The petition was lodged on Monday. The loser in the just concluded Kenyan Presidential elections went to the Supreme Court seeking a nullification of the results. Will the Court rule in his favour? We shall know in 12 days or so. Irrespective though, political analysts and intellectuals are offering insights into how, against all odds, Dr. William Ruto won. Whether, we have a re-run or not, here are three infallible lessons the experts have shared,, and are relevant to selling, starting with, crowds are not votes.

Crowds are not votes

I heard this one from political analyst Dr. Barrack Muluka. Crowds are not votes.  And yes, others have tweeted about it, complete with images showing multitudes in stadia at Azimio la Umoja rallies, and scattered crowds, Kenya Kwanza’s. As one tweep aptly quipped, ‘Those (stadia) are not polling stations’. Indeed, crowds are not votes; nor are they necessarily voters. Simply because they are there doesn’t mean they have a voter’s card, for instance. When selling, simply because you have been given a database you can sell to, or have unending queries by potential buyers, or, have 1,000 leads from a sales campaign you held, doesn’t mean you are leader of pack. Even if they excitedly respond to your weekly newsletters, attend your presentations en masse, or that they follow you in the thousands on Twitter, doesn’t make them sales. Just crowds.   

And this can be for many reasons. “I will give you a huge crowd but not my vote,” so one youth was quoted by a newspaper as saying. For her jobless self, attendance was a job, not political alignment. Pay me, and I’ll attend. In selling, it could be they like your content, or you are trending and they need to belong so follow you, but either way, they aren’t taking the bait. When selling, do not be blinded by size of crowds, focus on converting them to votes, sorry sales. (Social media influencers do this successfully, for instance). And don’t abscond that role. It remains your responsibility.

crowds are not votes

The sale is your responsibility; don’t abscond it

Own your influence. Azimio has been blamed by several pontificating political pundits, as depending, indeed assuming, that because they have the incumbent, and therefore government machinery (so called, ‘system’) on their side, the win was assured. Yet, as Sunday Nation columnist (Gitau Warigi) stated, “Dare I say also that you, Mr President, failed Raila Odinga? When you picked him as your preferred successor, you promised you would campaign for him wholeheartedly, in every village and street… Unfortunately it was only in the waning days towards this latest election when you roused yourself from seclusion. You did a few tours which you did not even want to portray as campaign swings. You were commissioning development projects, you said. It was evident your heart was not in campaigning. Even the scattered crowds you attracted could tell.”

Meanwhile, as Daily Nation columnist John Kamau stated, “Having been side-lined from the Presidency,…for five years, (fallen Ruto) had all the time to rise and make lemonade out of lemons.”  And he really went to town with it. For 5 years, he was vocally and energetically front and centre in his campaign, alive to the fact that crowds are not votes, complete with bright yellow colours you couldn’t miss. His is a case study in sales recovery. He unashamedly owned his sale. So should you. Especially if you are in B2B selling, where you depend on a back office to complete the sale.

Know your customer. Crowds are not vote(r)s.

Professor Peter Kagwanja, a political adviser, reform strategist and policy thinker on governance, security and African affairs, in an interview with journalist Eric Latiff on Spice FM said, and I paraphrase. “Unlike for BBI which we (Kikuyu) had declined until he came to sell to us, Uhuru did not come to us (Mt. Kenya kingpins) to sell Raila; we were also wondering what happened to the Ruto we had agreed we would support?” A problem well defined is a problem half solved. Uhuru and Azimio presented Ruto as the problem to a swing vote Mt. Kenya that had defined Uhuru, not Ruto, as the problem; hence talk of a protest vote.  Further, as (Uhuru’s) Jubilee Party’s Secretary General and former Ndaragwa MP admitted on KTN, “We must accept that we also underestimated the extent to which our people had been taken hold of by UDA… Credit to William (Ruto).”

In business, you fail when customers leave you or you leave your customers. Know your customer is a cornerstone for successful banking because of the risk of fraud. However, KYC, is intrinsic for successful selling too. Not just to being ethical, but to remain relevant to your customers.

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