “disgruntled customer” grows bored, then frustrated, and then … well, I won’t completely spoil the finale. But let’s just say: it’s off with her head.
Michael Scott from The Office
He might be jaw-droppingly inept, at times, but this Dunder Mifflin manager is an exceptional salesman.
With a casual demeanor + an endless supply of one-liners (“That’s what she said!”) he knows how to make an emotional connection with new customers — even when they’re half-cringing, inside.
In one episode, Michael switches the sales meeting from a stuffy hotel to a Chili’s restaurant, cracks inappropriate jokes over baby-back ribs and refuses to talk business … yet still manages to close a huge deal.
The lesson? Skip the pushy sales conversation and get to know your customers as human beings — both in-person and online.
Sharing personal stories (even embarrassing ones!) lets people know that it’s safe to chill out + just be themselves. It’s the best way to form a genuine bond — and like Michael says, “I want people to be afraid of how much they love me.”
Olivia Pope from Scandal
Whether she’s de-tangling a Washington DC hotshot from an ugly sex scandal, or rescuing one of her employees from a top-secret military prison, Olivia doesn’t do anything half-assed.
She’s built up a reputation as the ultimate “fixer” — the ONLY woman to call when you’re in a serious pickle and need your problems to go away. Fast.
By committing 1,000% to her work and getting results, results, results, her clients don’t need to be persuaded or sold. Her reputation precedes her. They literally beg for her to take them on, as clients — and they’ll pay any price.
Olivia is also a master at sleuthing out exactly what her clients actually want, even if they’re not certain, themselves. She begins every conversation with four crucial words: “What’s your end game?” Before long, her clients are spilling their deepest desires — and she can tailor her plan, accordingly.
The lesson? Get crystal clear on what your customers want + what you can do to help — and communicate both with ferocity. You’ll be donning Ms. Pope’s designer power-suits in no time!
OK, spill: who are YOUR all-time favorite TV characters, and what have they taught you about sales, charisma + wooing the people you want to serve? Share in the comments below!
P.S. Want a heart-pounding, TV-style makeover for a product or service that jussst ain’t selling? No matter how hard you push?
Sign up for the one-day workshop that’s all about designing an offer that’s more entrancing than a Vampire Diaries marathon: A Thousand Times, YES!