As many were saddened, when I learned about the tragic death of Robin Williams, I wonder how someone with so much could not be eternally grateful for what he had. He was well loved and respected by many. He had a wife and children. He had all the material things one could ask for, yet he was overwhelmed by the negative. I’m sure there is more to the story but compared to the plight of many in the world, Mr. Williams had it quite well, yet didn’t see it.
In sales it’s also easy to focus on what we don’t have. You may find your self-talk, at times, sounds like “My territory isn’t as good as my colleague” or “Our website isn’t as robust as our competition” or “Our service is horrible! How can I sell under circumstances like these?” When you find yourself in this death spiral of negativity, take a step back and look at reality.
I have a client whose top salesperson regularly complains that he receives weekly calls about how bad their service is. The manager ran the numbers just to see what percentage of the top sales person's clients were actually experiencing bad service. His initial motivation for the exercise was to gather data to support his argument that there needed to be changes operationally. Unfortunately, what he found was less than one percent of the top salesperson’s clients were actually experiencing bad service. But that one percent seemed like fifty percent to his salesperson. Why? Because when customers experience good service they rarely take the time to call and tell you. Have you ever heard ”I’m really busy but I just wanted to call you to say we didn’t have any service issues today” from a customer? From time to time you probably get calls when your service goes above and beyond expectations but most customers that are satisfied don’t proactively tell you.
That’s why it’s your responsibility to balance the good with the bad. During the weeks when you get a slew of calls from upset customers, be sure to do a reality check to avoid the negative death spiral. Call a few loyal, happy customers and thank them for their business. Ask them what it is that they value about your company. You'll likely be overwhelmed by the positive responses of your best clients. It’s human nature to blow things out of proportion at times. Some suffer from this affliction more than others but everyone does to some degree. In sales, if you let it get out of hand, it will cost you commissions.
- Jim Mattei