Did you really think we were gonna write an entire blog post about how sales is just like The Bachelor?
If you said yes - then you are correct.
Here’s a quick primer for those of you who are not watching the cultural phenomenon that is ABC’s The Bachelor and its many offshoots (Bachelorette, Bachelor in Paradise, and who could forget Bachelor: Winter Games).
The Bachelor and Bachelorette franchise revolve around a leading man or woman, “The Lead,” who dates as many as 30 men or women throughout the season, eliminating several suitors each week until the “final rose.” The elimination ceremony involves roses, those who get to stay another week receive a rose, while those eliminated awkwardly leave the premises. All of this culminates in the final rose ceremony, where the lead gets engaged to one of the men or women.
Now that the uninitiated are caught up…
This Valentine’s Day, we decided to break down the 5 ways your sales process is basically like the ABC franchise:
#1 Customers = “The Lead”
So how is this at all like a sales process?
Well, “The Lead” is basically your customer, and you are competing with several others for their love and attention or, in the case of software sales, time, attention, and money.
Each week in your sales process, you try to make a good impression. The Bachelor franchise is akin to getting the lead to give you a solo date, or perhaps the first impression rose.
#2 Contestants = vendors
So if your customer is the “The Lead,” then every contestant on the show is you - the vendor. Your role on the show is to sell yourself to “The Lead” as “marriage material.”
Similarly, when running a sales process, you want your customers to feel like you are the ideal vendor, the one who is in it for the long haul.
You demonstrate this by making every touchpoint with the customer count. Just like the men and women on the Bachelor realize there are only a finite number of moments they can have with the lead each week, they must always put their best foot forward. It’s why you’ll often hear men and women on the show utter the iconic phrase, “can I steal you for a minute?” They are trying to find the right moments to connect with “The Lead,” so they’ll make it to next week.
Now contestants on the Bachelor don’t always do what is best for the relationship. Sometimes they aren’t there “for the right reasons,” and sales can fall into a similar trap. You might focus on yourself and advancing your own revenue goals above the customer’s needs.
Optimizing for killing your quota won’t get you far in the sales process, just as being obsessed with your follower count won’t get you (that) far in The Bachelor(ette) franchise.
#3 First impressions are lasting
First impressions are perhaps the most significant determinant of success on The Bachelor above all else.
The show kicks off every season with night one, where contestants arrive by limo and one by one introduce themselves to “The Lead” before heading into their inaugural cocktail party. This is an opportunity to give them a glimpse of your personality. Some people use this opportunity to make a sure-fire lasting impression with shock and awe. Others rely on their charm alone to leave a mark. Men and women have shown up in elaborate costumes, rode in on a horse, arrived in an excellent car, or one man who chose to come in a gift box and spent the entire night in character.
According to some research by Vulture, “of the 23 contestants who received a first impression rose, 47 percent have lasted until at least week seven of the competition, 22 percent have made it to the finale, and two recipients (season 17’s Catherine Giudici and season 24’s Hannah Ann Sluss) ended the season engaged.”
The sales process has the first demo if the Bachelor franchise has the limo entrance.
Just like the contestants, vendors approach the demo in different ways. In the world of product-led, many let their product do the charming without much fanfare, while some who are still sales-led focus on the shock and awe of a flashy demo.
#4 Each week of the series is like running a POC
Each week in the Bachelor, “The Lead” chooses men or women to take on group dates or solo dates. They use these dates to get to know each other learn more about what the men or women bring to the table. This is the contestant's opportunity to make an impression on the lead and make sure they make it to next week.
On group dates, the lead also gets a chance to see how the contestants perform with a challenge. These group dates are often elaborately contrived opportunities to make contestants jump through (sometimes) literal hoops.
This is exactly like your customers running a POC, where you are in direct competition with other vendors. The customer may set out some problems for you to solve and directly compare your solution to the alternatives.
If you do well in this POC evaluation, you might make it to the final rose.
#5 The ‘Final Rose’
Every POC ends with a crucial decision normally between two really great vendors. This is akin to the final rose ceremony, where “The Lead” must choose who they will spend the rest of their lives with (after a very short 8-week romance).
This episode and the few that precede it tend to be the most tumultuous for “The Lead” as they battle with their complicated feelings.
These final episodes often have moments of doubt, where “The Lead” feels defeated and wants to just go home, or plot twists where a previously eliminated contestant pops back in for one last shot.
In sales terms, the final rose is those last few weeks of a trial or POC where you have done all that you can do to woo the customer. Now it’s all about handling their objections, helping them make a case for you internally (for The Bachelor or Bachelorette, this is convincing their parents), and making it very clear how you differ from the competition.
In the end, ‘The Lead” is always happiest when they don’t fall for any red flags and go with their gut.
Happy Valentine’s day - next time you engage a customer, just remember your ABC’s (Always Bachelor/ette Charm).