As a startup mentor at River City Labs, I have worked with technical founders to appreciate the “dark arts” of selling.

With the anticipation of Episode VII, The Force Awakens, I wrote this fun piece about the selling skills of Senator Palpatine/Darth Sidious. 

1.  “Hard to see, the dark side is” – Yoda (Episode I, The Phantom Menace)

The “dark side” like masterful selling is hidden to those buying.

On the other hand bad selling is very obvious. Consider the story of Tom Sawyer, as a masterful sales person who persuaded his friends to not only whitewash his fence, but pay for the privilege!

Many people (especially those in tech) define sales by what they see – the bad selling! Don’t let bad selling confuse you.

Hard to see it is!

2.    “Your father… was seduced by the Dark Side of the Force” – Obi Wan Kenobi (Episode VI, Return of the Jedi)

You cannot force someone to buy your service or product, just as Anakin Skywalker could not be forced to join the Sith. Palpatine exercised a great deal of influence and persuasion to seduce Anakin from the Jedi path.

Good selling is about influence and persuasion.

The only way to have influence and persuasion is to focus on the needs of your clients.The Trusted Advisor explains how and why.

Forget about your sales targets and focus solely on understanding and helping your clients. Your influence will grow and the sales numbers will take care of themselves.

3. Plan. Plan. Plan.

Palpatine was good at executing tactical plans to achieve his strategic goal to dominate the universe! Even when one plan apparently failed it still seemed to bring him closer to his objectives.

Sales success will not occur from a single knock-out deal. You can build a system for for success through a pipeline of varied sales activities.

Palpatine needed a constant supply of Sith apprentices to keep his dastardly plans on track. Therefore he tried to recruit a range of apprentices from varied backgrounds: Darth Maul, Darth Tyranus, Darth Vader and finally Luke Skywalker.

Manage your opportunities like an investor manages a portfolio, with a mixture of high risk and high return vs. low risk and guaranteed revenue.  With a balanced portfolio of sales opportunities you can deliver constant and predictable sales results.

Do you have any Sith comparisons to Sales?

Please add them in the comments below!