Nazi Lauck NSDAP/AO

A Michael Walsh News Feature

WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS

WINS ELECTIONS

I speak bluntly but not critically when I say that most political campaigners couldn't sell discounted sweets to a starving child. They haven't the foggiest idea how to package and present their 'product' and the predictable consequence is failure

Time after depressing time I have seen products fail not because it is flawed but because it has not been effectively sold.

New Labour swept all before it only after the marketing men moved in. They packaged and presented New Labour to a people desperate for a refreshing new exciting product. Fundamentally it was the same old chocolate bar except now it was in a brand new wrapper and it came with lots of lights and razzmatazz.

It worked so well that it caught the Party activists off guard. Overnight, college lecturers and minor local authority functionaries found themselves elevated to positions far beyond their capability.

Fundamentally there isn't a difference between selling Wrigley's chewing gum and selling a political party. Unless it is packaged and presented right the public simply will not buy it.

I single out Wrigley's chewing gum to make my point. You are used to chewing gum now but turn the clock back to the early 20th century. On the face of it chewing gum, unheard of at the time must have been the hardest product on earth to sell, a joke or a salesman's challenge.

It has no nutritional value, isn't fashionable, users look like a cow chewing the cud, and after a few minutes it tastes lousy. Anyone who could sell that stuff could sell a comb to a baldy man. But door-knocking salesman William Wrigley Jr., put every one of his few cents into selling it and ended up making more than $200,000,000 out of those little sticks of uselessness.

CHEW ON THIS

His advertising campaign became the biggest and most successful in American history. On one contract alone 62,000 street, subway, and elevated cars throughout the U.S. carried his posters. Every single subscriber in America's telephone directories was mailed a sample stick, and every American child on their second birthday received two sticks of chewing gum. That is what I call marketing.

What paid for it all - and produced $200 million dollars worth of business? Why, little sticks of uselessness of course.

If William Wrigley Jr. could do that for chewing gum what could he do with a product that gives much more in return, a political party for example? Maybe I had better take a closer look at who is running New Labour's marketing agency.

The reason for success or failure is unlikely to be found in your party's manifesto, presuming of course that it isn't selling hefty tax rises. The answer will invariably be discovered in how it is packaged and sold.

WINNING HEARTS AND MINDS

Here are a few tips on how to get your point across to your electorate in a professional way. Follow these basic rules and you will earn respect, enjoy your political activities more, it will give you a greater sense of self-worth and achievement, and bring you many more votes than you could have imagined.

KEEP IT SIMPLE Ask any salesman what K.I.S.S means and he will instantly respond by saying; 'Keep it simple, stupid!'

Party political pamphlets and brochures, periodicals and web sites, tend to make tedious reading, great for insomniacs. Take another look at your 'stuff' and ask yourself, could you sell a car by the same method?

Imagine trying to sell the latest model by shoving its manual through letterboxes. Who reads a car manual? Learn from the professionals. Look at adverts and package your 'product' the same way. Say it simple, say it often. Catch the imagination.

KNOW YOUR PRODUCT It is amazing how few party activists know their product (program) or can explain their organisation's aims so it is hardly surprising when they fail. They couldn't even sell Kleen-Eze brushes door-to-door if they weren't able to explain the benefits of each brush.

Take a good look at your organisation's aims; discuss them and translate them into tangible benefits. If there are any you don't understand then ask. It sure beats looking stupid on the doorstep.

LEARN FROM THE EXPERTS. Before knocking on doors to sell something as humble as a smoke alarm you would receive a day's training. Your tutor would show you where it is best fitted, what it will and won't do, explain how to define the benefits, justify its price, and take the order.

Why do we think we can sell the far more complex product called politics without any training at all? Organise seminars, arrange brain-storming sessions, get involved.

CHECK YOUR PROGRESS Organise and categorise your progress. When canvassing it is a simple matter to take names and addresses and to make notes as to interest levels. This will save you time by avoiding hostile constituents whilst giving friendly ones an opportunity to assist in some way. Always assure people, hostile or friendly, of your discretion.

NEVER CRITICISE YOUR OWN No organisation will mirror your own opinions precisely. Learn to accept what you see as its weaknesses and seek to change then if you feel strongly about them. But do so within the procedures. If you cannot accept them you should leave.

Never publicly criticise your Party or organisation. It does much harm, especially to you.

REPORT BAD BEHAVIOUR No organisation can survive poor discipline. If behaviour is likely to bring your Party into disrepute then you should desist or leave. If the behaviour of other Party members does likewise it should be quietly reported. Failure to do so makes you an accessory.

PEOPLE BUY PEOPLE. If the person you are selling to doesn't like you or is hostile to your manner or appearance, forget it and walk away. The salesman always sells himself before he introduces the product.

If your appearance is a fashion statement inevitably you are going to alienate people who don't share your tastes. How you appear when socialising is your own business. When working you should wear a 'uniform' that commands respect.

