If you don’t know who Don Draper is, you need to go and watch Mad Men – I just got the box set and am currently making my way through season 2. Don’s done alright for himself over the past season and a half, going from creative director on $30,000 a year to becoming a partner with a 12% share of the company. Not bad for a 36 year old that sits behind his desk sipping whiskey, coming up with one liners all day, all the while charming his bosses, wining and dining his clients and winning business.
And that’s why Don Draper would make it in broking.
He has the three fundamental characteristics of a broker: charm, creativity and a a very efficient liver.
In broking, you need to play both naughty and nice, sweet talking your clients and underwriters, but then being able to turn it on when around the negotiation table, keeping a smile on your face, whilst playing hardball for your client. Draper is charm personified and could sweet talk anyone around to his way of thinking.
Other than being a people person, you need to have a creative edge to solve your clients’ problems in innovative ways. The world is always moving and the problems only ever get more complex, so your solutions have always have to be evolving. Whether that’s putting your faith in someone others wouldn’t, like Peggy Olson who’s got her finger on the pulse, or hunting out the solutions for yourself, clients will only ever come to you when they can’t solve their own problems, so you need to provide them with the answers.
The last thing that brokers need and Don has in abundance – a liberal attitude towards whiskey. In broking, winning business and growing your accounts gets you up the ladder, and wining and dining your clients and potential clients is part of the day job. Get noticed as an account winner and you could have an office the size of Drapers’ in no time.
Get noticed as a charming, creative account winner and you could be the guy telling your underlings to take their shoes off at your office door.