What Lessons Presidential Debate Could Teach On Sales

What Lessons Presidential Debate Could Teach On SalesPresidential town-hall debate was a great event where presidential candidates got to interact with undecided voters and addressed their concerns. It is similar to a perfect template where brands interact with undecided buyers. Brands get enough opportunity to explain their position and convince buyers to convert. I know, it is too good to be true for most of us, but certainly it has some key lessons that we all could pick for strengthening our selling skills. Not many of us have gotten an opportunity to meet the undecided in a conference room with the competitor and address their concerns. But we have gotten the better of it where we get to meet with one undecided after the other. We have to persistently address each buyer’s concern and keep on closing.

Selling has evolved from its past roots. It is no more a process of hackling buyer and pushing them to buy, but instead an art of helping buyers find the right product and seeing success through it.
Success from persuasive selling is pretty much dead, but this art is still practiced at large, costing companies billions in unconverted opportunities. So, we should also upgrade our skills and align our salesmanship with current buying trends.

Certain key lessons picked from presidential town-hall debate that could help aspiring salesman improve their skills:

Not sell, but help buyers:
One key area that was have seen in a presidential debate was that both the presidents were engaged in hackling voters by same pitch over and over. Whatever the question was, it almost met with the same answer. This might not be an ideal scenario for converting a buyer. So, it’s extremely important to address the concerns first and once convinced, rest of the sales pitch could follow. Every effort should be made to not sell, but help buyers by addressing their concerns first.

Follow up, follow through:
One more takeaway from the debate was that whenever any undecided voter asked a question, he met with a reply that was perceived as an answer by presidential candidates but was not verified as expected answer from voter. It might not have been the expected answer but that is all what they got. Ideal sales should include answer via follow-up and follow through template. A good salesman should always make sure if reply is helping buyer in addressing his concern. This unlocks buyers thinking, helping them by understanding how the product could fit in. On the other side, it greatly helps salesman in mastering the art of selling by helping buyers buy a successful product.

Always close suitably:
No, I am not referring to ABC of sales, but closing remarks. One issue with this debate was unfinished responses. Untimed responses often pushed candidates over their permissible time limit and they ended up with unfinished responses. There is nothing more frustrating than witnessing no respect for buyer’s time and leaving them hanging. Every question should meet its answer. A good salesman should always make sure to respect time, get to the questions quickly, address it in a crisp and simplified manner and if they have more time left, use it to communicate a sales pitch. This will help build trust, unlock buyer’s dilemma and help them understand the product better.

Clearly differentiate from competition:
This is something we saw happening quite often in the debate. Both candidates fared well. Infact they both were overdoing it but considering the gravity of the situation, it was justified. In almost every response, both candidates made sure to explain why and how their candidacy is different from the other. Both candidates were busy in casting an image of their candidacy. This differentiation will ultimately help voters in figuring out which side they want to attach to and which side to avoid. Similarly, a good salesman should clearly explain the differentiation for their brand with respect to their competition. This is an essential step which will help buyer in understanding core competency of the brand and how that competency could help buyers with their needs.

Show empathy:
One more trait that was clearly visible in the debate was empathy.
Each candidate showed concern for each of voter’s question. They acted on the question, showed how they are concerned and got to how they will fix the problem. This helps candidates in creating an emotional connection with the voter, thereby building trust. It is important to build a relationship with buyer before making a sale. So, a salesman should be empathetic to buyers. A good salesman should make sure to appear empathetic and build a bond with buyer before getting into the selling game.

Come crisp, clean and confident:
Appearance, body language and posture play an important indirect role in sales cycle. In debate, both presidential candidate were dressed for success, and appeared confident about the situation. This helped voters in opening up to them and building trust. Confused, badly dressed candidate would have lost credibility instantly. So, both candidates faired pretty well. Similarly, salesman should also be dressed for success, rehearse well and have all the confidence in the world. This helps buyers in connecting with salesman without worrying about their credibility or capability. This makes selling process a lot more trustworthy.

Create an experience:
Last but not least is ability of both the candidates to help voters visualize presidency under them and opposition. It is very important for candidates to build a vision and experience. That will help voters understand presidency better. Voters could use this knowledge to see themselves and image how the presidency could be beneficial to them. Similarly, it is important for a good salesman to build that experience in buyer’s mind. This helps buyers in imagining how the product could be used in their success.

Appreciate your suggestion, critic or comment below.


Vishal is the Founder and CEO of Cognizeus.He is passionate about BigData, Analytics, Automation, Marketing and Lean methodologies. He cowrote a book on "Data Driven Innovation : A Primer"

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Vishal Kumar 143 posts

Vishal is the Founder and CEO of Cognizeus. He is passionate about BigData, Analytics, Automation, Marketing and Lean methodologies. He cowrote a book on "Data Driven Innovation : A Primer"

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