Recently Prime Minister Brown has been calling his opponent a 'Slick Salesman'.
This an easier soundbite than 'all style and no substance'.
But after some pretty poor recent results the Labour Party might wish to revisit it's own slick sales techniques, and get back to a few of the basics.
How to be an effective salesperson
Learn to listen
Sales people who do a lot of talking during a pitch only bore the prospect. Endless repetition of figures aren't going to convince anyone if they are asleep!
[Tractor production figures are rarely believed anyway]
Tailor your pitch to identify with their needs; Don't try to change a client's needs to your pitch.
[If clients are concerned about Immigration then talk about border controls, economic prosperity created by immigration or even show the extra resources given to help deal with the problem. Don't take a product you want to sell, like 42 day detention, and push that as the answer to their problem. It probably isn't.]
Pitch to the people most likely to buy.
Your best prospects have a keen interest in your products or services already. They are the ones who will take it up most quickly. Keep these clients as happy as you possibly can. It is harder to convince someone who has never tried your product or even your brand before.
[look after your core voter. Whether it's 10p tax rates or Grammar Schools]
Go Door to Door.
Spending huge sums on print-media advertising or direct mail is an ineffective way to influence you client. There is no shortcut to the personal approach. Get your representatives one-on-one with your customer.
[ Cameron and Obama are clearly winning the feet on the street war]
Don't tell them what they want.
Let people tell you what they want. You tell them how you can deliver it.
[Nuclear power/42 day detention/Unlimited immigration/ MP's Expense claims/ Police Pay/ Road pricing etc . If you cannot overcome an objection then have a strong case for not doing so. Just saying' I can't do that' is not good enough. I can't do that because.. ... I will however be able to do this... is much better.]
Don’t tell me what you’ve done for me before.
Yesterday's deals are just that, yesterday's! Tell clients what you are going to do for them today.
100 years of sales history counts for nought if you are now the dearest, and offer the least support.
Don’t tell me about products and services that are not related to my company/field.
Do your research before you approach your clients.
[Talking about 'Toffs' may not be of much interest if your client has no concern about this at all]
Never make overinflated claims that can easily be found out.
A careful client may well check your claims themselves in trade magazines and online reviews.
[ If inflation is higher than 2% then stop saying its 2%. Uncheckable claims or unspecific are fine. We are the Party of the poor etc.]
And from every customer service manual I've ever read.
Smile. Smile again, then smile some more.