Game of Thrones: Characteristics of each character in the seller’s world
Game of Thrones can be a great sales school. We’ve put together a shortlist of sales lessons from the show.
HBO’s Game of Thrones series has become a huge part of the cultural zeitgeist – and with good reason.
Featuring dragons, exotic knights, zombies, and a certain amount of sex and violence, it’s easy to see why the show – based on the books by George RR Martin – has captured the imagination of fans.
But what really makes both the show and the books so popular is that the themes are timeless and grounded in reality: power, ambition, conflict, and leadership.
Sales spreadsheet kit to plan, motivate your team and not lose information
3 types of a spreadsheet with ready-made formulas to put your business routine in order without much effort
Just because the story takes place in medieval times and in the mythical land of Westerns doesn’t mean its themes don’t resonate with today’s audiences.
Quite the opposite! Game of Thrones is a phenomenon precisely because it resonates with its audience. Therefore, we made a small correlation of Game of Thrones characters with the world of sales.
#1. Every man who calls himself king is not the real king
This phrase is by Twin Banister. Likewise, any sales leader or salesperson who goes around beating his chest and looking for opportunities to claim his power is not worthy of any real authority.
Your reps must know and respect your leadership without having to be told what to do. As a CEO or sales director, if you want to lead your team, try to set an example, not shout your power to the four winds.
Every man who calls himself king is not the real king
#2. The man who gives the sentence must swing the sword
The owner of this phrase is Ned Stark, a bastion of honor and responsibility, two characteristics that every great leader must-have.
While we don’t expect sales directors to swing the sword (even if you’re firing a bad salesperson), all the big ones should be responsible.
After all, how can they expect their salespeople to behave in a certain way if they don’t set an example?
A good example of this is transparency. If you want your salespeople to be honest, you must also be honest with them all.
The man who gives the sentence must swing the sword
#3. A Banister always pays his debts
One of Game of Thrones’ most frequently repeated phrases is another great lesson in accountability (albeit with less revenge and retribution than the Banisters believe).
Great sales managers must always keep their promises, both to their salespeople and to their prospects.
Salespeople would do well to remember this lesson when talking to their prospects – if you promise to call back, call back, if you commit to a follow-up email in 6 months, do so.
In short: keep your word.
#4. Do you believe good soldiers make good kings?
This phrase is by Rely Parathion. In the War of the 5 Kings, many would-be rulers vied for the Iron Throne, including Stannic Parathion, a great soldier and commander, as a military decoration.
Unfortunately, Stannic had no talent for governing – he lacked empathy, he didn’t earn the respect of his fellows, and he couldn’t see the big picture.
There is a world of difference between being good at sales and being good at managing sales.
Salespeople are largely focused on themselves and their own day-to-day performances. Managers have to see the big picture and be more than just 1 step ahead, be understanding and earn respect.
It would be a mistake if you simply promote your best salespeople to sales manager positions.
Believe it! Good soldiers are not always good kings.
#5. Your game your rules.
The full sentence is not just about rules. Pettier “Little finger” Abolish says: “do you know what I learned by losing this duel? I learned that I will never win – not like this. This is your game, your rules”.
Are you looking to enter an already established market that is home to some of your key competitors?
You can’t just do the same thing as your competitors, “play your games by your rules” and expect to win. What you should do is look at the inefficiencies in the market that you want to exploit.
Little finger found the inefficiencies of the ruling elite in Westerns and used this to his victory.
#6. When the soldier lacks discipline, the commander is to blame
The lesson here is not just about instilling discipline in the sales reps you manage.
Patriarch Banister’s main argument – Twin Banister – must be that the best leaders fall on their swords.
Great managers and sales directors know that in victories reps must take credit, in losses they must accept and take the blame.
#7. Most men would rather deny a hard truth than face it
Tyron has had to face a harsh truth all his life: of being shunned for being a dwarf.
Instead of wallowing or running away from it, he embraced that fact and then figured out how to make the best of it regardless of his situation and position in life.
Sales directors have to face many hard truths in their day-to-day lives – maybe they don’t have enough leads, or they still need to figure out what to do with an underperforming salesperson, or worse: they won’t hit their targets.
Rather than denying these truths or trying to cover them up, the best managers recognize these truths, and discover what they can learn from them to arrive at solutions.
#8. You know nothing, Jon Snow
Poor Jon Snow! We are constantly reminded of their naiveté and ignorance. However, such slips can produce a hunger that can drive you to greater heights.
The best sales directors and managers are also hungry, don’t rest on their laurels, and are constantly reminded that we don’t know everything – and sometimes we don’t know anything.
A constant desire for knowledge and improvement is what separates the best sales executives.
Sometimes not knowing anything is a big advantage.
#9. The mind needs books like a sword need a whetstone
There’s a great way to feed that hunger for knowledge and improvement: read a book.
There is a wealth of literature on sales management. Managers can learn something new, or simply refresh old lessons.
#10. What is dead may never die
Here’s a good lesson from Theron Greyson, which might be great for your salespeople.
Just because an opportunity has been missed doesn’t mean they’re dead forever.
If there’s no growth, a limited funnel, or a last-minute rush to hit the monthly goal, consider running a campaign to revive missed opportunities to hit your sales goals.
#11. Winter is coming
The Starks have used their homework to gird their stamina and prepare for the worst – after all, when winter comes, it can last for several decades.
While sellers can enjoy the fruits of summer, there will inevitably come a time when winter comes, bringing with it many closed deals lost in an empty pipeline.
The best sales managers will prepare for this and get ready. It may seem a long way off, but the certainty is that winter comes at some point.
Game of Thrones and its sales lessons
Game of Thrones can be your biggest sales teacher
From now on you will watch Game of Thrones with new eyes. After all, the show can be a sales school and it would be great if we could learn about sales while having fun.
Now that you know Game of Thrones can be a great school, share with us the best sales advice you’ve ever received.