Don’t Blame Your Customers!

“A business without customers isn’t a business.”

– Anonymous

If you are running a business you know that your number one job is to attract and retain enough customers to remain viable. You need to attract enough customers who want to buy what you have to offer. You also need to entice your customers to return and make additional purchases. And… you work hard to delight your existing customers so that they, in turn, will recommend your business to their friends and associates. That is a smart way to build your business.

It is also a smart way to run a political campaign.

To get elected – or nominated by your party to run for election – you need to attract enough voters who want to vote for what you have to offer. And… you work hard to encourage the people who are now ready to vote for you to encourage their friends and associates to consider voting for you.

But the primary responsibility for success resides with you – the business owner or the political candidate. You must offer something that your customers want to buy; something that voters want to support.

Successful businesses do not make sales. Rather, they develop enough customers who are eager to buy the product or service that they offer for sale. Likewise, candidates need to develop enough voters who are eager to support their cause. Voters who are willing to recruit others in support of your campaign.

All of this seems rather simple and straight forward. And it is. The complexity lies in how you ask for your customers business; how you ask for your supporters vote.

People love to buy but they hate to be sold. Likewise with voters. You can – and should – tell them that you need their support; you need their vote. But I would never tell them that it will be their fault that I went out of business or that I lost the election.

Unfortunately, the Clinton campaign is ignoring this advice. Granted, I am not a million dollar a month political adviser (like Mark Penn) so why should they take my advice. But, I would never say this to my supporters:

“If she wins Texas and Ohio I think she will be the nominee. If you don’t deliver for her, I don’t think she can be. It’s all on you,” the former president (Bill Clinton) told the audience at the beginning of his speech.

OK, so Senator Clinton can not control her husband. At least his remarks in support of her candidacy. He may be working as a free agent. But, many potential voters view the Clintons as one and the same. Likewise, potential customers do not separate what your employees say about your business from what you intend for them to hear.

One of my early mentors taught me that no customer must buy from me. And no voter must cast their ballot for you.

Customers do not put you out of business. Your inability to attract enough customers to purchase from you is the reason that you went out of business.

Voters do not cost you the election. Your inability to attract enough voters to cast their ballot in support of your candidacy is the reason that you lose elections.

You have to offer products and services that customers want to buy. Not last year’s hot item. Rather, the products and services that customers are looking for now and into the future.

You have to offer a solution that voters are looking for – now and into the future. Not a recitation of your resume. Not a trip down memory lane.

This year they are looking for change. And a leader who will involve them and engage them in the process of change.

Don’t blame your customers. Don’t blame the voters. Encourage their support. Entice them to do business with your firm.

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