NEVER KNOCK THE OPPOSITION It amazes me why mainstream party members never talk up their own products. Instead they spend all their time talking down the opposition's products. Imagine seeing a box of Colgate toothpaste carrying the words: 'McLeans's Toothpaste is Awful.' Or an advert for the Ford Focus saying 'Don't Buy Vauxhall's Astra.'

It is ludicrous when you think about it, so never employ a politician to do a salesman's job. If your product is good and you have faith in it you don't need to knock the opposition's product. Your prospect already suffers the competition's table fare; just show him what you have on your table. If it is good he will come to your table.

ENTHUSIASM One of the most famous of sales slogans is; 'Don't sell the steak sell the sizzle.' If you can't get excited about what you have to offer how on earth can you get your customer excited? Enthuse by knowing what your product (policy) will do for your customer.

DELIVER - NOW If it is your intention to champion your community why on earth do you have wait until you are elected to do so?

Get involved in your community. It will give you a great deal of satisfaction, bring you a lot of friends, and open up no end of opportunities. Whatever Party you represent people will vote for you. Remember what I said. People buy people?

Let me make a suggestion. Somewhere near to you there are empty shops; some council owned, others private. Find out who owns each one and then ask if while it is vacant can you take it rent free as a 'drop in shop' to help local pensioners fill out vexing entitlement forms. How many birds do you want to kill with one stone - and are the local reds going to campaign against such a service?

CONSISTENCY Would Father Christmas be popular if he only turned up each Leap Year? Of course he wouldn't. Would you give a new window cleaner your business if he turned up once every four years and asked for your business? If it wouldn't work for them why do you expect it to work for you?

The run-up to the election isn't the time to get the car out of the garage, it's time to put the car into overdrive. You should be high profile throughout the year; local issues, letter writing, campaigning, door knocking, making yourself available. Being a caring politician for just two months out of every four or five years will earn nothing but contempt.

HORSES FOR COURSES A nationalist-based political organisation with true socialist ideals will draw its membership from a wide audience. All members and activists are components with a separate job best suited to their experience or means.

Respect each other and contribute equally according to your means. If you are presentable and articulate then market your organisation. If on the other hand you have been successful in life then contribute financially to assist those whose efforts are being put to good use. If you are a printer or organiser, print or organise. A good fund raiser? Do so. If you are a teacher, teach; clever with computers - do it, and so on.

INVOLVE OTHERS This may be surprising but most of the help given to me has come from people who, often for good reason, are not Party members. Ironically card-carrying members have on occasion harmed me. If non-members wish to help then give them every opportunity to do so.

LEAD BY EXAMPLE If you have got an unsavoury past (or present) then the best way to serve your Party is to leave it - like NOW! If you are genuine then do voluntary work in the community helping others. If and when you return put your cards on the table, and on public record say 'sorry'. You will be better respected and probably forgiven. What about putting an advert in the newspaper confessing your misdemeanour and saying sorry. Overnight you will become a folk hero. See what the Daily Mirror makes of that.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR ME? It is the bottom line isn't it? The fact is you will get what you want only when you convince the other man he is going to get what he wants. Every sale hinges on this truism. Unless he can see a something of benefit to his community, his family or himself he has no incentive to buy your product.

Demonstrate how by voting for you he will see tangible benefits. Take a look at your Party's policies and translate them into positive advantages. A 1% reduction in rates is meaningless. "The savings made will buy your daughters their school uniforms and you will still have enough left over to take the family out for a nice meal.' He understands that.

SMILE How often have you seen a political pamphlet bearing the unsmiling countenance of the person we are being asked to vote for. People are mirrors; you smile - they smile; you scowl - they scowl. Put it to the test.

Think about the places you shop at. You can buy their products anywhere but you invariably shop there because you like the people who serve you. Be cheerful. It puts people in a buying mood.

BODY LANGUAGE Whenever you are conversing with another person the impact of the SPOKEN WORD ONLY is a mere 7%. A far higher 38% is VOCAL (how you express yourself, dialect, delivery, passion, tone, inflection, enthusiasm). An astounding 55% is NON-VERBAL.

Does your body language translate to say 'I am fed up', 'I am angry'? Do your folded arms and crossed legs show you to be on the defensive? Do your averted eyes suggest you don't believe what you are saying? Do your slumped shoulders signal defeat?

Watch your posture, be open, confident, knowledgeable, welcoming. Get a book on body language and you will be better able to put yourself across.

FINALLY - REASONS WHY PEOPLE DO NOT BUY

Reacts badly to opinions, questions or objections

Makes exaggerated claims

Insists on doing all the talking; won't listen

Appears to know little about his product

Gives the impression he knows it all

Bounces back with a smart response to every question

Embarrasses him by scoring points with his smart answers

Disregards HIS needs, fears, and feelings.

A Michael Walsh - Educational Feature

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