House of Lies is a series about a team of consultants who go out of their way to please their clients. Based on the book House of Lies: How Management Consultants Steal Your Watch and Then Tell You the Time, the story of the series is very interesting to understand the classic approach of some consultants.
Filled with a lot of sensationalism, of course (after all, it’s a TV show :P), it presents the daily life of the Galweather Stearns consulting team in its struggle to win and keep big clients in its portfolio.
Featuring masterful acting from Don Cheadle and supporting cast-iron like Kristen Bell, Joshua Lawson and Ben Schwartz, the series is totally centered around Marty Kaan ( Don Cheadle ) and his team of consultants.
Despite the unscrupulous nature of the entire Galweather consulting team, they manage to achieve good results and on top of that, they are excellent salespeople. In the end, it is necessary for every consultancy to make its speech tangible and generate effective returns for its clients.
The Galweather team even got used to closing gigantic deals, such as Pfizer, USA National Bank, among others, using various methodologies and some deceit to achieve their results.
To make the role of each of the characters a little clearer, I’ll make a brief summary about them:
- Marty Kaan: Played by Don Cheadle (remember him as the protagonist of Hotel Rwanda ?), is the leader of the team of consultants. He has excellent rhetoric and is a specialist in alienating his clients, making them focus only on what he considers relevant, in this case, the benefits offered by his consulting services.
- Jeannie van der Hooven: Is played by Kristen Bell, in effect, the second-in-command of the consulting team. He has a strong personality and follows the line of the salesperson guided by Off-the-wall questions. Very ambitious, she doesn’t like to waste time with the game of egos common to her work environment.
- Clyde Oberholt: Played by Ben Schwartz, he specializes in marketing and SPIN. Arrogant and with a dark past, he has a lot of tact to sell, however, he is not very focused on data analysis and therefore, he ends up being an incomplete professional.
- Doug Guggenheim: It’s played by Josh Lawson, it’s the comedic vein of the series. Quite naive, he’s the team’s stats expert, but he has no talent to sell.
Both Marty and Jeannie are complete salespeople, whereas a merger of Clyde and Doug would be the perfect salesperson, mastering both sales technique and knowledge of market data analysis!
But tell me, did you notice the similarity between their work and the best practices in the sales market? In addition to being just consultants, they also act as sales consultants when closing a deal.
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- Sales Techniques by Marty Kaan
- Having accurate sales techniques is a must-have for a top performer
Sales Techniques by Marty Kaan
The impression we get from watching the series is that Marty’s childhood and adolescence must have been quite disturbing. The guy is an expert in handling people, interpreting body language and has perfect timing to make decisive interventions in meetings.
Of course, in the real world, it’s hard to find a salesperson who has all of the state-of-the-art sales techniques Marty himself lost some good deals due to failures in conducting negotiations. But since he had more successes than failures, he will be the focus of our article!
Based on his meetings and sales, let’s list the top 3 techniques he uses in the series:
Empathy and Sympathy
Marty Kaan is the king of empathy. He manages with tremendous ease to move through all kinds of environments. From companies with a culture of results to those where politics prevails. Its biggest differential is being extremely resilient. He is the personification of the following statement from Darwin:
It’s not the strongest that survives, nor the smartest, but the one that adapts best to change
A great example is when he sells his services to a large fast food chain. Marty has a homosexual son and is part of a family of atheists, but in order to garner both the sympathy and respect of the CEO of the company he was dealing with, he pretended to be the son of a pastor and used biblical passages in his pitch.
With a speech tailored for the occasion, he managed to generate a lot of rapport with his lead and made the sale. Did you see how adaptation is essential to close a good deal?
Marty is hated by many characters in the series and it’s no wonder. He uses any artifice to achieve his goals, no matter how unethical. But oddly enough, this is his greatest asset before the competition: everyone who hires him knows that, in one way or another, he will have a good result!
I’m not talking about being unscrupulous at the time of a sale, but buyers tend to prefer specialists. It’s no use being an excellent professional if nobody knows the result of your work. That’s why personal marketing is essential when making a sale.
Even after being arrested and losing several customers, Marty managed to rise from the ashes after he was hired by a large electric car company called Gage Motors to assist them in a major restructuring.
After his success in this endeavor, he managed to recover several clients, despite his poor personal history. The importance of personal marketing is due to the fact that it opens many doors that normally would not be open! An ex-convict managed to get hired to manage a sensitive project for the future of a company thanks to his professional image. See how important it is, in addition to generating results, to know how to sell them?
If you want to follow up a little more on the topic, take a look at the post-Vinícius made on Pulse, where he has some really cool insights for those interested in getting deeper into the area.
off the wall questions
If there’s one thing Marty Kaan isn’t afraid of, it’s getting into a confrontation. And this applies to a certain extent even in your relationship with your customers. To close deals or speed up the progress of his projects, he often uses off-the-wall questions. But what is it anyway?
These are those questions that every salesperson is afraid to ask, where the lead, MQL and SQL are put up against the wall. Her intention is really to elicit a response and create urgency in the buyer.
Of course, Marty goes a bit further, becoming impolite and rude to the people he’s dealing with. Aside from fiction of course, the American market seems to have better support for this type of attitude, but it is also possible to apply them in the B2B complex sales segment.
Imagine the following scenario: You are selling a solution that will reduce your customer’s cost by more than 30%, yet they are reluctant to attend a product demo. As a sales professional, you can’t waste a lot of time with just one lead, after all, you have a goal to hit. What then should you do?
My answer would be: use an off-the-wall question. Literally, put the lead against the wall. Ask if his company is really doing well enough to forgo a 30% savings on spending. I believe, especially in times of crisis, that it is difficult for anyone to argue against such a drastic cost reduction.
If the entire qualification process was done correctly and the image of a charlatan was not conveyed, the tendency is for the buyer to have more confidence, because if the seller’s attitude was aggressive in asserting a benefit, it is because he really trusts that the product/service offered will generate consistent results.
Having accurate sales techniques is a must-have for a top performer
More than an excellent consultant, Marty is a great salesperson. Using several sales techniques (here I’m just talking about the legal ones :P), he manages to close large contracts with relative ease. By building a strong personal image, adapting your speech to the customer, and not being afraid to ask a little tougher questions, your results are always positive when it’s not sabotaged.
Are you up to date with your sales techniques? I know it’s complicated to keep up with the various news that are emerging in the sales market, but if you want to understand a little more about the best practices in the market, check out these two posts: