If you’re in sales and haven’t been paying attention to what’s going on in the political arena, you’re missing a rare opportunity (once every four years, anyway). And if you have been paying attention, but don’t understand the opponents’ strategies, tactics, mistakes, wins, positioning, messaging, attempts to control the narrative, political alliances, allegiances, and all the rest, you’ve got some work to do in two areas of advanced selling: leveraging influence and politics within your customers’ accounts and devising and executing competitive strategies and tactics.
If you’ve been following this blog, you know that ESR pushes sales leaders (and sales training companies) on training and reinforcement around political and competitive selling. In fact, I spoke about these aspects of sales training at ASTD earlier this week. That was an audience mostly of corporate learning and development professionals.
I’ve been a student of political and competitive selling for years, having been influenced by Jim Holden, LaVon Koerner, Rick Page, and the old Target Account Selling content (now The TAS Group).
I became a political wonk back in 2000, consumed with the Bush/Gore election and, of course, the aftermath with hanging chads, etc. Now I can’t get enough of it. It really helps me understand ESR’s clients and once in a while, I’m in the position to assist in formulating the strategy behind large sales opportunities. Now there’s some personal capital I bring to the table. (As you know I did that for a living for a number of years.)
I’ve been reading a lot about politics recently, getting myself tuned up again for the election season. I’m now in the middle of the wonderful new book by Robert Caro, Passage of Power. It’s about Lyndon Johnson’s unexpected transition to the presidency in 1963. Before that I read Peter Bergen’s Manhunt: The Ten Year Search for bin Laden From 9/11 to Abbottabad. Another amazing read, however more on strategy than politics. I’ve read a lot of other non-fiction books on politics as well.
Here’s my point: Don’t miss this opportunity. If you can keep the emotion out of your analysis of what’s going on, you’ll learn a lot.
Should I put up a LinkedIn discussion group on this?
I’m thinking about putting up a LinkedIn discussion board on the political and competitive selling aspects of the 2012 presidential race. No one has done that as of one minute ago. Understand, it would not be a place to offer opinions on one candidate or another, but rather a place to discuss the political and competitive aspects of the battle for the White House. It would take a fair amount of time on my part, but it could be fun. Anyone interested? Either send me an email or comment on this post confirming that you’ll contribute to the discussion at least three times if we go forward with this.
In the meantime, watch MSNBC and Fox. Read the NY Times and the Wall Street Journal. Pay attention and you’ll never look at a tough, competitive, politically-charged sales campaign the same way again.
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