Watching the democratic primaries since 2015 Progressives have seen hopes dashed before their eyes, over and over and over again. While there are a million different reasons for our losses, the media blacking us out, a smaller movement than we thought, the list goes on. One thing we can unanimously agree on is that the group we are up against definitely out gamed us. They knew and used the system, and to no fault of our own many of us were new to politics. It is now long past due to all brush up on our tool kit, we need to be sharp to keep the Sanders coalition from fracturing. Primarily we need to have the ability to talk confidently about our candidates and learn how to make their case. Sadly being the most caring group with the most morals leads us to be bulldozed by Corporate Elite Democrats that will do anything to keep power. We don’t have to be nasty, we just have to work harder. We know how badly people need Medicare for All, we just can’t sell it. If Corporate Dems can sell an agendaless party to the country, getting buy-in for real solutions should be simple!
Here are three simple lessons from sales to ease tension and have open conversations with anyone.
1.)It’s all about listening, not speaking!
The common misconception about sales and salespeople is that the person who talks the loudest and the fastest would make the best salesperson. The truth is the opposite, the best salespeople are those who are genuinely curious and ask great questions. When the questions are being answered they listen intently. See it is the opposite of human nature to buy from a pushy person. It robs your freedom of thought and choice, making us want to buck like a wild Broncho. It is also very rude. However, most people have plenty of reasons why they could benefit from supporting your side, but they must come to that conclusion on their own. You cannot actually control/persuade people of anything. With great questions and an open and pleasant attitude, they can reach their own conclusions.
2.) Find a pain point and determine the consequence.
When selling a brand new product that is a never before seen solution, you face some very tough challenges compared to established products like the Democratic party. The toughest challenge is finding a pain point. For example, every American hates their insurance but they are unaware that it is a problem. We’ve never had a reason to think there was an alternative. If someone knocks government-run health care, respond with a question, “Do you like your health insurance?” “Have you or your family ever had a bad experience with the healthcare system?” They will then think about the pain of the reduction in their paycheck. That pain becomes real when you know there is an alternative. Switching would put $1200/month in your pocket, here is the consequence. “What difference would $1200/month make for your household?”
3.) Whoever controls their emotions wins!
Ok, the goal isn’t ultimately about anyone losing, this is a negotiating lesson. Perhaps the most valuable sales to life lesson is learning to control your emotions. Many people who end up buying from you and being long term partners started the conversations with you completely uninterested. Every time you lose your cool on someone and return the favor, they will never work with you, this requires having more emotional control. This is a golden rule in debates as we saw with people like Biden getting flustered into gaffe after gaffe, whereas someone like Mayor Pete was slicker than Clark Grizwolds non-choleric-silicon-based kitchen lubricant. Pete was unflappable on that stage and danced his way out of every attack with a smirk. Talking politics requires emotional control, people will say things that really press your buttons. We have all been on both sides of flipping out in a conversation, you feel like an immature jerk and immediately regret it. Remember you will never regret taking the high road!