The Mandalorian and His advice for Salespeople
“I can bring you in warm, or I can bring you in cold”
This is the first line of dialog spoken by Mando, the name given to the Mandalorian bounty hunter character and star of the Disney + original series.
I am obsessed with this character and after watching 16 episodes, he has taught me some great lessons I can use as a sales professional. From his first moments on film, he shows determination, focus, a singleness of purpose, and his own “gift of persuasion”.
As a galactic bounty hunter, he meets a mysterious “Force Sensitive” infant named Grogu. He is referred to as “The Child” and he is of the same species as Yoda. (Yes, Yoda from Star Wars) Unless you have been living in a cave for the past year, you have heard of and seen this green Baby Yoda character. Grogu is overly adorable and mostly helpless. Mando is drawn into a mission to protect and deliver Grogu to safety to live with others of his kind.
In order to be effective in his quest, he relies on his instincts and the code of the Mandalorian and it is in this combination that I see great similarities and qualities that are needed in my role as a hunter/salesperson.
Forming Partnerships — Reluctantly in most cases, Mando brings in a partner to further the cause and as a way to complete his mission. His first partner is a Droid and we know early in his character development that he despises Droids. He has no other choice but to make a partnership with the Droid work. In almost every episode he navigates new partnerships with clumsy and sometimes brutal force. No matter his style, he does not lose focus and sees clearly how the partnership keeps him progressing towards his goal.
The fact is that in sales, often we want total control and authority over the steps in the process. We look at each opportunity as it progresses through our funnel. We want to control that journey. There is a reluctance to bring in a partner who can sometimes obstruct and even slow down a sale. The Mandalorian set aside his own concerns and made the mission and its success his complete focus even when the partnerships potentially posed a threat. Navigating these relationships requires patience, adaptability, and most of all the willingness to set aside personal preference to gain access to the ultimate gain.
Develop a set of tools — The Mandalorian is actually an American space western, with a lone gunfighter making his way through the outer reaches of the galaxy. Like any great Western, there is a bad guy and a good guy. Mando is being pursued by the Imperial Remnant and its scary leader Moff Gideon. He is also a target of other bounty hunters who seek the prize offered for the small package of “The Child”.
One of my favorite quotes from Mando is “I’m a Mandalorian, Weapons are part of my religion.” As their journey progresses and tense situations arise, Mando is prepared to do battle with an arsenal of “tools” (Weapons). The coolest tool in the entire saga was the whistling bird — a type of weapon made of beskar steel, which was small guided munitions placed in Mandalorian wrist armor which, when deployed, flew through the air while making a whistling noise before striking the target and killing them with a small explosion.
I don’t need that beskar steel whistling bird, but I want it!
The choice to go into sales is not necessarily comparable to the quest of our lone gunfighter, but the need to be prepared for any situation that arises most certainly is. I look upon the opportunity to connect with a prospect and earn their trust as a salesperson as a series of interactions. Developing an arsenal when you choose this role is essential. Like Mando, a salesperson has to be constantly alert and ready to defend themselves when “attacked”.
And then there was the attack by a ferocious furry rhino in which the Child saves the Mandalorian’s life with his little green hand wielding The Force...
But I digress.
Often you have that one shot to offer a rebuttal or pivot in a conversation. Find your coolest tool and master it, be prepared and focused in your role. Advanced preparation and a level of comfort with deep knowledge of the account is for me “the whistling bird” that works best.
Dedication to the Code — Without question, witnessing a character like the Mandalorian exhibit traits like dedication and unwavering belief was inspiring. Mando was raised as a foundling. (A foundling was a term used in Mandalorian culture for children who were adopted by the warriors of Mandalore.) He learned to respect the creed of the Mandalore. Among the elements we learn that are part of the way of the Mandalore include never taking your helmet off and always protecting fellow followers, even if his life depends on it. In the 3rd episode, Mandalorian encounters The Armorer (one of the last of the tribe and leader of the covert) and has the following exchange:
The Armorer: “When one chooses to walk the way of the Mandalore, you are both hunter and prey. How can one be a coward if one chooses this way of life? Have you ever removed your helmet?”
The Mandalorian: “No,”
The Armorer: “Has it ever been removed by others?”
The Mandalorian: “Never.”
The Armorer: “This is the Way.”
This is the Way. Can you imagine having such dedication to the code of sales? What would that mean? In an era when trust is so fragile, the salesperson must be able to sell with both head and heart authentically. The sales creed is having vulnerability with competence, allowing authenticity to create a strong personal character. Giving your prospects your best through conscious selling that has three dimensions — head, heart, and soul.
My “helmet to not be removed” is my listening step in the sales process. I will not proceed with a prospect without the opportunity to listen, learn, discover and establish rapport. It has happened that a prospect wants to “just get me a price quote” and will not offer any shred of sharing in dialog or discovery. That’s not good, and the quote is not likely going to happen. I know my creed, and the only way I can properly be in a position of service to their business. This is the Way.
Mandalorian examples are now part of my conscious journey in sales, and I have even started visualizing my prospects as sweet little green creatures that just need shepherding. Along with my care and devotion.