Harnessing the Power of a “Win Theme” in Sales

This is the beginning of a very intense political season in the United States with 17 presidential candidates on the Republican side and another 4 or 5 on the growing Democrat side. These 20+ candidates are all rivaling each other for the ultimate single position of becoming the President of the United States. In the early stage of this “battle royal” there will soon be a few winners and a bunch of losers. Sadly, and perhaps unfairly, that early on reduction of the number of candidates will be a decision made more on style and less on substance. Later, the final decision will hopefully include a serious consideration of substance. But for the time being, it is all about who “catches on.”

For a candidate to “catch fire,” they must simultaneously accomplish two things. They must differentiate themselves from the pack while emotionally engaging people to actively support both them and their cause. This is the double job of a “win theme”. Failure in either of these two outcomes will spell the premature death of a political career. As this is being written, we are witnessing the first initial successful “win theme”. Currently the most resonating “win theme”  belongs to Donald Trump, and is worn on his bright red cap and states in bold white letters, “Make America Great Again”. In addition, he peppers this phrase throughout all of his speeches and interviews.

A test: Can you immediately quote the “win theme” of other candidates? If not, that should be a sign that it does not yet exist and that they have yet to differentiate themselves or emotionally engage a following. The clock is ticking on them and failure to establish a successful “win theme” will be the beginning of their end.

As this huge and intense political sales cycle plays out on the world stage, all of us are in a privileged seat to watch best-in-class sales practices on display for the whole world to see. Presidential campaigns are nothing more than expensive and colossal sales cycles. They make an inviting landscape for learning what sales practices work and which do not.

So what is a “win theme”? Let’s start with a Definition: “a unifying idea that is a recurrent element and creates a strong feeling.” The proof that a “win theme” is powerful is when you see the leader using it and connecting to their audience and inciting them to action. Which raises the question; what does it actually mean when you hear it said, “They have really connected,” connected to what? In Revenue Storm terms: Everyone is interested in something outside of themselves that is directly linked to something inside of themselves. And any leader, politician or sales professional who can figure that out will have uncovered the guts of what it takes to make a powerful “win theme”. Connecting an external cause to an internal feeling is the ultimate motivation to action. People are moved by their emotions and then justify their actions by logic. Therefore, a good “win theme” becomes a rallying cry around which people coalesce.

For the next several months, we will all be able to watch how well candidates do this in their unfolding campaigns. But we have all just seen it in the last several months where riots and uprisings have dominated the news. These are controversial, but still demonstrate the power of having a “win theme”. In Fergusson Missouri of “Don’t Shoot” spawned national unrest. Or the slogan in New York of, “I can’t breathe” caused rioting disturbance. And just recently, a group disrupted a Democrat candidate’s political meeting with the “win theme” – “Black Lives Matter”. Agree with them or not, each of these demonstrated the power of having and using a “win theme”.

To uncover the right messaging for creating and branding a powerful “win theme” for your organization, or your strategic sales campaign, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What will DISTINGUISH us by capturing the true essence of the combined unmatchable strength(s) that only we can uniquely provide?
  2. What will directly DEFINE us (who we are and what we are all about) while indirectly DEFINING the competition. (It is essential that we define ourselves before the competition defines us and that we make every attempt to define the competition before they define themselves.)
  3. Will our “Win Theme” have the power to set and maintain the DIALOGUE throughout our sales campaign?

Once you finalize your intellectual heavy lifting and work through these three questions, boil all your answers down into one simple phrase (think bumper sticker, mantra, rallying cry, slogan) you will have given birth to a powerful “win theme”. You want to arrive at “singularity”. And when you have accomplished this, you will have given birth to your company specific “win theme”. Now, don’t make the mistake of being shy with it. Tastefully plaster it everywhere, in emails, on Power Point presentations; taglines etc. Make a concerted effort to brand it, knowing that when you have accomplished this, you will have just:

Established the ONE thing that will cause a
Customer to buy from you,
While at the very same time,
Cause that customer not to buy from a

Photograph taken by Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com