Based in Sydney, Australia, the selling business is a blog by Tony hackett and His posts explore modern strategic selling research, methods and practices.

Are you an Account Manager Straight out of Central Casting?

One of my favorite podcasts is “99% Invisible” which is hosted by Roman Mars. An outstanding podcast whose Episode 185: Atmospherians introduced me to an interesting discussion on the role of central casting as a fulfilment channel for films of all types.

The podcast starts with the audio from this video clip from the first time President Barack Obama was about to fly on Air Force One for the first time and as he was about to board he met the Pilot and commented that he looked like he was straight out of central casting.

The story then goes on to talk about the other side of central casting which is to provide actors to support the main characters in a scene and to have a certain look which creates the target atmosphere, hence the name atmospherians.

This gave me a frame of reference for account managers and the teams they draw upon in prospecting and sales pursuits.

Account Managers and their Currency

So, are you an account manager out of central casting - before you answer, consider the following:

  • If yes, are you current or film noir?
  • If no, is it because of your currency i.e. you haven’t kept pace with the change in techniques and methods used by your prospects?

If the latter, consider your workplace or that our your prospect. What era is governing your behavior and equally what era is governing theirs. Once that is clear, you have a basis for adjustment. it might be as straightforward as developing your social media savvy through a only course from Udemy or Hootsuite.

The gap may also be in part or whole to the leadership team above you in the org chart.

If you are from central casting in 2017, then are your support team members from central casting in 2017. If not, does it matter? If it matters, who is responsible for driving he change?

They equally might find a Udemy or Hootsuite intervention will help your clients and their own careers.


Probably the bigger question is determining how many are fringe players providing atmosphere to your scene…and how many you need. If they are meant to be in the frame with a “talking part”, then your job is to tighten the choreography.

One way to achieve this is be very specific in roles and responsibilities. In this instance, I would use a mindmap to solidify the actions, owners and flow for a meeting — agree the script and publish. A spreadsheet will give you same capability and in many cases Excel or Google Sheets will be a more accessible tool.

Peak Performance

Depending on the importance of the business meeting, a high yield form of performance review is to video the rehearsal and playback. This isn’t meant to panic you or your team but it is a clinical and pragmatic means to an improved performance. It also allows your team to reach beyond the content and structure and uncover subtleties such as body language and voice inflections.

You can effect this step with your webcam and audio recorded by your smartphone - small investment with potentially huge returns.

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