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June 27, 2017 By Scott Simone

What Harry Potter Can Teach Us About Sales

June 27, 2017

By Scott Simone

Read More from Scott Simone

June 27, 2017

What Harry Potter Can Teach Us About Sales

By Scott Simone
Contributor

We’re sure you heard the news by now: The Harry Potter phenomenon started a whopping 20 years ago. And no, this isn’t one of those “we’re so old now!” posts. Instead, we’re about to illustrate how the books (and films) that guided many a childhood can also be a roadmap of sorts in the world of sales.

This isn’t some dark magic we’re throwing out there, either. Just look at Syracuse University‘s Whitman School of Management, which brought the house system of Hogwarts to life three years ago. So without further adieu, here are a few lessons that the story of the Harry Potter franchise can teach you about business and sales:

Persistence

In a past post, we mentioned the importance of not fearing rejection and to keep selling after the first no. Well, that’s exactly what J.K. Rowling did with the first Harry Potter book. Rowling sent the manuscript to a dozen different publishers, all of whom passed (some more harshly than others).

In sales—and all business, really—you’re going to hear the word “no” a heck of a lot of times. The trick is to not let the fear of rejection—or the actual process of it—cripple you. Instead, refine your sales pitch and keeping knocking on doors. That “yes” will come.

The Long Game

If I asked you what Harry’s driving force was, you’d quickly reply, “To defeat Lord Voldemort.” That’s because from the very first book, Harry’s end-game is abundantly clear. And everything he does—yes, even battling a centaur in the Forbidden Forest—brings him a bit closer to that ultimate goal.

The same should hold true in the business world. Say your goal is to increase your number of sales. Is cold-calling companies that aren’t your target prospects really worth your time? No, because, everything you do—from sales calls to upgrading sales software to testing new platforms—should bring you closer to that goal.

Riddikulus!

In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Professor Lupin introduces his class—and to us, the reader—to a boggart. You may recall that a boggart is a non-mortal shape-shifter that takes the form of the viewer’s worst nightmare. Well, do you remember the spell to deal with a boggart? “Riddikulus.”

How can I apply this wizardry in my professional life, you ask? Well, break down lofty, mind-boggingly difficult tasks and goals into simple, dare we say, ridiculous ones. So, say you have to give a sales presentation. Instead of building it up into a make-or-break, career-defining project, whittle it down to a series of can’t-fail tasks. For instance, creating the first slide to your deck. Nail that first page and it’s message. What do you want to say next? Start building slide number two. And poof—you just put a riddikulus spell on the boggart that was your sales presentation.

Teamwork

Harry Potter didn’t run around Hogwarts casting spells and mixing potions all by his lonesome. No, he had a trustworthy group around him and he often sought the advice of others when he needed—think Hermoine and Ron, Snape, and even Muggles.

Well, set yourself up as the Harry Potter of your company. Seek advice and guidance from those with different skill sets. After all, the sharing of ideas and teamwork is the cornerstone to any successful business.

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