For the next several months, as a campaigning candidate for political office you will be asking people for things – their vote, their money, to share things on social media, to talk to their friends and “spread the word,” media coverage, and so on and so on.
You’d better get good at it.
Why is this something that’s worth pointing out? Because it’s the center point of campaigning.
If you have trouble asking for things, you’re not alone. Whether it’s par of people’s personality or they simply haven’t honed the skill, asking for things on a professional level is an art that takes practice and technique.
We of people going into the sales field because they’re good “people persons,” and are great at meetings, working a room, and taking people to lunch, but flunk out of their jobs because they’re not “closers.”
They can’t – or aren’t willing to – make that final ask, which is, of course, the critical one in their chosen role.
In so many facets of life, if you aren’t successful in closing the deal, the rest is pointless.
Campaigning is sales. Or, at least it uses many of the same principles.
Whether you’re fundraising, looking for volunteers or getting votes out on Election Day, the path is the same is if you were in the private sector trying to land a new client â€“ only your task is to convince thousands of clients to make a purchase decision.
Just like sales, in campaigning, building relationships, collecting data, enunciating your value and making “the ask” are all paramount to success.
One thing that makes it easier is to remember, as a candidate, that asking people for something is not an imposition, but a sign of respect – especially when it comes to voters.
You can spend twenty minutes at someone’s door and have a great conversation, but if by the time you leave you don’t physically ask them for their vote, you’ve missed an important opportunity.
It’s human nature to enjoy and appreciate being needed, and if you can demonstrate that someone’s support is needed to help you win the election so you can accomplish X, Y and Z on their behalf, and then ask them for that support, you’ll tap into that most basic human desire to be needed.
You’ve had enough candidates come to your door. How many of them made you feel like you were essential to their candidacy, and how many made you feel like you were someone whose house they needed to check off their list?
Think about that for a moment. Because I imagine your answer to the question will be eye-opening.
Fortunately, most people who run for office have at least some degree of salesmanship and are comfortable talking to people (or else, what on Earth are you doing?!)
It can be hard to get started, and count on it being tiring along the way.
Like a good salesperson, train yourself to deal with “no,” and learn to overcome objections.
With practice, you’ll get better and better at it as time goes on, learning new tools and methods from each conversation you have.
Don’t let you great interactions with voters, supporters and funders go to waste! Learn how to close the deal in The Campaign Coach’s Virtual Campaign School.
* Portions of this blog are excerpted from The Campaign Coach’s Campaign Blueprint (Amazon)