There are many lessons in prospecting from political campaigning, but I will confine myself to three. First though, prospecting is the never ending quest for qualified people to buy what you are selling. In the case of the politician, it’s seeking your vote. And for the politician, a classic case of prospecting in personal selling, that’s anyone with a voter’s card. Now, then. You really must admire the lengths politicians will go to, to be in your face. That’s their way of prospecting for votes.
3 lessons in prospecting from political campaigning
- Use the tried and tested
- Be creative
- Go all out
Use the tried and tested
If it’s working, use it. Splashing posters across any wall is illegal in Kenya, but somehow, not so during the campaign period. It is clutter, it is litter and it is defacing beauty. But it is tried and it is tested and it works. You may not realise it, but if you have not decided who you will vote for on August 9th, 2022, Kenya’s election date, very likely it will be the fellow whose image you pass by every day to and from work. That image (several of them actually) plastered across the wall written NO POSTERS HERE-FINES, Ksh. 50,000.
That image is burned in your subconscious and, bereft of an alternative, you may just find yourself marking X against that fellow’s face. Yes, face. You likely remember that more than you do the name. You see, product superiority is not sales superiority. It’s not the most issued based contender that wins, but the one that markets himself most effectively. It’s not the best product that customers buy, but that which is in their face at the time of need. And this, is importance of marketing yourself as a sales person, ethically.
Be creative. Lessons 2 in prospecting from political campaigning
I’ve had posters shoved in my face while passing a crowded place, with the multitude of youth atop a truck shouting that contender’s name. “Pigia (name withheld) kura.” (Vote for….). This is said while looking at you and pointing the poster. I’ve heard honking and hooting vehicles pass me in the streets again blaring the same message, in Kiswahili. In rural Kenya that message is blared out in that area’s vernacular. No one uses English except perhaps on national TV and social media. I’ve heard songs specifically written or corrupted for a specific candidate.
You may remember Ben Githae’s , now defunct, ‘Uhuru Ruto, Tano Tena.’ Away from politics creative ways to reach prospects can be found. There are many methods of prospecting is sales. For example, the newspaper vendor that stands on a road bump knowing you must slow down. Or, the tea selling FMCG sales trained person who parks his branded van at funerals in his area, and serves tea to the grieving. For free.
Go all out
The Kenyan politician is shameless. He will find a gathering in his home area and stop to enquire what is going on. “It’s a funeral Sir.” Who died?, he will ask. “Name Withheld, Sir”. Immediately, the politician will find his way to the podium and start addressing the crowd, and shamelessly lie, stating, “”Name Withheld, was a friend of mine. This man you see lying here…” At which point the MC quickly rushes to him and whispers in his ear, “Sir, it’s a woman not a man…” I kid you not, that is a true story.
Ridiculous as it sounds, that is the extent to which politicians go all out in their continual prospecting efforts. And that is the last lesson in prospecting from political campaigning I’d like to share. What about you? How committed are you to your prospecting? A client shared how their sales people are required to spend 60% of their time prospecting. How do spend your sales time?
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