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How Game of Thrones Wıll Make You a Better Salesperson

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past seven years, I’m sure a lot of you are fans of HBO’s hit, Game of Thrones. Imagine living in the Seven Kingdoms and delivering a sales pitch around the Lannister family dinner table. One wrong comment and you’d be thrown into a dungeon, and your sales career (and life) over.

Just like trying to stay alive in the world of GoT, to survive in sales, you need to figure out the personality of who you’re pitching to and then tailor your words to address their concerns and individual style of buying. One wrong word, and someone could have your head on a pike!

So, inspired by Game of Thrones, we’ve put together this guide to help you better understand the different types of buyers, what motivates them and to make you a better salesperson.

1. The Decısıve Buyer – Jon Snow

Jon Snow, everyone’s favorite bastard, has dedicated his life to protecting the Seven Kingdoms. He is a fighter, a bit of a loner and can come across as a jerk. But, he’s not afraid to make big decisions quickly, in a matter of fact way. Think of when he decided to go to Hardhome to rescue wildlings, or when he mercifully killed Mance Rayder while he was being burned alive. Jon Snow is a Decisive Buyer.

This type of buyer can come across in a tough, pushy way, and doesn’t make excuses for their assertive behavior. They want to know the facts and then make a decision. If you’re selling to this type of buyer, it’s best to be assertive as well, and take some aggressive risks in your pitch. Conflict is natural for them, so be prepared for a fight, and ready to go to battle.

2. The Vısıonary Buyer – Daenerys Targaryen

The Visionary Buyer has their eyes set on the big picture. They have a clear vision of where they want to end up and the seller has to show them how they will get there.

Dany has her sights set on restoring her place as the rightful queen of Westeros. She knows she wants the crown, and everything she has done up until this point has been working towards that goal. Acquiring an army, a fleet of ships, honig her ruling chops in Mereen – all furthers her ability to reach for the one true thing she wants. Her gaze is fixed, and her focus is unwavering.

Selling to a Visionary Buyer is a bit cut and dry. Either the product you are pitching will help them achieve their end goal, or it won’t. You can’t put lipstick on a pig and fool the Visionary. You need to quickly identify their vision and then strategize how your service will fit into the advancement towards that goal.

 3. The Emotıonal Buyer – Cerseı Lannıster

This type of buyer persona has very strong feelings about everything. This can be advantageous to a seller, since you can sway this customer by playing into their emotions. Although, they do tend to change their mind mid-sales cycle.

In the Game of Thrones universe, this type of buyer is best represented by Cersei Lannister. Cersei often makes decisions based strictly on her emotions. She makes many major decisions based on emotional manipulation: plotting the death of King Robert, letting the High Sparrow take power, or blowing up half of King’s Landing. Sometimes it works out in her favor, and sometimes not.

How do you sell to this type of buyer? You need to stress the emotional benefits of your product or service and constantly reassure them they are making the best decision. Spreadsheets and data won’t sell the deal. Work on building rapport, and then get them to connect and invest on an emotional level. Just remember that their feelings may waver, so one day you could be sitting on the small council, and then next be fuel for the city’s biggest bonfire.

4. The Polıtıcal Buyer – Petyr “Lıttlefınger” Baelısh

The Political Buyer is a tough one to sell to. You never really know where you stand with the deal, but somehow you always feel pretty good about it. You see, this type of buyer knows what to say to put a smile on your face. Or are they lying? That’s the rub with the Political Buyer – you can’t figure out if they are just trying to win your vote, or if they actually do like what you’re pitching.

Littlefinger falls into this category of buyer. You’re not 100% sure whose side he is on. He is constantly manipulating people to get what he wants. And he knows how to play the game to end up the winner. I’m sure the people of the Vale wish they had a better handle on this persona before Littlefinger took power.

When you are selling to a Political Buyer, it helps to know what their endgame is. Make sure that what you’re selling fits into their plans. You’ll always have to watch your back – so make sure you keep good notes and stay organized. You may have to play along and align with them (at least publicly) to make sure that when the time comes they will speak up for you.

5. The Collaboratıve Buyer – Tyrıon Lannıster

This buyer likes solving problems and working in teams to find the best results. The Collaborator is typically friendly, approachable, and well liked. This buyer will want to take into account everyone’s opinions, and make their decision based on the best for all.

Tyrion best portrays the Collaborative Buyer. He knows his limits as a dwarf in the violent world of Westeros, so he builds his own teams to accomplish his goals. Need someone to fight? Bronn is there to answer the call. Need juicy information? Varys is there for him. He also excels at advising as the hand of the king (or queen). He involves the people that he needs to push a deal forward.

When selling to this type of buyer, you need to focus on consensus building, and be aware of all the outside influences that may be affecting this buyer’s final decision on the deal. Be patient with the Collaborator – they may need time to think through all the implications of working with you, and do it in their own time.

Sales ıs Playıng the Game of Thrones

When you are pitching any deal, you need to not only sell your product, but take into account the person you are working with. Look for signs of what type of buyer personality they have, right from the start. Is the person interested in finding out the exact figures that you can offer them, do they talk about their ultimate goal and where they are headed, or do they show signs of caring more about improving their culture and how they feel? Take notes and use these cues to respond to your buyer appropriately. When playing the Game of Thrones, you either win or you die. Not so different in sales. Play your cards right, adjust your pitch properly and you can put your house in the best position to succeed.

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