Negativity is a poison. It’s like carrying a heavy anchor while trying to swim. When you allow negativity into your mind, your body is infected as if you have a disease. It is toxic and needs to be addressed and removed. If not, it can destroy you, your marriage, your friendships, and your career.
Nobody likes a ‘Negative Nelly’
Nobody likes to be with negative people. Other people’s negativity brings you down psychologically and this can affect your own attitude about life, your relationships with others, and your job performance.
You may not be aware of it, but negative people can unintentionally ruin your day, your week, and perhaps your life. They may not intend to do your harm, but through their actions and speech, it can happen.
Sales pros, be wary
Negative and pessimistic thoughts are detrimental to our confidence and self-esteem. And they are extremely draining to those subjected to the constant negativity. This lack of positivity puts a damper on everything, going so far as to even react to other people’s good news with condescension or skepticism. In sales, if you do not have self-confidence, or are affected by such negativity, your prospects will sense it and you are unlikely to be successful.
Do you think your prospects, customers, managers, and peers won’t notice if you have a negative attitude? Perhaps some people are just so tuned out that they could walk blindly through a hurricane, but they are a small minority. So how do you think it will affect your sales performance if you have a negative outlook? Do you think you will perform at your best? I doubt it. Do you think the prospect will detect it, or may question your credibility or your company’s solutions? I do. And it would also be natural if they reacted negatively to your negative attitude. That will result in a lost opportunity.
Be buyer aware
Who wants to buy from a sourpuss or negative person?
Let’s look at it from the buyer’s side: If you were making a purchase decision and two salespeople called on you and one was very positive, with a great attitude, and seemed to be enjoying their job and life, and the other was negative and dour and started the conversation by telling you about the flat tire they had this morning after they accidentally spilled coffee on themselves, and then encountered a rainstorm on the way to your office, which person would you rather spend time with to discuss your needs?
The negative MO
I am sure you can identify people in your life who seem to go from one misfortune to another, believing the world is out to get them. These negatively-natured people are never satisfied, whether it’s with the food they ordered at the restaurant, the service from the wait staff, or the accommodations at hotels while on vacation. Moreover, they are likely to criticize your personal choices, whether it’s your home, your car, your lawn, your vacation trip, or the school you went to. Theirs is always better.
A very negative person will also react to other people’s good news with condescension or skepticism. These negative thoughts can undermine your confidence and self-esteem. I reiterate, in sales, if you do not have self-confidence, your prospects will sense it and you are unlikely to be successful.
Others may want to tell you, or more realistically, burden you with their problems, which may be nothing more than not being able to get a hairdresser appointment this week. Again, this constant negativity is toxic not just to them, but also to the people around them. It is extremely draining to be subjected to the ongoing negativity of others, and their pessimistic outlook puts a damper on everything.
To accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative
Enrich your life by getting rid of negativity. As sales expert Zig Ziglar said “Don’t let negative and toxic people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out.”
The Mental Health Foundation defines emotional health as “a positive state of wellbeing which enables an individual to be able to function in society and meet the demands of everyday life.” The achieving triathlete, marathoner, or mountain-climber believes he or she can complete the difficult physical and mental challenge, and that is largely why they succeed. If they didn’t think they could complete the task, would they even start, or would their efforts be “all-out?” Do you see how this can translate into your selling approach?
Mike Ditka, the Hall of Fame football player and Super Bowl-winning coach said, “If you have a bad attitude, it’s hard to do anything well. If you have a positive attitude and you’re willing to pay the price of work and discipline yourself, then you’ve got a chance.”
You own your success or failure. It’s not somebody else’s fault or fate if you are underachieving. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Wallow in self-pity and blame others? That won’t get you anywhere, except to create a more poisonous atmosphere. Yes, you may have had a bad break here and there, but whether you achieve your goals or not is up to you. You need to decide to get up and out of bed with the attitude that you will achieve the goals you set for yourself today.
In summary, your life will become more pleasant, your relationships with others will be better, and your success in sales will improve if you discard negativity and the negative people from your life as soon as possible. Do not make excuses, such as if they are a relative or you have known them for a long time. It doesn’t matter. They are like a tumor; the cure is removing it from your body to live a better life.
Steve Weinberg has spent his life selling and helping others sell better, sell faster, and sell more. He is an expert at building, guiding, and sustaining high-caliber sales teams, and creating exemplary standards in account management. He has over three decades of leadership experience in sales, including Vice Presidencies at Dun & Bradstreet Software, AC Nielsen, Solcorp (then part of EDS, now HP), and Deloitte and Touche. Steve earned a B.A. in Economics / Business Administration from North Park University, and an MBA from Loyola University of Chicago. He is also a CPA and has experience in accounting, consulting, and as a graduate-level Economics instructor. He is married and has two adult children. He is the author of Above Quota Performance (Armin Lear Press, 10/18/2022). Learn more at steveweinbergsales.com
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