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How to Live (and Sell) Interdependently with George Clooney

How to Live (and Sell) Interdependently with George Clooney
October 25, 2018

One of my favourite sales workshops to run is called ‘Selling Skills for the Non-Salesperson’. I must have done this one 70 times or more, with many different groups including businesses, local authorities, university students, charities and social enterprises, business consultants - and even with friends.

The feedback is always positive:

“I never realised that’s what sales is all about.” 

“That was interesting and I will start using some of this stuff.” 

People often believe that ‘selling is telling’. But nothing could be further from the truth. Most people don’t work out what their customer wants and needs before offering their solution. (This is often true in our personal lives, as well.)

Do you understand them?

All the most successful salespeople start by finding out what their customers want, before telling them what they need. In his book, Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey puts it like this:

 “Seek first to understand before being understood.”

Our life’s journey is one of going from childhood dependence, to independence as a young adult and finally, to interdependence when we reach maturity. And yes, some of us never get to the interdependence stage - ever!

Part of maturing is making the shift from being a demanding dependent to living our lives in an interdependent way. In an ideal world, we go from a child who’s constantly working to help themselves make sense of the world, to a mature person, who asks what they can do for the world. 

Living interdependently (with George Clooney - no less!)

Now, celeb-shockers might not be my go-to holiday reading. But this year, an article about Hollywood heart-throb (is he still one of those?!) George Clooney, captured my attention. In the article, Clooney describes how he struggled to land acting jobs in the early part of his career. As unlikely as it sounds, it took him a while to work out what he was doing wrong. 

Clooney describes how, when he met with producers and directors in his early days, he was only thinking about himself. Every interview was a chance for the directors and others to make his dream of becoming an actor come true. “I was only thinking of me, me, me.”

Eventually, he realised how he needed to change if he was going to be successful. 

Clooney’s career started to take off once he changed his interview technique. Gradually, he’d realised that it wasn’t all about him. It was about the people on the other side of the desk. 

  • What do they need?
  • Do I understand their problem?
  • How can I deliver what you need–and then some?
  • I am the totally right person for this role
  • This is why I’m your solution

Clooney’s had stumbled upon the first rule of selling:

“It’s not about me, it’s about the customer.”


“Find out what your customer wants and then offer the solution.”

And that was the start of his legendary career.

Maybe this story is an example of a man who is finally grasping the idea of living life in an interdependent way. Like Clooney, all the greatest salespeople have realised that they need to work with others to get to where they want to be.

Give your team the Clooney experience

Anyone can apply simple and effective personal selling skills. Is your team struggling to land those big roles? Get in touch today to book your introduction to selling skills. Okay, so you might not get George Clooney - but you could change your salespeople’s lives, and change your business.


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