In case you missed my article last week outlining sales lessons from Donald Trump, let me assure you I am not endorsing any candidates on my blog or even agreeing or disagreeing with their politics. I believe that every man is my teacher. So when a democratic socialist is competitive with a Clinton in American politics, I think we would all be well advised to figure out what he is doing and try to find some lessons we can apply to our sales process.
Did you read the 5 Sales Lessons from Donald Trump for President? CLICK HERE to read the article.
Make no mistake, Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are sales superstars. They have closed millions of people on the idea of a candidacy that amounts to selling ice in the Arctic! Let’s look at Bernie Sanders today, ask ourselves how he has been so successful in 2016, and find five lessons we can apply to our own sales process.
Lesson #1 – Give the people what they want. Who doesn’t want free college? Who doesn’t want wealthy billionaires to pay their fair share? Now again, this is not a political or policy discussion. The point is that Bernie Sanders understands what his target market wants, and he has created a value proposition to provide what they want. Rather than spend your time deciding how to create a desire in your prospects for your product, to start by asking what your target market wants would be much more sensible. Then find a way to provide that solution to them.
Lesson #2 – Remember that the referral sale is the strongest sale. Bernie Sanders has risen in the polls primarily through the social media engagement of his fans using hashtags like #FeelTheBern rather than because of traditional campaigning. Are your clients excited enough about you to talk about their experience? You already spend so much time and money making a sale. Why not spend an extra $10 on a Starbucks gift card? Or send a hand written thank you note, birthday card, or some other special favor that will make you stand out and make your customers more passionate about their experience with you.
Lesson #3 – Focus on a positive message rather than attacking the competition. One thing I love about success is that there are many ways to achieve it. In the post about Donald Trump, we learned the art of attacking the competition without becoming unprofessional (politics and sales are not exactly the same thing!) In Bernie Sanders we see a candidate who knows exactly what matters to his target market and is relentlessly focused on it. If there was ever a candidate who could be attacked, it is Hillary Clinton. Yet, given the chance, Bernie always talks about income inequality, free college tuition, universal health care, and other topics that establish his personal brand. What are the issues that matter to small business owners in your market? Does your presentation focus on these?
Lesson #4 – Differentiate from the “everyone else.” Just as was the case with Donald Trump, when American politicians heard that Bernie was running for president, there was a collective chuckle. How could a “democratic socialist” run for president in the U.S.? Sometimes you need a little shock and awe to get the attention of your target market. When people heard that a socialist was running for president, they wanted to know more. This gave Bernie the chance to explain what a democratic socialist is. Again, this is not a political discussion. The point is that Bernie made sure he stood out from everyone else. What is different about you and your personal brand? Are you just another sales rep? You need to think of a way to introduce yourself to business owners that they are not expecting – something that grabs their attention and begs an explanation.
Lesson #5 – Don’t ever give up; you never know when opportunity will come knocking. How many Americans even knew who Bernie Sanders was 12 months ago? He was a nobody: the fringe of the left and the scorn of the right. Now his ideas are having a big impact on the political discussion in America. He is making a serious challenge to Hillary Clinton who had virtually unanimous support from her party.
Maybe you have tried to leave your W2 job in the past but things didn’t work out. Keep your eyes open. Opportunity will come knocking again and don’t be afraid to jump out and make it happen!
Have a great day in the field!
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