libertarian deodarantI have been told that my new political party has a bad reputation-statists, anarchists, white spectacled geeky males, conspiracy theorists, alarmists etc.  My old political party has a bad reputation too-neocons, tea partiers, racists, homophobes, right wingers, Bible thumpers, intolerants , hate mongers, pro-life, moralists etc.  The other party has a bad reputation as well-bleeding heart liberals, socialists, government leeches, left wingers, entitled,  pro-choice, amoral etc.

When pondering which one to be affiliated with, obviously, reputation cannot be the deal breaker. None is “without sin”.

All parties have common goals to increase their members and strengthen party loyalty among their members.

In order to do this you need to become what I am-a closer.  We are really all closers from the day we are born.  From our very first cry, to our list for Santa, the apple for the teacher, the first kiss, the second date, the ring on your finger, the job offer, the job promotion, we are always selling and someone is always buying.  We are all closers.  I, however, am a professional closer because of my career in sales.  A big part of closing is overcoming the bad reputation, or misinformation of the product or organization.

I have faced how to overcome a bad reputation since I was a child.  I tried to sell my faith in Christ to my Grandpa Amadeo when I was eight years old.  Being a Christian had a bad reputation for him because he came from the “Old World” where the Catholic church was a menace to personal freedom and choice, that ruled with an iron fist.  I didn’t do very well in closing Grandpa.  When I asked him if he had been saved, he  proceeded to tell me story after story of all his near death experiences.  I learned lesson # 1 in being a closer-know your audience and communicate in a language that they understand.

I learned more about being a closer in college.  Your grade was always better if you made time to befriend your professor.  Most professors craved a certain amount of hero worship.  I learned how to do this without compromising my Christian morals. Closing Lesson #2 -make them feel important.

I also learned about closing as the token “born again” evangelical Christian in my college dorm full of atheists, agnostics and non-protestants. I was shy and quiet and non-confrontational, but somehow I would find myself debating Christianity  with my dorm mates. This is where I learned closing lesson #3 -arm yourself with knowledge.  So along with my school studies, I read books like Evidence that Demands a Verdict, Mere Christianity, A Case for Christ and took extension courses on Bible Survey from a Christian Liberal Arts College. This allowed me to give an answer for the questions they had.

1 Peter 3:15

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,

This also fulfilled closing lesson #4-an objection is not a rejection, it is just a request for more information.  Give them the information and you might get the sale.

It was when I began my career in sales that I learned the most important lesson in being a closer that overrides all other lessons.  It is “You may be the only Bible some people will ever read”.

You are the best argument for overcoming any bad reputation and getting the sale.  Your job is to be the difference they are looking for. Break the mold of the image that they have of your faith, your product or your political party. When I recently shared my political affiliation with a new acquaintance her response was,” You don’t seem like you would be a member of that party.” Bingo! We can change the image one person at a time.

I wouldn’t describe myself as having any of the characteristics given for any of the political parties.  I am an individual with my own ideas and values and emotions unique to me and no one else.  I believe most people would agree that they are not any label that could be placed on them.  This is the basis of our common ground.   Individualism is the hallmark of humanity.

As the old saying goes “Be the change you want to see in the world”.  Be different by embracing who you are and be willing to embrace the individuality of others. In acceptance, you will find the common ground that will motivate others to buy your product, or organization.

When you are secure in who you are, you are able to accept others for who they are and  a mutual respect is born.  In this mutual respect buds a relationship and as the relationship grows, trust grows.  Trust moves people to enroll in your faith, your product or your political party. With trust there is no guarantee of a close, but without trust you are guaranteed not to close.  Work to build relationships and you will build your organization-the stronger those relationships, the stronger the organization’s success.

The foundation of real trust is care and compassion.  There is the saying “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” In order to earn trust you gotta have love.  If you believe that what you are selling is beneficial to the person you are enrolling, then your care for them is your motivation.  Your care creates the trust that binds the relationship, that will potentially close the sale.

If you are passionate about what you are selling then you must learn to transfer that passion to others.  You cannot move the mountain alone, but enough ants can move any mountain. Be willing to learn the lessons I have learned to become a closer.  Closers can build an army and an army can change the world.