Those in opposition strongholds are the ones who’ve sworn never to buy from you.

Campaigns are in the air. Election Day draws nigh. Today, we buy what has been on sale for the better part of this year – promises of a better tomorrow. Yes, the election period is characteristic of a buyer (voter)-seller (politician) relationship. Here are three (sales) things we can learn from it-prospecting, presenting and closing

Strongholds and swing votes

Prospecting is the act of finding new buyers (prospects) for your product or service. Politicians globally have strongholds, swing votes and opposition strongholds. Strongholds are your diehard buyers. The political term is “locked-in” votes. These are the customers whom you will have to actively antagonize for them not to vote (buy) for you. They happily renew their insurance policies with you because you treated their debut claim with the ease of a sale.

Further, they are your advocate to anyone who claims, that they don’t pay claims. They will defend you in church, at the pub, football match, or garage; anywhere. Now then. Swing votes are the undecided buyers. Those whom you can still woo your way, or, maybe not. These are the ones who have two SIM cards and swear by the benefits of each.  So you have them on, say, mobile money transfer, but not on data and voice (calling).

Opposition strongholds

Next are those in opposition strongholds. These are the ones who’ve sworn never to buy from you. They are the hospital you’ve sworn never to return to because they once misdiagnosed your symptoms and drained you mentally, emotionally and financially for six months before realizing this. And it’s not they that did so- you did, when out of desperation you sought a second opinion. All these three sets of voters represent prospective buyers. Prospecting is the corner stone of successful campaigning and closing. Prospecting is visually represented in campaign headquarters as a map of Kenya respectively coloured, red (Jubilee), orange (NASA) and other colours.

Read: Lessons in selling from government mistruths, half-truths and lies

Different folks, different strokes

There is valid reason why the sales pitch (campaign) differs from territory to territory. Listen carefully as politicians campaign. The pitch to strongholds is markedly different from that of swing, or opposition strongholds. To the strongholds it is marshalling voter turnout. Not much time is spent on issues-just an urgent appeal to turn out in large numbers on election day to retain status quo;. To the swing territories the pitch is more aligned to issues. For instance, you will get this percentage of the income from your local natural resource or, ‘top-up by this Saturday and get 20MB data for free’. And the toughest of them all is the pitch to the opposition strongholds.

Selling to opposition strongholds

How do you woo back a patient you misdiagnosed? Or, a customer who’s been getting all their loan applications declined because you mistakenly listed them with a credit reference bureau? All is not lost though. The successful pitch here is largely an emotional appeal (we shall give ‘your person’ this seat); and in the commercial world an outright apology-and sometimes refunding monies or airtime mistakenly debited from the buyer. Selling to opposition strongholds is an exercise in sales recovery.

Finally, closing is the act of securing the sale (vote). We shall know in a few months how successful (or not) the respective political sellers will be at this.

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