The Office – How Michael Scott Makes a Sale

The Office – How Michael Scott Makes a Sale

November 19, 2019 100 By Luis Garrison


I’ve been studying Michael for years and I’ve
condensed what I’ve learned into this chart, ‘How Michael Spends His Time’. As you can see we have procrastinating, and distracting
others, and this tiny sliver here, is critical thinking. I made it bigger, so that you could see it. After years of watching Michael Scott as the mostly in-competent regional manager of Dunder Mifflin Scranton, you would almost forget he was at one point
the company’s greatest salesman. Been there, done that.
Two years in a row. Consecutive. Unlike most salesmen who solely focus on creating
a need and exploiting it, Michael’s philosophy is a little different, and this
deserves some attention. Thank you! The first time we his talent for sales in
action is in episode 7 of season 2, where he and his boss Jan go out to land a new client. Hello, Christian? Yes.
– I thought that was you, hi. So, this possible client they’re talking
about, actually a big deal. It’s Lackawanna County. Our whole county. And if we get this, they might not have to
downsize our branch. Instead of going straight to business, Michael
focuses on establishing a personal relation first. Awesome Blossom. What? I think we should share an Awesome Blossom, what do you say? They’re awesome. He lightens the mood with jokes and really
takes the time to get to know his potential client. It is only after laying a solid foundation
that he engages in business and makes the sale. Over the course of the series, we see Michael
using this method to land multiple major clients. This is a huge sale. Yes, right, good. But let’s also consider the product he’s
selling. Dunder Mifflin is a small company that cannot
compete with the prices of nation-wide chains, and so their product isn’t so much paper,
as it is customer service. That is what sets Dunder Mifflin apart, and
that is their most important selling point. Dunder Mifflin may be just two rooms and a warehouse, but what we lack in flash, we will make up for with hard work and decency. Michael is able to successfully convey this precisely
because of his sincere and intuitive approach, he doesn’t just sell customer
service, he embodies it. He makes a sale in the same way that he would
make a friend. He gives people his full attention, makes
them feel valued, and genuinely cares about their needs. Now compare this with Ryan for example. Hello Ryan, what do you have for us? Ryan fails to make a sale because he is constantly
up in his head, constantly scheming and trying to
calculate his best possible move, making him unable to convey what
Dunder Mifflin is really about. I don’t get it. I don’t get what I did wrong. Not everything is a lesson Ryan, sometimes you just fail. It’s those online paper jerks,
the whole business is changing, There are, however, some implications to
Michael’s way of doing business; because like paper in a paperless world; it seems to become endangered in an increasingly impersonal and corporate society. When Michael is having money problems, he
takes on a second job at a telemarketing company. Here we get a glimpse of Michael’s worst
possible environment; a place of scripted pitches and quick interactions in which there is no room for making personal connections. I know sales, and I had that sale, I just needed a few more minutes.. A few more minutes is a waste of our time. It’s not – This is a trading game – no –
You give a quick pitch, you make the sale and move on. Dunder Mifflin is not immune to these changing
demands and has no choice but to adapt; By your own employee’s calculation you’ll be obsolete in the next 5 to 10 years. Thereby putting Michael at odds with
his own company as well. This company is getting younger, faster, more efficient.
You need to prepare yourself. When Dunder Mifflin launches a new website,
Michael feels he is being pushed out, and so to prove the old ways are better, he desperately tries to convince former clients
to come back to Dunder Mifflin, only to realize that he is the one
who may be falling out of touch. We’re also coming out with a website, soon.
It’s a state of the art thing. It’s gonna cut costs, and it will make
ordering much, much easier. But I think the stakes aren’t truly revealed
until a season later. In episode 12 of season 5, Dunder Mifflin
goes after the business of Prince Family Paper, and Michael is tasked with gathering information. But after meeting the Prince family he discovers they are just a small family business serving their community, a reflection of the very thing he himself values so much. Business is always personal, it’s the most personal thing in the world. Those people will be ruined! It’s business, it’s not personal! And he realizes that maybe he does not belong in this corporate world without mercy. I’m not a shark. The episode shows us the apparent inevitability of small businesses being devoured by larger corporations, and personal relations being
replaced with faceless transactions. However, The Office also shows us why there
is no need for despair just yet. Because despite the many obstacles that are
put in Dunder Mifflin’s way; from scandals to bankruptcy, lay-offs and buyouts, it is Michael and his Scranton branch that persevere; that prove itself to be the unwavering, everlasting
heart of Dunder Mifflin. Look, people continue to come back to us time
and time again because they feel cared for here. They feel respected, and they feel their needs matter. They are treated like human beings. He may not be the perfect manager, but ultimately, Michael stands as a testament to an ideal that goes beyond a lesson in sales, an ideal of a salesman who cares about business, but cares more about people. People, Ryan. And people will never go out of business.