In the 6th installment of his monthly series, the Apex Predator breaks down the first 8 Laws of Power, and how they apply to you as a sales professional.

Welcome back friends. Today, I'm here to discuss a very important document with you, called The 48 Laws of Power

If you enjoy being powerless, having zero influence and commanding zero respect at work and amongst your family and friends, read no further. (Also: See a therapist).

On the other hand, if you're looking to bolster your influence, become a Big Shot and make people obsess over making you happy, well, you've come to the right place. 

The 48 Laws of Power in Sales: Part I

Over the next 6 installments of my series, I'll be breaking down 48 Laws of Power and applying them to the sales context. Each installment will discuss 8 Laws of Power.

So what is The 48 Laws of Power? Published in 1998, it's a Best-Selling book by author Robert Greene. Greene wrote the book based on his own experiences as a Hollywood screenwriter, upon realizing that today's power elite share the same traits as powerful figures throughout history.

For the purposes of this post, we're applying each law in the sales context. If you lead a sales team, have them read this at all costs.

Law 1. Never outshine the Master.

Summary: Always make those above you feel comfortably superior. In your desire to please or impress them, do not go too far in displaying your talents or you might accomplish the opposite – inspire fear and insecurity. Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power. 

Outshine the Master

Apex's Thoughts: How does management fear and insecurity actualize? Your higher-ups turning on you Tyler Durden style and beating your once-beautiful advancement potential into a grotesque, confidence shattering mess. The master could be a supervisor, or a decision-maker you are trying to close who has a higher rank than you. The most important line here is the last line: "Make your masters appear more brilliant than they are and you will attain the heights of power." In sales, this will bode very well for you.

Law 2. Never put too much trust in friends. Learn how to use enemies.

Summary: If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.


Apex's Thoughts: Unless you're like me, and you put each potential new friend through a three-day multi-part test that includes multiple choice scan-tron, a ropes course and "Apex Trivia," you haven't vetted your friends enough to actually trust them. Drake? Tons of enemies. Read this Chuck Klosterman piece, entitled, "The Importance of Being Hated." It breaks down clearly how useless friends are in compared to a well-chosen nemesis and arch-enemy.

Law 3. Conceal your intentions.

Summary: No need to quote Greene's elaboration here. Law 3 is a no-brainer for sales. If the underlying signals in your prospect outreach say: "I'm desperately behind quota." Or: "You seem gullible enough to buy this set of buzzwords." Or: "Give me the money, f*ckface." You're dead in the water.


Apex's Thoughts: Everyone knows that sales professionals are paid to close deals and generate revenue, above all else. There is only one way to conceal that intention, and it's with a genuine intention to help your prospect solve their biggest problems and achieve major goals

Law 4. Always say less than necessary.

Summary: When you are trying to impress people with words, the more you say, the more common you appear, and the less in control. Even if you are saying something banal, it will seem original if you make it vague, open-ended, and sphinxlike. Powerful people impress and intimidate by saying less. The more you say, the more likely you are to say something foolish.

Apex's Thoughts: Remember this scene from Forgetting Sarah Marshall. Same principle. If you want to ride the wave of success, say less. Listen more. Basically, stop babbling on endlessly like a village idiot when you get nervous. You know who you are. People who say less are more mysterious, have conversations that make the other participants feel more in control and have a higher measure of control than those who say more than is necessary. 

Law 5. So much depends on reputation. Guard it with your life.

Summary: Reputation is the cornerstone of power. Through reputation alone you can intimidate and win. Once you slip, however, you are vulnerable, and will be attacked on all sides. Make your reputation unassailable. Always be alert to potential attacks and thwart them before they happen. Learn to destroy your enemies by opening holes in their own reputations. Then stand aside and let public opinion hang them. 

Apex's Thoughts: Does your company, product or personal reputation suck? If you're unsure, here's some clarity: Yes, it definitely sucks. But it's okay, because it's never too late to rebuild your image. And it's always a good time to make your competitors' reputations suck more. In the sales context, this is where the relationship between client success and sales becomes pivotal. If you work for a SaaS company, check out this post from our friends at Chargify, which highlights how Customer Success aligns with sales and marketing.

Law 6. Court attention at all costs. 

Summary: Everything is judged by its appearance; what is unseen counts for nothing. Never let yourself get lost in the crowd, then, or buried in oblivion. Stand out. Be conspicuous, at all cost. Make yourself a magnet of attention by appearing larger, more colorful, more mysterious, than the bland and timid masses.

Apex's Thoughts: Everyone is trying to be so nice and polite nowadays in sales, it makes me sick. Do you realize how many emails I get each day that open with messages like, "I'm sorry to trouble you again...?" Literally, these sad sacks of Business Development Bulls*** have been better off just writing, "Don't read me." Full stop. If you're bland and timid, get the f*ck out of sales.

Law 7. Get others to do the work, but always take the credit. 

Summary: Use the wisdom, knowledge, and legwork of other people to further your own cause. Not only will such assistance save you valuable time and energy, it will give you a godlike aura of efficiency and speed. In the end your helpers will be forgotten and you will be remembered. Never do yourself what others can do for you.

Apex's Thoughts: Step 1: Think back to Law 5. Step 2: Apply it to Law 7.  In the sales context, Law 7 means: Get your happiest clients to help refer you to new customers, or, help you close deals. However you apply this in your sales organization, incentivizing satisfied clients to help you close new deals is a great practice. Then, you'll be successfully accomplishing Law 7.

Law 8. Make other people come to you, Use bait if necessary, 

Summary: When you force the other person to act, you are the one in control. It is always better to make your opponent come to you, abandoning his own plans in the process. Lure him with fabulous gains, then attack. You hold the cards.

bait sales

Apex's Thoughts: I like to think of Law 8 in the context of inbound lead generation, replacing 'opponent' with 'client'. Again, use referrals. The numbers are pretty clear on this: Your client referrals are always going to close a lot faster (and just close, in general) than your cold call prospects. And the use of "Bait" speaks for itself. Do I really have to explain this one any further to you? I think not. See you for Part II.

Read Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 and Part 6.

Read More from the Apex Predator

The Apex Predator writes regularly for Ambition. He has a contractual obligation to recommend scheduling a demo to see Ambition's sales management platform. Read his previous articles below.

  1. Sales Motivation from the Apex Predator
  2. More Sales Motivation from the Apex Predator
  3. Sales Rescue with the Apex Predator
  4. The Return of the Apex Predator
  5. The Apex Predator's 5 Essential Sales Articles
  6. Sales Mailbag with the Apex Predator
  7. 15 Real Songs to Pump Up Your Sales Reps
  8. Why You're Losing the War for Talent
  9. The 50 Worst Things Happening in Sales Right Now
  10. The Apex Predator Explains the Laws of Power

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