Listening intently to the US election vote-count coverage, one thing was abundantly clear. Metropolitan liberal elites were having kittens.
The shock displayed by the parade of indignant Establishment politicians, analysts and commentators felt as misguided as it was imbalanced. And that’s from someone who didn’t have a dog in the fight. Watching as I did objectively on from afar, fairly ambivalent from the off.
Mind you, isn’t everybody – winners and losers alike – stunned?
Whichever side you’re on, I’m sure any seller couldn’t help but contemplate what such a seismic outcome may have on solution selling. Here’s a hopefully lucky seven that instantly occurred to me.
1 Change Can Win
Remember when the current White House occupant won? The 44th commander-in-chief’s rhetoric was all about change. It worked wonders for him. Hopeium.
By default his preferred successor did not have the same theme open to her. She was doomed to follow the legacy line. Carry On President. It failed miserably for her.
The President-elect on the other hand went bigly on his change message. And it clearly cut-through from all other chatter. From any locker room banter to indictment to [insert your own baffling/elating electoral pillar].
Continuity v Change. Stay the same aka Backwards v Forwards. The Unloved But Known v The Shake Up Unknown.
New Business nearly always pitches change. Account Managers seeking constant streams of reordering often do too. Aiming to replace a large enough, endured enough and despised enough current situation can be the real winner.
How does your resolution stack up on these?
2 Stability Sucks
I’ve blogged on this before. Usually each year I watch Davos.
Steady as she goes can be the enemy of the solution sale. One we must go guerrilla against.
A sibling of the change angle, here more focused on showing you have the capacity to actually deliver.
In our Washington example, a demagogue Outsider without perhaps any relevant experience was preferred over an ideologue Insider with decades of perhaps proven public service.
Faced with such a choice, only someone crashing through the doors is seen as making the new essential things needed actually happen.
There’s way less likely to be a major breakthrough of any kind within “stability”. New product, new market, innovation, stave complacency, starve convention. Nothing grows from a straight line. So it infuriates me intensely each time I hear leaders – political or business – cry out for stability. Especially in the frame of “markets hate uncertainty”. Really. Get a grip.
How are you using this to tip the sway your way?
3 Democracy Defined
This is a tough one. One of the reasons half the planet’s people still live under the jackboot is because westernised democracy has simply too many flavours.
No two legislatures seem filled by the same seatings. So, the autocrats state, best we leave aside your imperfect systems and rather stick with one easy to understand tyrannical rule.
And it’s not much removed in the purchasing world.
How you cross the line differs from bid to bid.
I’ve thought back and cannot remember any deal won (or lost) through a majority vote. 50-percent-plus-one might cut it at governing election times, but in the boardroom? Never.
I’ve had a fair few where a couple of abstentions cropped up and I still prevailed, but anything akin to a 3-2 and no deal results. Indeed, may of my early-on big deals required multiple signatories. Literally running from office to office trying to muster them.
Workplace democracy seems constrained by corporate unanimity these days.
Do you know the voting rubric for your current deal? And as with any complex sale, what’s your plan for identifying, assessing and diluting dissenters?
I love this trope. Own the language, own the bid. Something I’m always riffing on.
Let’s first take the two podium emblazons.
Make American Great Again
When you look at them on the page, the contrast is stark. There’s surely only one winner, right?
The former came across as woolly. Well-meaning but essentially meaningless. Whereas the latter is a call to arms for a movement.
Are you heading your own movement?
5 Linguistic Determinism
Again a sibling. Closely related to core sloganeering. Now we realise incumbents can be toppled, when the inertians of status quo protection try to cling on, what supports your main strapline?
Even sweeter if they hashtag?
Wow. Every single one of the insurgent’s rallies featured these “policies”. Panto-chanted loudly by attendees.
It’s hard to imagine anything considered by half your audience to be openly divisive or negatively polarising working on a sale. Yet it clearly can. One man’s offence taken merely another’s plain truth.
But the concept is eminently adaptable when softened.
Underneath your Big Idea, how are your prospects talking about your actual promised actions?
6 The Forgotten Majority
The little people. The trodden-on working class. Those left behind. The Forgotten.
There’s all sorts of labels like these. They attempt to explain the major bloc that seems to have shifted US power.
They exist and they are not happy with the way things are.
I’m reminded of the deliberate 1904 positioning of Lenin’s Bolshevik against splitter fellow socialist the Menshevik. Words meaning he pitted his wholesome and worthy majority versus the supposed aloof and misguided minority. And we know what went down next.
Where are the silent sufferers, possibly feeling powerless, who you might coalesce into your coalition inside your prospect to get their plans approved?
7 Bind the Wounds of Division
This is a key quote from the winner’s acceptance speech. “Work together and unify” was an obvious theme. Nothing of the “rigged system” and general vitriol which characterised the campaign atmosphere.
I’ve posted on constructs like the four phases of change (denial – resistance – exploration – commitment) and aligned five stages of grief (the Kubler-Ross denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). In the context of revanchists and their ilk, understanding about these typical behaviours is fundamental solution provider knowledge.
If Brexit is anything to go by (and similarly many a long fight for a solution client), acceptance of the result is something Potus 45 is going to have to work bloody hard to see through to rainbow collaboration.
He says plans are afoot to bring everyone together as his 4-yr term begins. Are you doing the same in your realm?