It’s official we are now in the full throws of a general election campaign. So, what do the politicians need to achieve? Well, they need to win our votes, so they need to start selling themselves and explaining why we should vote for them.
In the last general election, of those eligible to vote only 65.1% did (Source BBC News), which makes you wonder why the rest of the population didn’t. Perhaps the low turnout is in part down to the politicians being unable to sell themselves sufficiently to us.
Over the next few weeks you would hope that potential candidates will be looking at and applying some of the key elements of selling. Here’s a few things they may want to consider before meeting us: the prospect, potential customer and potential constituent.
Building Trust – We talk a lot about trust here at NRT. It’s key. One of the elements is credibility. So will our potential MP’s be proving their credibility? Will they be assuring us that by voting for them that it will be worthwhile? How about baffling us with statistics and spin; that often works, doesn’t it? No! Using jargon and making us, the customer, feel uncomfortable isn’t a clever move. Use our language and communicate clearly with us that will help with building trust.
Thinking like their customers – We are the customers of the politicians, so will they be thinking like us, thinking about what our needs are? Importantly, will they be asking us what our needs and wants are as a customer? Will they be listening to what we have to say before jumping in with an answer that may not necessarily be what we are looking for?
Handling the competition – One of the first rules in business is that you should never dismiss the competition. Odd how when you hear politicians talk it’s often, “well in the last government blah, blah blah said this and blah blah blah did that”, or the leader of the opposition said “blah, blah blah, and did blah, blah blah”. Wouldn’t it help with building trust by saying what you did, how it helped and even what you are going to do and how that might be beneficial? You absolutely need to recognise your competition, know their strengths and weaknesses, instead of rubbishing them. Asking us, the customer, what we think they do well and what not so well; that would be a good starting point.
Communication skills – Instead of being spoken to, wouldn’t it be good if we were asked stuff? How about, what do we want to see happen in business and education for example? Then, after we have asked you a question, some solid listening skills (so you understand what we are asking and you don’t fall in to the trap of answering a question that you thought was asked or would prefer to answer).
Maybe we’re being naïve or it’s wishful thinking, but we see these basic principles of sales as useful pointers for our electoral candidates whatever your political persuasions.