October 24

Beware the Sales Zombie: Lessons from The Walking Dead


For most movie audiences, it’s hard to distinguish one zombie from the next. While the on-screen zombies may exhibit varying degrees of decay or gore, the dead eyes and extended arms as they lumber towards their prey is replicated over and over.  Rarely does an individual zombie stand out or receive credit for his performance.  In the eyes of the audience and the director, they are merely scenery.  In fact, like most show extras, they are often referred to as “background.”

As a salesperson it’s easy to be part of your customer’s background as well when you simply do what everyone else does and fail to differentiate yourself from the competition.  So how can you avoid turning into just another Sales Zombie ?

A Lesson from The Walking Dead’s Zombie School

The zombies on AMC’s hit show, The Walking Dead are different.  Why?  Because the show’s makers realized that each zombie is unique.  Every year thousands of people audition for a chance to play a zombie on the hit TV series.  But only a small percentage make it through the initial casting process.  Once they do, they’re enrolled in Zombie School (yes, it’s a real thing) where they learn how to bring their own unique twist to playing the undead and improve their chances of being cast on the show.  Directors work with each zombie-wannabe to help them develop their own style.  One of the first things directors tell the actors is to stop doing the same old arms out in front, stereotypical Frankenstein-type zombie.

The best advice from Zombie School? “Don’t just copy what everyone else is doing, make something your own.”

“You have to find your inner zombie.”
The Walking Dead

Standing out from the Sales Zombies

Whether you’re competing for a role in a hit TV show or a role in your prospect’s business, doing the same thing everyone else is doing is rarely a winning strategy in a competitive market. If you want to stand out and be remembered when buying decisions are made, you have to find your inner sales zombie…I mean salesperson.  In other words, you need to break the mold of the company-overview-giving, monologue-delivering, slide-pointing sales zombie that prospects are tired of.  You need to find a way to present yourself, your product or service and your company in a unique way to break through the clutter today.

 3 Ways to Avoid Turning into a Sales Zombie

It isn’t easy to break the mold or change what you’ve always done.  But you can start with a few of the tips below:

Have a “Drop the Mic” Moment.

Make it easy for your prospect to remember your presentation or conversation by turning your key idea into a concise power-bite. The most popular Ted Talks often turn their central idea into a memorable 3-12 word phrase that is implanted in the audience’s mind, like Simon Sinek’s catchphrase, “Start with why.” For tips on creating your own Mic Drop moment Read how here.

Be Intentional.

Zombies can’t talk, but we all know what they want!  They’re very intentional in their actions.  Having a clear, strong intention for your presentation will infuse passion, energy and emotion into your presentation, which will in turn, directly impact your audience.  Read how to leverage the power of intention here.

Use your Voice and Body.

From the sound and the quality of your voice to the way you stand or move, you are affecting how your audience perceives you, your company, and your solution. Use your voice and body well, and stand out in a good way.  Use them poorly and…well, you probably know how that goes.  Learn how you can use your voice and body effectively here.    

So get out of the background. Stop following the other sales zombies and find ways to break the mold.  What makes you and your product unique is ultimately what’s going to stand out with your prospect and win you a role in their business.

Photo Courtesty of CC by: thierry ehrmann


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