Top-Shelf Tip No. 248:

"You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great."

Zig Ziglar

Six Must-Watch TV Shows For Salespeople

If you look forward to relaxing this weekend, take a break from the holiday movies and try watching a show that just might enlighten you in your down time. From The Office to Shark Tank, there are many on-screen business icons that educate while they entertain.

Steve Kearns, marketing manager, social media at LinkedIn, has compiled a list of shows that offer valuable insights and lessons for salespeople. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share the shows that Kearns says salespeople can feel good about binge-watching.

1. Mad Men. Don Draper is an ad guy, but he's also a salesman at his core. Kearns says his favorite scenes are those where Draper uses his confident, creative, emotionally charged techniques for selling clients or business partners on bold new ideas. There's something deeply impactful about the way Draper (played by Jon Hamm, in one of the most well-cast roles in television history) intertwines storytelling and empathy to make a product transcend its functional utility.

2. Shark Tank. This is another show about pitching, although this one is a little more representative of real-world scenarios, says Kearns. For the unfamiliar, Shark Tank is a reality TV show that invites entrepreneurs to present their business ideas to a panel of "sharks" (self-made tycoons) in hopes of convincing one or more to invest. As contestants make enthusiastic cases for their own inventions and innovations in a highly-competitive setting, there are takeaways to be gleaned from the way they articulate the pain-solution frameworks. Kearns says the dynamic of pitching in front of several different sharks, all with their own backgrounds and inclinations, has parallels to tailoring sales messaging for B2B buying committees.

3. Billions. Following the cat-and-mouse game between hedge-fund rockstar Bobby Axelrod and U.S. attorney Chuck Rhoades, Billions is more of a (semi-cynical) portrayal of ruthless business machinations and underhanded power plays than straight-up sales. But here too there is fodder for B2B sellers, especially in the character of Axelrod (aka "Axe"), whose keen sensibilities and intellect keep him a step ahead in the cutthroat world of Wall Street trading. According to Bobby Axelrod, "The way I see it is … never give them a reason to say 'no'-because if you take 'no' out of the vocabulary, 'yes' is the only word left!"

4. The Office. Amid the ridiculous antics and hilarity that take place on every episode of The Office, Kearns says there is much to be learned from the inhabitants of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. Most of it, like Michael Scott's management style and Dwight Schrute's aggressive salesmanship, falls into the "what not to do" category.

5. The Profit. In this CNBC docu-reality series, Camping World CEO Marcus Lemonis seeks out struggling companies and steps in with (sometimes radical) strategic adjustments to help turn them around. Kearns points out that his philosophy focuses on the three Ps: People, Processes and Profit. When it comes to diagnosing and solving business problems, often in unconventional ways,The Profit consistently delivers food for thought.

6. Seinfeld. Relationships, using humor to lighten the air, understanding personal quirks, yadda yadda yadda ... Kearns says there are many reasons he likes this show for salespeople.

The lessons from these shows might be broader and more philosophical than directly applicable, but there's still value in salespeople watching. Take some time to enjoy a show or two this weekend and see what you take away.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Steve Kearns, marketing manager, social media at LinkedIn, has created content in both Hollywood and Silicon Valley. With experience that falls at the intersection of pop culture and tech, Kearns advocates for diversity in marketing and helps tell stories for LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network.

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