5 Success Tips from Mad Men’s Don Draper

Whisky during a sales pitch and sexually harassing the office secretary may have gone out of style, but there are some success tips of the Madison Avenue ad men that are still true today.

Sales isn’t about telling people what they want to hear
If there is one reason men love Don Draper, it’s because he talks to clients the way we wish we could.  His clients are often stubborn, self-interested, and sceptical. Draper is never afraid to tell his clients they’re wrong. In the real world we have to be more tactful than he is, but we’ve all heard the cliché, “the customer is always right.” Anyone who has worked in customer relations knows that isn’t true. Have confidence in your pitch and if your client shows resistance, don’t back down.

No one is satisfied for long
Business is about satisfying the client, but many forget that making a client happy is an ongoing job. Success is a journey, not a destination, and this is why Don Draper tells his clients that he’s not happy with anything less than 100 per cent of the market share. Eventually, you’ll get used to a certain level of success, so it is always important to look for new ways to improve your business relationships with your clients.

You don’t have to compromise your ethics to be successful
It may have seemed altruistic for Draper to suddenly reject tobacco accounts, and it was. Some people assume that being successful means living without a moral compass and making deals with the devil. Reality shows that it is the opposite. Bill Gates donated $33 billion to charity. And as a side note, cigarette companies can’t advertise anymore.

A worker’s capability supersedes what others think of them
The world only cares about what you can do for it. Remember the episode when Draper had to endure an evening with those pretentious hippies in the artist’s loft? They were all being condescending and it didn’t even faze him. Why? Because each one of them is wearing or using one of the products he sells and they’re unemployed critics. If you accomplish something, there will be a line of non-creators passing judgement even though they can’t do better. Draper creates and the hippies just criticize. That’s why Draper gets more respect.

Everything is an opportunity
Peggy Olsen may have felt unappreciated by Draper, but he didn’t promote her to copywriter because she was the prettiest in the office. He promoted her because she earned it. Take every chance to put some input into projects. And don’t worry if you don’t get a “thank you”, that’s what the money is for.

Jeff Johnston is freelance writer and journalist from the Niagara Region. He’s into technology, psychology, sports, and politics. He graduated from Brock University with a BA in Political Science and a diploma in journalism and is now looking to dazzle you with his wisdom.

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