The Sales Secrets of Barack Obama

Last Updated Sep 28, 2009 5:02 PM EDT

Roger Simon's recent op-ed column "The Depth of a Salesman" points out that Obama spends more time and effort selling his ideas to the public than any recent president. Here's an excerpt from the column:
He is doing record-setting numbers of interviews and appearances. Turn on the TV, and he is there: a town hall, an address to Congress, the talk shows (five, count 'em, five on one Sunday), an interview with David Letterman, a speech at the United Nations. If you follow politics, you no longer watch television. You watch Obamavision.
This has unsettled some who feel a president should hold something in reserve. George W. Bush certainly did. He was a "CEO-style" president. He delegated. Policies, decisions, invasions.
Obama sells. Wall to wall. He takes the stage, and he fills it. And he is on stage a lot. Telling him to stop - suggesting, as some have, that a president can't have this much exposure without fatiguing the public - is to miss the point. He is suited for what he is selling. He is an activist selling an activist agenda and an activist government.
This got me thinking. George W. Bush, as the first "CEO President" had a management book based on his presidency. Maybe Obama should have a sales training book based on HIS presidency.

Most personality-based business books have chapters titled as basic principles that the personality follows. (E.g. if Jay Leno did a sales book, it might have a chapter "Be a Nice Guy.")

I thought it might be fun for us to come up with a summary outline for Obama's book. Here's a start:

  • Chapter 1: Don't Panic! When things get difficult and everyone is losing their heads, a good sales professional stays calm, cool and collected, like "no-drama Obama."
  • Chapter 2: Don't Fight with a Skunk. When the competition acts ugly (e.g. screaming at town hall meetings), don't distract them from making idiots of themselves by making one of yourself.
  • Chapter 3: It's About the Customer, Not You. Despite many attempts to make Obama's presidency about his race, he keeps his focus on what he wants to accomplish, not his skin color.
  • Chapter 4: Inspire When You Sell. Obama's sales pitches (i.e. speeches) are famous for being inspirational, even when they're addressing knotty issues or unpopular causes.
Readers: Care to add some chapters of your own?