One of the greatest sales cycles of all time is currently being played out right now, on center stage, for the world to observe. The United States 2016 presidential race has begun! As media coverage heats up, this campaign of more than 18 months affords those of us in the sales profession a chance to see and observe what works and what doesn’t in this most public of contests.
The easiest day of a presidential campaign is the day when he/she announces the bid. It’s downhill from there; the hardest decisions concerning both strategy and tactics are made at the beginning, not the end. Now is when the die is cast! The actions taken and the messaging proclaimed now will constitute irreversible acts.
It’s most important to get out of the gate strong and hit your stride as early as possible. Here are three essentials every salesperson needs for a strong start to his or her sales campaign:
Grab, set, and maintain the dialog.
You want to establish the content of the discussions in your meetings with executives and decision makers. In doing so, you are embedding the buying criteria and setting up others to talk about your stuff. If your vision becomes the talk of the town and resonates with the voters, you are off to a very good start. If they buy the vision, they will buy the visionary behind it; therefore, don’t sell the visionary but always sell the vision!
Define yourself before the competition defines you and define your competitors before they define themselves.
First impressions set in quickly and are very difficult to change later. If the competition defines you before you define yourself, you will be pigeonholed and forced to play defense. If you define both yourself and the competition, however, your competitors will be the ones in a hole and having to spend their energy playing defense while you are playing offense. This allows you to gain more ground and secure your competitive advantage.
Establish your win theme.
What is the one memorable line by which your sales campaign will be known? What both differentiates and distinguishes you from all the other competitors? Pick something catchy that could be plastered on bumper stickers or displayed on billboards. Make sure it resonates with the masses and that people instantly understand it. Think about President Obama’s 2008 campaign slogans: “Hope” and “Change We Can Believe In.”
The candidates that get these three things right out of the gate will have competitive advantage. While the race may be long, and there may be plenty of opportunities to make mistakes, make sure the race is yours to lose by starting off strong.