Obama and Romney – Sales Advice

I learned two things about selling from this election cycle one came from Mitt Romney and the other form President Obama. This isn’t a political rant – this is a sales manager learning a valuable lesson about presentations and winning deals.

Remember if you will before the first debate, President Obama was far ahead in the polls. The political pundits were telling us that Romney had already been defined by his adversaries; the electorate had already made up its mind. Saturday Night Live had a skit about how the worst possible thing Obama could do to lose the election was to open his mouth. To make matters worse, Romney took significant chunks of time off from retail campaigning to prepare for the debates making him look even weaker.

Well that prep time was the best decision he could have made. Romney overcame two years of negative campaign ads in two hours. How? He realized there was one key moment to change the decision-makers mind and he put everything he had into that milestone.

The parallels are striking in a sales process. We have our own time to shine in an unfiltered environment when we demonstrate our service.  Realize, like Mitt Romney did, that if this is the largest deal you are ever going to sell – put everything aside to prepare for it.

President Obama taught me that no deal is closed until you have ensured that all of your votes are lined up. The last month of the campaign – both candidates had reason to believe that they were going to win the election. The national polls had both candidates at 50% a piece.  However, the election isn’t won on national polls – it is won in the Electoral College.

President Obama focused his get out the vote efforts in the eight states that were to decide the election – thus ignoring 42 states and their voters. He had a sophisticated get out the vote effort from people he knew were his supporters. In a tight sales process or election where there seems to be no advantage for one side over the other, sometimes the group that mobilizes its supporters with the right influence will be the group that wins.

From a sales perspective – we can acknowledge that all votes are not created equally. If we hone in on the people we know can influence the deal in our favor and simply drive our value proposition into their heads to the point of advocacy, then we can win an uneven share of 50/50 deals.


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