Bye Bye 2017, Hello 2018-The Sales Pitch In Review

It’s so close, you can sniff it. The year 2017 ends this Sunday. It’s been a tough business year. But, such is business a client reminded me. If you do not have ups and downs and instead a perpetual climbing incline, you may not be able to weather the drop when it happens. You will be so high up you will come crashing down like a drop off a cliff must feel like.  Like the drop Postal Corporation of Kenya (Posta) must have felt when the ground beneath them made a tectonic shift seemingly overnight. This was our opening article this year. But the tectonic shift wasn’t overnight- it had been cumulatively building for over a decade, but Posta was so high up they didn’t see the email and private courier disruption coming. Their sales continue to suffer as a result.  Just as do those of Unclaimed Financial Assets Authority (UFAA). We observed here in August that an institution’s processes (UFAA, in this case) could themselves be impeding a sale. We asked UFAA to review the frustrating claims processes especially for small amounts.

It is a relief that the education system is finally being revamped. Because, as we said here, in a letter to all students in January, “You’ve been sold to a bill of goods.” You’ve been lied to. Passing or failing an exam is an event, not the destination in life. You see, education is for life, not examination. And life is in your face like Wi-Fi. You ‘lived’ in school for twelve years but you will dwell in life for seventy. “You don’t need an A to get on with your life. Once you get over 50 per cent, you can do anything including medicine,” says the immediate past Vice-Chancellor of University of Nairobi and current Chairman of Kenya National Examination Council, Prof. George Magoha. It’s unfortunate that some parents pressure their children to believe otherwise and sadly sometimes this has led to suicide.

Politics was equally in our face like Wi-Fi this year. And as exasperating as it got, there were lessons to learn. There was the IT expert who reminded us of the importance of eliminating jargon when selling to lay people. He simplified the claim of IEBC servers being hacked into by equating it to the report you would get after several failed attempts of signing into your email. From politicians we learnt the importance of adapting our presentation to the audience. In captive territories (existing clients) we assure; in opposition strongholds (new prospects) we promise. In commercial selling however, you ensure you keep your promises.

And finally there was the hawker who reminded us in July that despite all the political tension it still matters how you open the sale. “Mtawapelekea nini?”she asked us. And with those two words she had nailed a most effective opening by playing on our pain point (guilt) of not buying a gift. (What are you buying them? (Your wives)). We bought.

Thank you for your custom in 2017. I wish you a prosperous 2018.

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