Having just run for a seat on my town council, campaigning for two solid months, and having not only won but having received the most votes of anyone in my district, including two popular incumbents, I can tell you that the metaphors for campaigning and sales wrote themselves.
Campaigning and selling are very similar y’all.
A few months ago, I wrote this piece on the know/like/trust funnel.
Because the truth is: no one is going to vote for you if they do not know you, like you, and trust you. (Or at least they must have some inkling that your platform lines up with their beliefs and values, which is why so many people just vote for the “ROW” of the candidates from their typical chosen party.)
But I digress. My real point is this: What if you treated your job as a salesperson for your company as if you were running for office?
Because what you are REALLY asking someone to do, when you are asking them to enter into a business relationship with you is to trust you. And trust does not just happen. It must be defined, built, and maintained.
Just like a reputation as an elected official.
So, here are some things that you can take note of, as you attempt to get more companies to “vote” for you and your company.
I hope you WIN!
1. Routine is everything. Even on election day, the bed gets made. This is about the process. Have a step-by-step plan on how you are going to engage with your prospects and show up every day to execute. But this is also about knowing what winning looks like. I knew exactly how many votes I needed to get to win. I knew which houses to go to. I knew their affiliations and their age. So, I had something to talk about. This brings me to my next point….
2. Know your platform inside and out. Why was I running? What do I believe in? What do I plan to accomplish? These were questions I got over and over at doors. And I knew exactly what I was going to say. The same goes for you. What matters to you and your company? What makes you different? Why should a company that does not know you trust you? Until you can answer those questions convincingly and authentically, please do not knock on the door.
3. Do not overdo it. I never intended to become best friends with a stranger after a ninety-second conversation at his/her door. In most cases, the one-call close is dead. Having realistic expectations and goals for any type of conversation is crucial to your candidacy. Take it slow. Your goal should be to get to know each other over multiple interactions. And some of those interactions are not interactions at all. They may be someone consuming something you shared on LinkedIn, or a cool project you put up on Instagram. It all matters. Pace yourself. Go gently. No one wants a hard sell today.
4. People CAN be flipped. Just because someone has voted a certain way his or her whole life does not mean they are not open to change. Many people told me on the trail that they vote for the person, not the party. And that sure was evident when I saw the results. Many people outside my party voted for me. They knew me, they trusted me, and the platform and the person were bigger than the party. The same thing goes for you. Just because the incumbent vendor has had the business for a decade does not mean that you can’t win it. Persistence, fierce determination, and execution on the process can win you business you never thought you would get.
5. You must give them a reason. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. WHY YOU? Make sure you can articulate how you are different, what you can and will do for people, and why you are the safe bet. Well, maybe not safe, but dependable, creative, and ready to challenge the status quo.
I may have started as a reluctant candidate, but now that I have been elected, I feel an immense responsibility to work hard, inform myself, and make decisions that I know are best for my community. When you ask a prospect to “vote” for you, you are doing the same thing. In all your communications, you seek to assure people that a decision to collaborate with you is the right decision.
Best of luck to you – I hope you turn your campaign into success for you and your company!
As a sales and marketing coach and consultant at Success In Print, and Girl #2 at #GirlsWhoPrint, Kelly Mallozzi advocates for graphic arts companies to keep fighting to keep print relevant. She may be irreverent, but what she lacks in convention, she makes up for in smart-assery.
Kelly is a regular co-host on the #GirlsWhoPrint Podcast along with Deborah Corn. She is also a mentor to several future sales stars. Check out her book, co-authored by Bill Farquharson: Who’s Making Money at Digital/Inkjet Printing…and How. Kelly also occasionally guest blogs at Printing Impressions and you can see her most recent posts here.