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How to flunk Sales 101

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From the feedback I receive, I know readers of this blog fall everywhere across the political spectrum. From the folks who frequently agree with what I write to the reader who once referred to me (incorrectly, I might add) as a “rabid, right-wing wacko conservative,” there is no quarter of political thought unrepresented among you, dear readers.

Yet despite our manifold and often profound political differences, we share some things as well. All of us are proficient practitioners of the skills and techniques that have made us successful in sales and marketing. We understand that, as Judge Ziglar titled his 1978 book, “Timid Salesman Have Skinny Kids.” In our universe, that’s a well-established truth.

That truth has not, apparently, reached the parallel universe known as the U.S. Congress. I refer, of course, to the breathtakingly inept manner in which the establishment Republicans have attempted to “sell” their campaign pledge of reducing this years’ budget by $100 billion. As a salesperson wishing to retain the “account” when it “renews” in two years, ask yourself which course of action you would have advised.

Course A:

“I know we pledged to reduce by $100 billion, but given the way the budget has played out, we are working with a partial year, so we are only going to make good on a prorated part of our promise.”

Course B:

“We pledged to reduce by $100 billion over a 12-month budget. We ended up working with a half a year’s budget, but to remain true to what we promised, we’ve reduced by $100 billion anyway. In annualized terms, that’s even bolder than what you sent us here to do.”

If your kids aren’t skinny, you know the answer to that question. Why did it take a near insurrection by the Tea Party contingent to back the old-school Republicans into the more effective answer? Perhaps, while we are speaking to our representatives about health care and financial services reform, we can pass along sales skills, too. Think of it as “Remedial Sales Training 101.”

Check out more blog entries from David Saltzman.