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Sales | October 21, 2018

Can Mad Men Teach How to Create a Paradigm Shift in Sales?

Closing is the toughest part of the sales process and one of the reasons is because most companies are engaged in marketing the opposite of what some buyers think they need. In many business verticals the buyers have their own opinion about how a service should be delivered, provided, designed etc.… Most of the time these are hack opinions that are simply wrong headed and won’t serve their interest or help them meet their objectives.

This is where salespeople find themselves between the horns of a dilemma in the sales game because they have to choose between making a quick sale by giving a prospect what they want, even when it’s known not to help the prospect. Or they can try to reason and persuade a stubborn buyer, that ‘thinks’ they know exactly what they need, to change their mind; but risk losing the sale.

This is where we can learn a powerful sales technique from the fictional character Don Draper in the hit TV show Mad Men

You see, these types of scenarios call for a skilled salesman to create a paradigm shift in the thinking of a buyer who believes they ‘know’ what they need and are too stubborn to listen to the wisdom of experienced professionals.

This is the situation that Don Draper found himself in during a sales presentation where the Sterling Cooper team was presenting a new Ad campaign called, mark your man, to a Lipstick manufacturing company.

After their inventive and persuasive presentation, the President of the Lipstick company starts mocking the campaign as it calls for them to change their approach in selling Lipstick. You see the buyer believes that marketing success lies is having a plethora of lipstick styles and shades. However, the proposed Sterling Cooper marketing campaign calls for selling just one shade of red, so women can, “mark their man”.

This is where Don Draper stands up and makes a brilliant and counterintuitive move by doing the opposite of what his team thinks he was going to do by saying, “I don’t think there is much else to do here; but call it a day and gentleman thank you for your time.” When the potential buyer is shocked by Don abruptly ending the meeting our Sterling ad man tells him that, “You’re a non-believer why should we waste time on Kabuki”. Essentially, Don is pulling an extreme take away, but he is also shrewdly engaging in reverse selling. He calls a spade a spade by telling the prospect that he is a non-believer on their proposed marketing changes, so why waste time.

Then he reminds the prospect why they came to their Ad agency in the first place because their current marketing strategy has only managed to get them in 4th place among the other lipstick manufacturers.

Don puts this pushy buyer on the ropes, by utilizing negative selling! He then delivers a knockout punch with one last sales pitch by simplifying the Ad message and looking at it through the eyes of women. The executive realizes that he has been persuaded; but has lost control of the meeting. Then he tries to take control back by ordering Don to sit down, so they can continue negotiating. However, Don stays true to form and in charge with his reverse selling technique by flatly telling the buyer, “NO”!

If the products or services, you sell often turn up prospects that have a mind of their own and don’t want to accept your expertise then you will need to create a paradigm shift in these buyer’s minds. Don Draper has taught us that we need to put on our negative selling hats and start doing things in a counterintuitive fashion to shock these prospects into letting you take control and accept your valuable advice while discarding their wrong-headed ideas.

The specific technique we learned was how to create a world view shift by abruptly ending a meeting, making sure to call out the bad behavior and giving one last passionate sales pitch. The trick is to maintain the posture that your still, walking away! If you implement this sales technique then you will find that it changes the momentum, puts you back in control and leaves your contact chasing after you.

David Walter Bio:

His claim to fame came from setting a record of 15 cold calling appointments a day, every day for 6 months while working for a Staff Leasing or Professional Employer Organization. He set a total of over 1800 appointments in just 6 months!

This success led him to start his own telemarketing company for 13 years, helping tech companies sell millions of dollars through his innovative lead generation strategies.

David speaks at businesses, trade shows, chambers of commerce, webinars and is a sales trainer for major companies. He is also a published author; his latest book is The Million Dollar Rebuttal.


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