The Apex Predator explains Laws 41-48 from the 48 Laws of Power and how to leverage them in the business world.

Welcome back to my series on the 48 Laws of Power.  

To get up to speed, click here for Part 1, here for Part 2, here for Part 3, here for Part 4 and here for 5.  The rest of you, please prepare your minds and bodies for Laws 9-16 in the 48 Laws of Power.

The 48 Laws of Power in Sales: Part IV

In this 6 part series, I'm breaking down 48 Laws of Power and applying them to the sales context. Each installment will discuss 4 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 41. Avoid Stepping into a Great Man’s Shoes

Summary: What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. If you succeed a great man or have a famous parent, you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them. Do not get lost in their shadow, or stuck in a past not of your own making: Establish your own name and identity by changing course. Slay the overbearing father, disparage his legacy, and gain power by shining in your own way.

Apex's Thoughts: Stepping into a great man's shoes can mean one of two thing. 1) It could be following in the legacy of a legendary leader at a company. 2) It could be living up to the legend set forth by your familial predecessors. What combines the two? They both suck and should be avoided by external means (the former) and internal means (the latter). 

Law 42. Strike the Shepherd and the Sheep will Scatter   

Summary: Trouble can often be traced to a single strong individual – the stirrer, the arrogant underling, the poisoned of goodwill. If you allow such people room to operate, others will succumb to their influence. Do not wait for the troubles they cause to multiply, do not try to negotiate with them – they are irredeemable. Neutralize their influence by isolating or banishing them. Strike at the source of the trouble and the sheep will scatter. 

Apex's Thoughts: Poor Wes Mantooth. His weak laugh. His 2nd ranking news team. His dear sweet mother, Dorothy Mantooth. But most of all, his lncompetent flock. "You guys can't say one word!? Even the guy who can't think says something!"

Law 43. Work on the Hearts and Minds of Others 

Summary: ​Coercion creates a reaction that will eventually work against you. You must seduce others into wanting to move in your direction. A person you have seduced becomes your loyal pawn. And the way to seduce others is to operate on their individual psychologies and weaknesses. Soften up the resistant by working on their emotions, playing on what they hold dear and what they fear. Ignore the hearts and minds of others and they will grow to hate you. 

Apex's Thoughts: Just to show you that early 2000s comedies starring Vince Vaughan were the peak of cinema, here's a perfect clip from Wedding Crashers illustrating Law 43 in action. How do you get a Senator to invite you, a complete stranger, on his or her yacht? Show interest in sailing, stogies and the bill they just drafted. "A sailor!? A good man."

Law 44. Disarm and Infuriate with the Mirror Effect   

Summary: The mirror reflects reality, but it is also the perfect tool for deception: When you mirror your enemies, doing exactly as they do, they cannot figure out your strategy. The Mirror Effect mocks and humiliates them, making them overreact. By holding up a mirror to their psyches, you seduce them with the illusion that you share their values; by holding up a mirror to their actions, you teach them a lesson. Few can resist the power of Mirror Effect. 

Apex's Thoughts: How do you fight an arch-nemesis that does battle via conniving, underhanded bureacracy? By one-upping them at their own game. It's hard to mount an offensive when you're stuck searching for a s*itload of dimes. 

Law 45. Preach the Need for Change 

Summary: Everyone understands the need for change in the abstract, but on the day-to-day level people are creatures of habit. Too much innovation is traumatic, and will lead to revolt. If you are new to a position of power, or an outsider trying to build a power base, make a show of respecting the old way of doing things. If change is necessary, make it feel like a gentle improvement on the past. 

Apex's Thoughts: Forget the comedic clips and get serious, for a moment. If you're in sales and you have yet to see the documentary, Undefeated, go watch it now. It's a raw goddamned clinic on how to instill positive change and, you know, be a decent human being. 

Law 46. Never Appear Too Perfect     

Summary: Appearing better than others is always dangerous, but most dangerous of all is to appear to have no faults or weaknesses. Envy creates silent enemies. It is smart to occasionally display defects, and admit to harmless vices, in order to deflect envy and appear more human and approachable. Only gods and the dead can seem perfect with impunity. 

Apex's Thoughts: Remember that straight-edged, all-everything goody-two shoes from high school? Didn't you hate that person? Of course you did! Everyone did! Don't be that person! 

Law 47. Do Not Go Past the Mark You Aimed For     

Summary: The moment of victory is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you had aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat. Do not allow success to go to your head. There is no substitute for strategy and careful planning. Set a goal, and when you reach it, stop. 

Apex's Thoughts: Complacent people die quick deaths in sales. It's alright to take a brief moment to celebrate, as long as you return to the killing fields even hungrier and more focused than you were before you major accomplishment. 

Law 48. Assume Formlessness  

Summary: By taking a shape, by having a visible plan, you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemy to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move. Accept the fact that nothing is certain and no law is fixed. The best way to protect yourself is to be as fluid and formless as water; never bet on stability or lasting order. Everything changes. 

Apex's Thoughts: Never let them pin you down, kid. And good luck out there. It's a dangerous world.

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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