Hey.. America…are you sitting comfortably?
Sales and marketing is all about telling a good story and influence.
As the dust settles on the 2016 US Presidential Election, it just maybe that Donald Trump is a whole lot smarter than he is ever going to be given credit for.
With a bit of retrofitting and hindsight many “media commentators” (the real ones…) are suggesting a number of reasons as to why such a misogynistic, global-warming-disbelieving racist should win one of the most influential leadership roles that The World PLC has to offer.
We can talk all day about the popular vote over the Electoral College, but it has always ever been thus – doesn’t make it right and after all, it was good enough for Obama, Bush, etc…
A poor turn out is hardly an excuse – ultimately we get the politicians we deserve and it’s pretty obvious that more than 50% of Americans couldn’t be bothered.
Says as much about voter discontent and the wider issues created by apathy as it does about Trump’s victory.
There is a greater shout now than ever before for a more meaningful 3rd party and the obvious feeling of betrayal by the white working classes who have been continually let down by successive governments.
More of the same just wasn’t going to be good enough for them.
Then there was the cry that surely could America not throw up on stage 2 better options than Clinton and Trump?
As an outsider, I felt confused by the choices and similar to Brexit, would have felt uncomfortable voting in one way simply because I didn’t like the other candidate.
(Not voting for anyone still fits comfortably within the Democratic model and in my opinion, YES, NO and NEITHER makes it evidently a non-binary issue.)
Seems that over 50% of US citizens felt neither candidate was suitable.
Regardless, Trump won and maybe him and his acolytes need to be given more credit for this success and rather than looking at why Clinton failed, its better to look at why Trump masterminded the biggest political upheaval of modern times.
One reason is given by Randy Olson, scientist, film-maker and author of some incredible works including “Don’t be such a scientist” and “Houston, we have a narrative”
Olson claims that ultimately Trump won because he had a better narrative and was a better storyteller using a very simple “agreement, contradiction, consequence” format.
Whilst some observers berate and chastise Trump for his self aggrandising media presence, Olson claims that his time spent for example, on The US Apprentice, served as an incredible dress rehearsal for the “husting” process in the lead up to the Election and underlined his ability to “tell his story”.
In short, Trump got his narrative structure spot on where as Clinton didn’t come close.
“America was once great AND did great things BUT now its position is weakened on many fronts, THEREFORE our focus is on making America great again.”
I’ve made that line up, but it sounds like the sort of rhetoric Trump used in his speech making – to the point, structured and using “And, But and Therefore” against Clinton’s “And, and, and…”
One word put downs, used continually (Crooked Hillary) along with a constant mantra to “Make America Great” was a simple but effective strategy to put distance between the two rivals.
Trump went through a number of campaign managers including Corey Lewandowski and Paul Manafort, yet the message remained constant – unlike the Clinton team who found it almost impossible to articulate one single message.
I first came across Olsen on a podcast where he attributes his theory of narrative to the screenwriters of “South Park”. He talks about how emotional sentiment is measured today but the importance of using “ABT” goes back even as far as the Gettysburgh Address.
The battle ground for the 2016 US Presidential Election was the disenfranchised working class – Clinton’s membership of the establishment made it harder for her to resonate with these people, but nonetheless Trump still had to tell his story well.
He did just that.
For disclosure I am not a fan of Trump – nor Clinton for that matter – and I am coming close to the view that democracy is and will be forever a white elephant, but he is smarter than the media had us believe – of that there is no doubt.
It remains to be seen if the strategic intelligence on show by Trump and his team in winning the election will remain a constant over the next 4 years but the parallels with sales and business development are obvious.
How often do companies / sales teams simply talk about how great they are without reference to the problem they solve – incessant chat about “track record”, “case studies”, “testimonials” – just like Clinton, when the pitch itself actually requires a degree of re-framing.
“Technology has changed the way people do business AND there are times when speed of delivery and cost savings take precedence over quality of service BUT in the long term this is an unsustainable strategy when customers are so promiscuous THEREFORE there is a greater need to develop the sales skills of your business development teams to reduce customer churn rates and increase levels of acquisition.”
…see what I did there?
Shift Control is a business growth consultancy working with SME’s and individuals across Ireland, delivering marketing consultation, sales training, brand development and leadership.
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