By Dave Stein
Right now we're in the long-list phase. Different groups of voters (buyers), with their own interests and prejudices (buying criteria), are supporting the candidate (salesperson) they feel is most aligned with them and their view of where the U.S. should be going.
Some of the candidates have a strong and consistent message (value proposition). Others change their message regularly, depending on their perception of where they stand versus other candidates.
There are candidates may not have the financial resources (viability) to make it to the cut for the the conventions (shortlist). Others will drop out because their platforms (features, functions and benefits) don't resonate with voters.
I'm having some fun seeing how external influencers have an impact on the race. For example, John Kerry's early backing of Obama. Why now? Why Obama, with him having a history with the Clintons? Is Kerry a messenger from the Democratic National Committee signaling Hillary that they don't think she can overcome the unelectability claim of many Republicans?
And what about Guiliani? He's decided to ignore a significant number of voters, playing to the ones with more power (greater number of electoral votes in their states). I've seen sales people lose deals by ignoring the lower levels within an organization or certain departments.
Each time I watch one of the many debates, I see a series of scripted bake-offs, just like the ones vendors must go through. We've all been there, haven't we?
Dave Stein is CEO & Founder of ES Research Group, Inc.