"The Navigator" News Blog

Negativity Sells! Are You Buying? – Sales Training

Releasing negativity is more than attitude; it’s about your worldview.

You know, I’m amazed at how surrounded by negativity we are every day. Here’s but one example: Recently, I picked up a copy of Laura Ingraham’s “Of Thee I Zing,” which is touted as a humorous look at our culture. Now, I’m a Laura fan; in fact, I picked the book up at an author event here in Kansas City. I find her to be sharp and witty; unfortunately, I found the book to be anything but. It started as humorous, but after 200+ pages, what started out feeling funny felt more nasty and snippy – perhaps because of repetition.

Of course, you don’t have to buy books to find negativity. It is all around us, and I usually don’t notice it because I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky guy. Sure, I have my moments, but I decided years ago that as long as I’m looking down at the dirt, instead of up at it, any other issues are solvable. It seems, unfortunately, that too many people wish to wallow in what’s wrong rather than what’s right. Let’s talk about one particular manifestation and how it can affect your relationships and your career.

There’s an old saying in sales that goes something like this: “Buyers are liars.” You’ve probably heard it. Heard it? Heck, there are entire sales training philosophies and careers built on that saying! The idea is that the mere act of dealing with a salesperson is enough to turn an honest person into a lying scoundrel (I don’t think we use the word ‘scoundrel’ enough, and I’m trying to bring it back. Next week – ‘rapscallion’), and that if buyers are liars, we must go into sales calls with our defenses up to protect ourselves from those liars. Plus, if buyers are liars, that justifies whatever we do to them, right?

Wrong. If you’re going into a sales call prepared to deal with a liar, the way you act is going to send a message to the customer – and that message is that YOU can’t be trusted. After all, trust is a two-way street, and if you’re not prepared to give trust, you’d better not be prepared to receive it either. Do some customers lie? Absolutely. So do some doctors, lawyers, clergy, accountants, salespeople, etc. But ultimately those with ethical lapses are by far outnumbered by those who are willing to give the ethics they receive.

Over the years, I have found that customer mistrust – as well as acceptance of other negativity – is part of a larger worldview about one’s life and career. Worldviews are all-encompassing ways of viewing life and your place in the world, and it’s far too large a subject to deal with here. But we can take a small component of one’s worldview (the selling/professional component), and break it down here. Here are some pieces of my professional worldview:

  • As long as I’m looking down at the dirt, all other problems are solvable.
  • Most customers are prepared to deal with me in an open and honest fashion. And I’m a good enough judge of character to spot those who are not, and either discontinue the relationship or alter my behavior if necessary.
  • My professional rewards are in direct proportion to my inputs (the combination of effort, skills, and talents that I apply). And if I feel that the proportion slips, I should look in the mirror first.
  • The worst thing that can happen in a sales call isn’t that bad; there’s always another sales call to be made. And if the ultimate worst thing happens – I somehow lose my livelihood and savings, I’m good enough to make it back.
  • Every call I make is a potential new opportunity; every call I don’t make is a guaranteed lack of an opportunity.

Ultimately, I believe that we are all in control of our own destinies. Negativity, in all its many forms, is a loser’s lament. “Buyers are liars” is the ultimate excuse; after all, how can someone be expected to be successful in selling if he’s dealing with dishonesty day in and day out?

For those reasons, negativity sells. The only question is – are you buying?