Don’t Be A Debbie Downer

5 05 2010

It’s 6:30 am and your alarm clock is blaring that awful beep that seems to reverberate through your skull and give you an instant headache.  It’s time to get ready for work.  And you are NOT happy about it.  You worked a long day yesterday, and the day before, and it looks like your weekend is once again going to be spent (you guessed it) at work.  You aren’t the only one feeling the strain of this grueling pace – everyone at work seems to be in a slump.  Negativity is hovering like a cloud over each and every desk – it seems like all anyone can do is grumble about their jobs as they half-heartedly plod away at the ever-expanding pile of work on their desk. 

Sound familiar?

The US Bureau of Labor found that US companies lose $3 billion a year because of negative attitudes and behaviors in the workplace.  $3 BILLION!  That’s a lot of missed sales commission.  Now, there are all sorts of resources out there for handling negativity for managers, but what is out there for us salespeople?  Not only are we dealing with Debbie Downers in our own work places, but we put ourselves up for rejection from multiple other workplaces daily.  Here are a few simple steps that I have taken to try to rev up my positivity and try to keep it alive in others.

Check Your Own Attitude

All salespeople all have down days.  It’s just the nature of our jobs!  The important thing is that you don’t let it slow you down or infect those around you.  When I feel like just quitting life I have a few go-to coping methods:

  • Zoloft.  No wait just kidding!
  • Make a list of goals that you can accomplish quickly and cross off the list.  This helps keep you moving and gives a great feeling of “getting it done.”
  • Spend a few hours working remotely from a local from a local coffee shop with a calming atmosphere.  Not only will this calm you and keep you from bringing coworkers down, but I have gotten several clients just from striking up conversations at my favorite spot –The Coffee Exchange!
  • Call your favorite client – just to “check in.”  They will undoubtably be glad to hear from you and express appreciation for your courtesy call.
  • Keep a file of the thank you letters and letters of recommendation you have gotten from clients along the way.  I love looking at these to remind me why I enjoy my job and that I am good at it.

Negativity in Coworkers

  • I keep a jar of candy in my desk.  Whenever I hear someone complaining I take it out and ask them if they want a piece.  Not so sly, but it does seem to change the person’s attitude instantly!
  • If you have a close friend at work, have a talk with them about avoiding negativity.  Hold each other accountable and really strive to keep your work area positive.
  • Thank people when they do something to support you.
  • Compliment people on a job well-done.
  • Ask coworkers about NON-work related things like kids, weddings, pets, families etc. to get their mind off of their stress and into a happier place.

Negativity in Clients

  • I try to NEVER open myself up for client negativity, unless it is something serious.  I strive to be the ray of sunshine that pierces their workplace gloom- the person they look forward to seeing.  You can do this any way you want – bring cookies, donuts, flowers, send thank-yous, or even just a genuine interest in the client and you are sure to make your positive mark.
  • A lot of the points for co-worker negativity apply here as well.

Above all, you can really only control yourself in these situations.  Keep yourself positive and avoid situations that will make you feel otherwise!

If you don’t like something change it; if you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.  ~Mary Engelbreit





Don’t Build Rapport By Sucking Up.

2 10 2009

Michigan-1Rapport Building is taught in Sales 101.  You gotta find an area of commonality and build that relationship, girl! Lame.  Every other sales person goes into meetings with the same strategy – look around the office at pictures, posters, diplomas, books, whatever, and ask questions.  OMG!  You have the best sponge collection!

 

Aren’t you original.

 

I recently stumbled upon an even better way to build a connection with a new client – competition.  No really.  I had a first-meeting with the director of a nationally recognized sports organization to pitch SnapShotU, a great new online application from my company, Consolidated Graphics.  I did my pre-call research and learned all about the guy.  I was in luck and discovered that we had TONS in common – he was from the same area of Northeast Ohio as myself and even attended a college right near mine.  I couldn’t wait to impress him into liking me.

 

The meeting started off in the standard “arms-length-hand-shake” way as we situated ourselves around the table.  Time to implement rapport building.  I had decided that the best strategy was to slyly ask questions that I already knew the answers to: “Where are you from?”  “Gasp… OHIO?!  No way.  Me too?!  What a small, small world.  I’m shocked.” The atmosphere gradually warmed as I peppered my sales pitch with “unplanned” discoveries of areas we had in common.

 

As the meeting drew to a close, I decided it was time to pull my ace out of my sleeve and really seal the deal.  You see, 99% Ohioans are fierce football fans.  We are split in our loyalty to professional teams, but unite behind the crimson and gray of the Ohio State Buckeyes.  For years the Bucks have been a source of pride and camaraderie for Ohioans worldwide.  As I wrapped up the meeting, I dropped in a casual remark about the Buckeyes with a winning smile.

His smile faded.  Uh Oh.

 

The guy was a Michigan Wolverine’s fan – the arch-nemesis of Ohio State going back 85 years.  To my great surprise, this contention turned out to warm our relationship up even more.  I returned to my office and decided to focus on this awkward moment rather than all of the pleasantries.  I found a Michigan Wolverine’s paraphanalia site and ordered him a fan towel.  I sent it to him along with a note reading

“Here is a little something for you to show your team spirit, not that it will help you in your game against State this weekend!  Try to wave it extra hard and see if magic happens.”

 

Score.  By focusing on our differences I was able to make him laugh and make myself stand out.  We now have plans to attend an Air Force Football game where the combined love for beer and the pigskin will hopefully continue to position me in his mind as the first thing he thinks of when he needs print.