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9 Crucial Sales Lessons for Small Businesses from the Brexit Vote

9 Crucial Sales Lessons for Small Businesses from the Brexit Vote

They said no

9 Crucial Sales Lessons for Small Businesses from the Brexit Vote

The question on the ballot box was should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union? A clear enough question written in plain English. There were two designated parties Remain and Vote Leave. At the start of the campaign bookies had the odds of a Leave victory at less than 20%, so what happened?

Brexit ballot paper

The message

For years we have heard the reasons as to why the European Union is bad for Britain. ”We give them all our money and get nothing back”, “they make laws that we can do nothing about” and in more recent times “we can’t control our borders” and “they’re taking all our jobs”. You know yourself that when you’ve heard an ad on television so many times, even though you may not like the ad, the message gets through. Usually we have lots of choices to choose from but when it’s a two horse race anything can happen. When the contest became known as Brexit (an abbreviation of “British exit”), the writing was on the wall. A clear and consistent message will always provide you more opportunities for success.

Know Your Numbers

The referendum was about Britain’s future as a member of the European Union. A couple of years ago Scotland had a referendum about their future as part of the United Kingdom. In that referendum 16 year olds were allowed to vote because they are the future. All the data showed that the older you were the more likely you were to vote Leave. So, for this campaign why were 16 year olds not allowed to vote?  As a small business you can decide who your ideal target market is and then decide how much you are willing to spend to attract that business. The numbers tell you what to do.

Sell from the Heart

When we sell from the heart we inspire confidence, create trust, and open communication with our customers, clients and patients. For years we have seen the passion of the Leave campaign. The number of UKIP voters had surged in recent years, predominantly on the desire to leave the European Union. The Prime Minister went to negotiate a better deal then came back with something far short of what he was expecting. He failed to convince his colleague Boris Johnson that it was a good deal so why should the rest of the country believe him. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party sent mixed messages when he said he wanted the UK to remain a member but would try to reverse any “damaging changes” negotiated by Mr Cameron. They were supposed to be on the same side of the debate. At the end of the day, selling from the heart gives the ability to genuinely show that we care and separates us from the competition by making sure that our solutions are crating incredible value for our customers. When the value is clear, decisions are easy.

Get in First

I keep mentioning it but it doesn’t hurt to repeat it. The Leave campaign had the advantage of “the exit” being delivered over and over again for many years, therefore they, by default, got in there first. The Remain campaign however, came late to the party and didn’t bring any new dance moves. They didn’t sing any new songs and didn’t light up the party. Studies show that getting in their first gives you the greatest chance of winning the business, provided you stay in the game. On average it takes many touches to win the sale, between 7and 10. Brexit proved that a No is only a No for now. Asking for the sale at the right time is crucial to winning the sale. To do that you have to remain “top of mind”.

Over promising, under delivering

If I sold you a house before the roof was finished but agreed to finish the roof in a few weeks that’s what you’d expect to happen. If it wasn’t finished in time you’d be a little upset. If after six years it was still in the same state you’d want my head on a stick. A roof is an essential part of a house. Immigration was a key issue of the Leave campaign. 6 years ago David Cameron promised it would be down to the tens of thousands. It wasn’t and didn’t look likely in the foreseeable future either. Over promising and under delivering undermines credibility. You must focus on exceeding expectations.

David &

Know Like & Trust factor

Following on from the previous factor, if you get known for over promising and under delivering your KLT Factor will be harmed. In today’s world of social media, as a small business, you are only ever one review away from a bad reputation. Whatever you think about Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and the other Leave campaigners, they were known, liked and trusted on the message they were delivering. Usually, when faced with a choice like this the status quo prevails. When we lose a customer, it’s usually because of something we failed to do, and not something that the other party did well. You can be known, you can be liked, but if the trust isn’t there for what the customer thinks they need now you are doomed to failure.

Power of the media

As a small business we are all competing against hundreds of competitors. The noise out there is confusing and is only going to get worse. That brings me back to where we started with the clear consistent message, which in the end became Brexit. It was used on TV, it was splattered all over the press, radio, social media. What’s ironic is that about 1 a.m. Eastern time, about eight hours after the polls closed, Google reported that searches for “what happens if we leave the EU” had more than tripled, suggesting that people had no idea what they’d been voting for in the first place. Instead they’d been led by the media. As a small business you would rarely get the same coverage, but don’t underestimate the power of what coverage you could get. It helps to build that KLT factor.

Don’t take your customers for granted

Over the past few years the Labour Party has lost thousands of voters. In Scotland they have mainly gone to the SNP and in England they mainly now sit in the UKIP camp. Why, because they feel that the party abandoned them, took them for granted. The conservative voters in the EU referendum also could not be relied upon because they were split down the middle. Remember I said, “when the value is clear, the decision is easy”. What benefits were put forward to staying in the European Union to those defectors? Indeed, what benefits were put forward to anyone? Again, the Leave campaign got in first with the heading of Project Fear. The two strong emotions often spoken about in selling are the “desire for gain” and “fear of loss”. There was no “desire for gain” in the Remain campaign, only “fear of loss”. The Leave campaign had them both, “desire for gain”, control of our borders, control over our money. The “fear of loss”, the same outcomes, not being able to control immigration and getting less for our money.  The Remain campaign failed to make its supporters feel loved. In fact, by not allowing the sixteen year olds to vote they had already scored an own goal. The #1 reason people buy in the first place is because they know like and trust you. The number #1 reason customers leave is because they feel neglected.

Don’t knock the competition

Why should politicians think they gain respect by being rude to others who have differing views. We don’t expect our children to be like that, we don’t expect to be treated like that. You don’t win business by being rude about others either. You can highlight differences but you can’t trash the competitor. I finish with a poster I have on the side of a cabinet “Remember, the toes you step on today may be attached to the ass you will have to kiss tomorrow”. We love you really Europe.

Kiss Ass

 If you want some great tips on how to build your KLT Factor (Know Like and Trust) click here

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