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Business Lessons Learned from The Office

Business lessons from The Office

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Ah, The Office – The best show ever made.

Not only can you get your daily dose of laughter while watching it, surprisingly, you might also be able to learn a thing or two from our favorite characters. While the show makes fun of a lot of common business situations, there is actually a lot to learn from their shenanigans.

Buckle in. This is going to be a good one!

People Buy From People

Whether it be marketing or sales, people buy from people. And more importantly, people buy from people they trust.

It’s not often that Michael reminds you how great of a salesperson he actually is. During a meeting at his local Chili’s where he and Jan close a huge deal with Lackawanna County, you get to see some of what makes him a great salesperson.

Jan starts off the meeting with very little rapport and gets right down to business. Michael quickly halts these efforts by ordering an “Awesome Blossom” and telling some of his classic jokes.

While Jan writes this off as Michael being Michael, she comes to find out that his plan the entire time was to build this relationship and because of this, they are able to learn more about the man behind the deal and close it.

The Client – Season 2 Episode 7

Technology Is Your Friend

Technology in the workplace can be a scary thing. Change, having to learn new things, and the possibility that a machine could potentially take over your job are all concerns voiced in The Office.

Kinda like when Dunder Mifflin launches their new website with the capability to take online orders (eliminating the need for clients to work through their sales reps), and Dwight challenges the website to a “sell-off”.

Michael: The company is projecting record-high sales, and that by 6:00 the website will be the new best salesman in the company. Wow! Watch out, Dwight.
Dwight: That’s ridiculous. I’m not going to be beaten by a website.

While Dwight was able to outsell the website, “Crushing his electronic nemesis” by a whopping fifty-two reams, we learn a bit about how technology in the workplace can be a beneficial relationship.
Instead of working harder, work smarter. Finding ways to utilize technology instead of fighting it is a good start.

A great example is marketing automation and how much time it can save you. Instead of taking down a list of emails from people, you’re able to have a form on your website that does the same thing and will even send a follow-up email with whatever you want it to say. While that is a simple example, it does show that technology is there to help, not take your job!

Launch Party – Season 4 Episode 5 & 6

Tone Makes A Big Difference

Speaking of technology, we live in a world that is growing more and more based online. Texting, emailing, Facebook, the list goes on and on. It’s a huge part of the way we communicate daily to our friends, families, and clients.

While Jim and Dwight are co-heads of the PPC (Party Planning Committee) they have the co-task of planning a birthday party for Kelly.

Dwight is given the responsibility of decorating the conference room. There are plenty of areas of improvement for the decor, one thing that is specifically pointed out is the single banner that reads, “IT IS YOUR BIRTHDAY.” Jim doesn’t love the way the banner looks and Dwight rebuttals that, “ It’s a statement of fact”.

My point here is that something as simple as a period instead of an exclamation point, a missing comma, or a certain type of font can lead what you meant something to mean to an entirely different meaning.

This is very important with communication with your peers, but it’s especially important with your marketing and messaging online.

Lecture Circuit – Season 5 Episode 15 & 16

Make Your Intentions Clear

Don’t ever assume people will figure out what you want them to do with no direction.

Andy is not a great salesperson. He’ll be the first one to admit it, and we see it time and time again.

There is one specific time when he has the great idea to put on a seminar for starting small businesses and has a little bit of a rough time during the entire thing (especially at the end when he has to ask for the sales).

Andy beats around the push but eventually gets the push he needs from Michael and is able to sell three packages! All he had to do was ask.

We use this practice often with websites in particular. There should be a clear direction of what you want a website journey to look like. Do you want someone to buy a product, contact you, or read your articles? There can be more than one journey with different goals for each, but it’s good to make sure you map this out and that it makes sense.

The Seminar – Season 7 Episode 14

Customer Reviews Are Important

Online reviews are more important than ever. 84% of people trust online reviews as much as reviews from friends.

Dwight learns this when he starts his beet farm bed-and-breakfast. Luckily for him, Jim and Pam end up leaving him a great review on TripAdvisor after their weekend stay at Shrute Farms.

Your goal should always be to make sure that your clients are happy, and even businesses with happy clients don’t always have a bunch of online reviews.

We’ve found out that people are hesitant to ask for reviews, but you definitely should, especially after a client has expressed how happy they are what you’ve done for them!

Money – Season 4 Episode 7 & 8

Sure The Office is mostly jokes and fun, there are definitely some business lessons to actually be taken from it. What else do you have to add to this list?

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