Image by rscottjones via Flickr
Written by Karen D. Swim
Well, today is November 5th and in case you missed it, the United States has elected Barack Obama as its 44th President. I did not want to allow the day to pass without acknowledging the historical significance of this moment. Yet, when I tried to form words this morning, I simply could not. Everything sounded trite or cheesy. I am quite frankly still absorbing the weight of America’s decision.
I have been fascinated this election season by the marketing campaigns, lessons in communications and of course the comments, opinions and reactions of voters. As a writer and marketer, this has been akin to hitting the inspiration lottery. I could devote several hundred posts to the nuggets of wisdom from this election but today I shall focus on the one thought that dominates – Discomfort leads to action.
I moved to Michigan from California a few years ago. Michigan has been in a one state recession long before the economy went south in the rest of the country. Most Americans were still happily spending and going about their business unaware of the declining economy in our little neck of the woods. However, that recession spread. Fuel prices soared, layoffs increased, financial institutions collapsed and wall street became a nauseating roller coaster ride. Suddenly, everyone was checking their wallet in search of the thief that was stealing the value of their dollar.
In short, many people became uncomfortable. We humans are funny, creatures of habit. Some of us like constant change and will mix it up “just because.” Most will stay the course until something shakes us up and forces us to change. Dave Navarrro wisely articulated this in a recent post on the impact of the wake up call. When we’re comfortable, we don’t rock the boat but discomfort leads us to action.
America became uncomfortable. Barack Obama tapped into that discomfort and offered a prescription for relief. People registered to vote, others who had not bothered to vote stood in line to cast their ballot. Obama reminded us that we were not comfortable, many had a wake up call and took action.
Pain. Discomfort. These words have great meaning to those in sales. You want to uncover pain and discomfort and offer your customers a prescription to make it all better. You are always offering the cure or the prevention to pain and discomfort. Always. You may have the best product/service/source of knowledge but if you can’t sell it then it’s worthless.
Whether you are an employee fighting to recession proof your job or a business owner seeking to stay alive, you are selling and pain is your key. How can you help your customer / employer avoid or relieve pain? Answering that question will take you far. If you don’t believe me, check out America’s next President.
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