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Brexit. The Ultimate Strategic Sell (Part 1).

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

Brexit. It’s a bit of a mess isn’t it? Whatever your political persuasion there appears to be very few people in the country who are happy with progress to date.

There is no doubt that Theresa May has a very difficult job on her hands when the country appears so divided. A lot has been written about her leadership style and whether she is sufficiently flexible to broker a deal that is acceptable to all sides.  But what if the issue is not her ability to lead but is more to do with her ability to sell? In fact, the whole Brexit process certainly fits our definition of a ‘strategic’ sale i.e. it is a complex negotiation that takes place over an extended timeframe and involves multiple stakeholders.

As the clock ticks towards Brexit we take a look at how Theresa May’s approach to Brexit matches up to the key capabilities required to be successful in a sales negotiation as defined in our Acuity® for Strategic Sales model. The model comprises three key dimensions and in this blog, we’ll take a look at the first dimension relating to an individual’s personal drive.

Our review of sales studies and academic research shows that to be successful in sales an individual must have a strong internal desire to achieve success, they must be resilient and they must feel that their efforts are in support of a cause that is greater than themselves. They must also have clear goals that are aligned to the objective they are trying to achieve. In fact, setting goals can boost an individual’s persistence and self-efficacy thereby increasing their chances of being successful by up to 30%.

As someone who campaigned for Remain prior to the referendum some question whether Theresa May is really motivated to deliver Brexit, although her dogged determination to drive her deal through would suggest otherwise. By grasping the nettle and sticking rigidly to her “Brexit means Brexit” mantra the Prime Minister has shown total focus on successfully delivering a Brexit deal, perhaps due to her feeling a higher sense of purpose as described above. And, despite taking flak from all sides, each time she has been rebuffed by Brussels or boxed into a corner by Brexiteers, Theresa May has kept going. She is nothing if not resilient. As for her goals, her famous ‘red lines’ indicate that she does indeed have a vision of what she wants to deliver. Unfortunately for her, that vision appears to be unacceptable to many of the other critical players in the process.