Software Sales Tips by Matt Wolach

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Sales From Pop Culture

Sales Lessons You Can Learn From Squid Game

Squid Game and Sales

By now you’ve heard of Squid Game, the amazing show. It’s a thriller – a mystery that brought everyone to the edge of their seat. In fact, it’s number one in over 90 countries. This thing is a masterpiece, and I really enjoyed it myself. 

The success of this viral South Korean survival drama has many valuable lessons that any brand can use to increase revenue as well as to improve sales and marketing (only very minor spoilers below, I promise). 

Did you know that there are at least three sales lessons that you can learn from the show? So, let the games begin!

#1 Know Your Target Buyer

Understanding your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and what makes them tick is one of the most evident similarities between Squid Game and B2B sales. In the series, the organization’s ‘buyers’ are people who were in serious need. They made some big mistakes. 

If you look at the main character Seong Gi-hun, he was worried his daughter doesn’t respect him. His ex-wife hates him. He has some very big gambling debts and some bad people chasing after him. In general, life is rough, mostly due to his mistakes. 

Now, the recruiter who approaches Gi-hun knows that he’s strapped for cash. The recruiter is your ideal salesman. He completely understands his buyer personas. He knows that Gi-hun likes gambling and knows him more than what is on the surface. 

Knowing your buyer also means you can develop your products and message towards them – just like what they did in Squid Game. With a promise, their lives will get easier, and with the prize money at hand, who could say no to that? 

#2 Create Scarcity & Urgency

We don’t know what customers really want until they show us. And there’s no better way to make them show it by creating scarcity and urgency. When you appeal to their emotions, play to their fear, and desperation comes in, that’s where you’ll truly see how badly they want the product.

Scarcity is the fact that there are few opportunities or units available. And urgency means this chance, this opportunity won’t last long. If you can get both scarcity and urgency to be felt by your buyers, that’s going to go very well for you. 

In Squid Game, the recruiter lets the characters know to hurry because they don’t have many spots left. There’s the urgency, and there are not many spots left is scarcity. You better jump at this right now. So if you’re wavering back and forth, take advantage immediately or someone will beat you to it. 

If you don’t play to their fear of missing out, they are going to lack motivation, and they’re not going to move forward quickly. This is one of the reasons why long sales cycles happen – because people don’t have a reason to take action instantly. If you can make them feel desperate for your product through scarcity and urgency, you’re going to see outstanding results in sales.

#3 Dangle the Carrot

One way to get people to work with you is to use the dangle-the-carrot method. This refers to a way to tempt the donkey to move forward by putting a carrot in front of its mouth to make him walk towards it. The same principle applies to sales. 

Show your buyers that they would get something amazing. Show them how they would become better, how they would have more money, how they can save money and become more efficient, whatever it is. If you can get them to understand what the benefit of your product is and what the gain is based on the action you’re proposing, that can go really well. 

Another way of doing this is through a method I teach my clients a lot: You want to make sure to get your buyers to see the end result by working with you. What will their life look like? Now, in the Squid Game, what they’re doing is they say, of course, yeah, if you want to quit, you can quit. But you’ll be missing out on this huge sum of money, which is dangling right in front of their face this entire time.

If you can use this in your sales to show the end result they will get by working with you, you are going to be able to close deals in no time. You’re going to get more people ready to get started if they understand what’s going to happen at the end. And once they realize that, their eyes will be on the prize.

The End Game…

In a very competitive field, it is creativity that sets you apart from others. In the Honeycomb game, competitors had to challenge conventions and think out of the box in order to survive. This teaches us that having a creative mindset helps one to leverage knowledge to find an unorthodox solution to the problem at hand. 

As salespeople, we need to adapt in a fast-changing world, survival for a business calls for one to be flexible, think fast, and adapt to changes. To a salesperson, creativity helps push the boundaries for innovative sales pitches that give your business a competitive edge. So, don’t forget to really know your buyers, create scarcity and urgency, and dangle the carrot.