This is about as closest that we’re ever going to get to politics in this blog*, but it’s worth considering if there are any sales and marketing lessons to be learned from the recent election campaign. The surprise result suggests that one side got things very right on the day: but what did they do so well?
On the surface, it might seem like the eventual victor’s strategy was to spend a long time relentlessly drawing attention to any perceived incompetence in the competitor. Whenever the competitor tried to show that it was better than people thought, it was against a background of extreme skepticism.
However, this was part of a wider strategy which will be familiar to many good salespeople. The idea is to define all the options open to the customer, cover all of them, and to provide the information which then makes it hard for the customer to decide on anything else. So, the eventual victor didn’t just say: “Mine is the best option, now come with me”, and hope to drag along a reluctant customer. This is the equivalent of printing a brochure and expecting sales to come flying in through the window.
Instead, the eventual victor realised that customers have a choice between its solution, an opposing solution, and doing nothing. It tackled all three, and left the customer to decide, knowing that if it had done its job well, the sale would close itself.
And that’s exactly what happened. Forget about the polls being wrong. I’m not sure they were. On the day, many customers who were inclined towards the opposing solution decided to do nothing. The competition missed out. But for the customers who were inclined towards the eventual victor, doing nothing was not an option. They rushed towards what they perceived to be the safe solution, and sales were maximised.
Was the competition lazy? I don’t think so. But I do believe it failed to thoroughly analyse the options open to its prospects.
*Except of course a big hello to the blog reader I met in the early hours of the morning at the South Cambridgeshire constituency count!