This week has seen Philip Hammond’s first Budget. No matter what the changes are concerning welfare and taxation in the wake of Brexit, it’s important that he delivers a cogent plan for the road ahead. The big questions behind that little red Budget box are agonised over by the government annually - and for good reason.
Although segmented in quarters, a similar overarching annual approach is required for the private sector. Just as Budgetary strategy is split into areas such as defence, welfare and education, I try to emphasise to my staff the importance of breaking down their roles in a similar fashion. It’s important to remember that all of your responsibilities are interlinked. Updating your CRM may sometimes be just as, or even more important than, delivering a client presentation well - there are no guarantees and there can be unforeseen consequences.
Another key parallel that can be drawn with sales is the amount of external scrutiny of the announcement. I know it’s of paramount importance to listen to the needs of your client - just as it’s important for the chancellor to be attuned to the needs of the British public. However, the mark of a good sales professional is to stay the course and believe in your convictions - just as Hammond has confidence in his.
The image of the chancellor brandishing the budget box may seem ostentatious, but it serves a vital purpose. Image is as significant in a sales setting as it is in the public sphere. I’ve overseen deals won by seemingly the most trivial details, which stretch to the professional appearance and behaviour of those involved. The importance of dressing yourself and your deal for your audience cannot be overstated.
Our national Budget forecasts the distribution of billions of pounds - affecting the fate of everyone in the UK and many overseas. It’s a great allegory for sales. The careful deliberation that goes into the Budget needs to be mirrored in your approach to clients both old and new. You may be tempted to speak to a client today to hit your targets in the short term, but it may be more prescient to hold off on a prospect that could promise return business in the long term. Step back, retain composure and think about the consequences of your actions - you can be sure Hammond will.