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Personal Finance

Campaign lessons on making sales

The challenge for politicians is winning votes in an opposition stronghold. FILE PHOTO | NMG
The challenge for politicians is winning votes in an opposition stronghold. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Thursday is election day. Today, we buy what has been on sale for the better part of this year - promises of a better tomorrow. Yes, the election period is characteristic of a buyer (voter)-seller (politician) relationship. Here are three (sales) things we can learn from it-prospecting, presenting and closing.

Prospecting is the act of finding new buyers (prospects) for your product or service. Politicians globally have strongholds, swing votes and opposition strongholds. Strongholds are your diehard buyers. The political term is “locked-in” votes. These are the customers whom you will have to actively antagonise for them not to vote (buy) for you.

They happily renew their insurance policies with you because you treated their debut claim with the ease of a sale. They are your advocate to anyone who claims, that they don’t pay claims- in church, at the pub, football match, or garage; anywhere.

Swing votes are the undecided buyers-those whom you can still woo your way or maybe not. These are the ones who have two SIM cards and swear by the benefits of each. So you have them on, say, mobile money transfer, but not on data and voice (calling).

Those in opposition strongholds are the ones who’ve sworn never to buy from you. They are the hospitals you’ve sworn never to return to because they once misdiagnosed your symptoms and drained you mentally, emotionally and financially for six months before realising this; and it’s not they that did so- you did, when out of desperation you sought a second opinion.

All these three sets of voters represent prospective buyers. Prospecting is the corner stone of successful campaigning and closing. Prospecting is visually represented in campaign headquarters as a map of Kenya respectively coloured, red (Jubilee), orange (Nasa) and other colours.

There is valid reason why the sales pitch (campaign) differs from territory to territory. Listen carefully as politicians campaign. The pitch to strongholds is markedly different from that of swing, or opposition strongholds.

To the strongholds it is marshalling voter turnout. Not much time is spent on issues-just an urgent appeal to turn out in large numbers on election day to retain status quo; to the swing territories the pitch is more aligned to issues.

For instance, you will get this percentage of the income from your local natural resource or, ‘top-up by this Saturday and get 20MB data for free’.

And the toughest of them all is the pitch to the opposition strongholds. How do you woo back a patient you misdiagnosed? Or, a customer who’s been getting all their loan applications declined because you mistakenly listed them with a credit reference bureau and they didn’t know?

All is not lost though. The successful pitch here is largely an emotional appeal (we shall give ‘your person’ this seat); and in the commercial world an outright apology-and sometimes refunding monies or airtime mistakenly debited from the buyer.

Finally, closing is the act of securing the sale (vote). We shall know in a few days how successful (or not) the respective political sellers will be at this.

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