The Office – How Michael Scott Makes a Sale


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.

100 comments

He writes down a thing about his client on the back of a different customers contact card… "Gay son".

He's a genius. His marketing commercial is needed today. Everything being sold to us is boring…and condescending…

An interesting take on Michael's salesmanship, but keep in mind also the lessons of Arthur Miller's 1949 play Death of a Salesman, which portrays glad-handing "friend-" based salesmanship as a kind of manipulation that prostitutes genuine friendship, and therefore dooms the main character to failure because he puts so much weight on success combined with "popularity." A critique of capitalist relations penetrating our connections to other people. Consider also David Riesman's 1950 sociological analysis "the Lonely Crowd," which made the distinction between inner directed people who live by their own values, and other-directed people, creatures of the corporate world, who take their cues from others and try most of all to be pleasing, again as a manipulation to make their way through corporate society.
This leads me to ask that you analyze Mad Men– the ultimate examination of prostituting oneself and manipulating others on a grand scale, dedmonstrating the way ostensibly liberating cultural trends were subsumed into the capitalist order during the 1960s.
I don't begrudge capitalism's power to create wealthier societies, but I think it's important to be aware of the manipulations so people can rise above them and make a decent life for themselves as human beings and citizens rather than merely customers.

I think that is why Robert California works as the anti-Michael Scott. He knows all the importance of human relationships but exploits it and manipulates the situation for his own benefit

Michael Scott is such an interesting character because he seems so simple but hes so complex, he seems boring and two dimensional but hes very interesting, and props to Steve carrell.

It's why he was casted for MAXWELL SMART. Don Adams as Max showed that the Fool may stumble and look so foolish in his ways but deep inside….the fool knows what he's doing.

I'm not going to lie, I almost skipped this video, but I'm glad I didnt. Thank you for all of these. I appreciate the time and thought you put into all your videos. You sir are an inspiration. Take care.

People are meant to be loved and things are meant to be used, but all too often things are loved and people are used.

This world would have been a much better place if there were more like Michael; who puts people first before making profit.

I always thought this would be the future marketing. When price is so widely competitive, products quality is across the broad homogeneous and the delivery of said product is done through machinery, internet, human-less transaction.

You want a person like Michael Scott, who can relate to your situation, need and condition. It doesn't matter it's a toothbrush, it's a damn toothbrush that affirm your decision, from the depth of heart, it's a sincere understand decision.

Great video. I love how the Office contrasts people like Ryan who should be the best salesperson (on paper) with his MBA, but has never made a sale, with the actual top sales people like Mike, Jim, and Dwight who are good salespeople because they do it differently than they are supposed to. I especially love the scene where Jim and Dwight go on a sales appointment and at the beginning Dwight calls a big company who puts him on hold, while Jim calls Dunder Mifflin and Kelly picks up immediately.

This is why Michael is, by far, the best character on the show. And why you can’t help but like him and sympathize with him, even when he’s acting in a way he shouldn’t.

This is even more truer in our society where people conduct businesses over faceless phone calls listening to superficial generated voices. What many businesses and even our relationships are missing is the feeling of connection which cannot be substituted with social media and online calls. We are social human beings and we crave the desire for authentic human interaction, anything other than that feels empty, feels inhumane. Michael Scott is the perfect epitome of a caring and compassionate businessman which people can look to and strive for.

You’re analysis is always so deep and emotional, you sher light on the little things that actually matter. It’s a comedy series yet you made it sound like a dramatic master piece.

I work in sales and I sell a lot like Michael Scott. Make a connection, a new friend and they’ll buy anything from you as long as they can afford it. And it’s nice because I enjoy making those connections. Funnest part of my job

Dude you are such an amazing, thoughtful voice in an otherwise cesspool of obnoxiousness, political bullshit, and half-assed dollar-salivating sponsored content. Thank you for being a genuine human.

Bravo. Leave it to LSOO to find and nurture a profound philosophical thread through even the most inconsistent tonal/plot moments of the show's run…icing on the cake is the soundtrack and editing it to make The Office appear to be a drama. Plinkett said of the prequels "You never thought you'd be laughing at the end…" One might as well say of The Office, or this video in particular, "You never thought you'd be choked up at the end".

I love Parks and Rec more than the Office but god your video just made me fall in love with Micheal Scott more than anyone else in the show

I like how people forget that this is not an actual documentary, not a real life event or an example, not saying that these things don't happen but A personality like Michael Scott and his achievements are completely fictional to serve as a plot or comedy or developing a story. We wouldn't know if such a personality would really serve to be a great salesmen in general terms. I suggest not analyzing their fictional careers, an analysis of their emotional behaviour would be more relevant and realistic in nature.

Thank you very much for making this video.
I really love Michael, but I don't really understand why, you made it much more clearer now.
Thank you, bless you.

I think 1 important thing is missed in your summary of the Client episode.
Tim Meadows' character immediately starts talking about the need to save money.
Michael knows they can't compete with the larger chains on price. He looks like he is reading the menu, but he is actually listening carefully and he acts immediately to change the subject to something else, but he does it in an authentic way that doesnt sound like he is just changing the subject to be shifty.
It is one of the reasons why Michael is such an incredible character. He really is a brilliant salesman.

I want to cry every time i watch one of your videos. Take that as a compliment to your narration and to your understanding of things that can only be felt

can I just say this is one of the best videos I've ever seen on Youtube, I really admire the analysis of the show and the move way from customer service world to a more technological wave. Not gonna lie I got a little emotional and i thank you so much for this video!

He’s not incompetent as a manager. It’s proven that he was the best regional manager of all Dunder Mifflin branches time and again. When all the other branches had to be shut down when they merged with Sabre, they were the last ones standing. There’s an entire video about how he was the best manager in the show

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