As many of you are already aware, last night was the first Presidential Debate between Sec. Hillary Clinton and Mr. Donald Trump here in the United States. Expectations were high going into the night and after the pair left the stage, the debate continued on social feeds between your friends and family across the globe.
Most viewers watching the debate last night, however, might fail to realize there are lessons from last night that can apply to their professional lives, especially for sales and marketing pros. To be extremely clear, this is not a political op-ed piece. CNN, Fox News, or Politico might be your place to visit if you're interested in that content.
5 key take-a-ways from last night's presidential debate that relate to your sales or marketing job today:
1. What You Say Is Often Less Important Than How You Say It
Part of the big draw of last night's debate was the entertainment factor of putting Sec. Clinton and Mr. Trump on stage together and seeing what they would say. However, as any political debate coach will remind us, how you deliver your thoughts or message is frequently more important than what you say. Yes, words do matter but often times how or where you deliver your message is more memorable.
Sales Take-a-way: Spend more time focusing on how you deliver your message. Practice your tone, inflection, strategic pauses and other techniques for sales pitches.
2. Don't Only Talk About Yourself
This should be fairly self-explanatory but few of us enjoy listening to others talk about themselves. And if we do, it's not for very long.
Marketing Take-a-way: Consider building your content to facilitate a two-sided conversation. If your content only speaks about your brand and products, it might be falling into this trap. Think strategically about how you draw your audience deeper into your content by giving them a voice to speak. Interactive content is a great solution here.
Sales Take-a-way: Pretty self-evident. Don't jump on a demo or pitch and only talk about your company, product or service. The less you do, the better your chance to close business probably. Spend your time understanding your customer's pain points and challenges.
3. Cybersecurity & ISIS
Never thought I would ever be writing about ISIS on LinkedIn, but here we are! Remember back in 2008 when many thought it was cute that the Obama campaign was using this "social media" thing to engage with young people? Well, how times have changed. Fast-forward to last night and ISIS' use of social media for recruitment and cybersecurity were central topics discussed, something few candidates were spending serious time discussing several presidential cycles ago.
Sales & Marketing Take-a-way: Whatever industry you're in, it's changing. And faster than we realize at times. Never become complacent that the tactics and strategies you used last quarter or last year are still relevant. That might mean moving away from cold-calling and email blasts to targeted Snapchat outreach.
4. Create Content That is Worthy of Sharing
In presidential debates, we know certain clips are going to be pulled into "sound-bytes" by media outlets to capture the top moments and essence of the debate. Candidates frequently put together prepared phrases or one-liners they know are likely to be included in the video recaps. At times inauthentic, but effective.
Marketing Take-a-way: Create and distribute content in a way that allows your audience to easily share with friends on social. Basics include adding social sharing buttons to all of your content and using influencers to create an "echo chamber" of support. Realize that each interaction with your audience is an opportunity to convert them into an advocate for your brand. If done well, this can significantly reduce your customer acquisition costs.
5. Capitalize on Side Conversations
If you were on Facebook or Twitter at any point during the debate, you probably had a friend or two that was referencing their "Presidential Drinking Game." In fact, many of you might have even participated! Realize that quite often consumers have their own side conversations during the main debate, similar to the conversation on Twitter about Super Bowl ads during the big game.
Marketing Take-a-way: What side conversations are your customers having that you're not a part of? Advances to social listening technologies the last 5 years have made it much easier for brands to monitor the conversation in certain social forums, but what about new platforms such as Snapchat or offline venues such as industry conferences? Instead of pouring all your attention into your booth at the next trade show, think about how you can leverage the audience talking at the coffee stand.