The High Cost of Negativity

by Patrick OToole

You’ve got a lead in your hand. An appointment has been set and confirmed by your office. You’re an experienced salesperson, project manager or company owner. You know your product, and you believe you know how to present it. If this is a successful sales call, you may stand to earn a sizable commission, a bonus and/or a profit for your company. You believe you’re in the right frame of mind, and you hope the customer is also.

But wait: This morning when you arose, you saw the news on your TV or mobile device. They explained how the economy was erratic, the stock market lost some points, and unemployment is destined to get even higher. Many large companies weren’t making the amount of money they projected earlier. However, you shrugged that off, had breakfast and met with those in your office; some discussed yesterday’s sales call and the reasons why their prospects didn’t buy, which may be related to the very stories you heard on the news.

Before your sales call today, you pick up the local newspaper, scroll through stories on social media and listen to the news on your car radio. You receive the same negative implants that you heard on television: stories of rapes, murders, assaults, robberies, state and local budget problems, potential tax increases and more.

You Have Been Infected!

Like it or not, unless you know how to counter this information, it may very well affect your ability to sell those customers and prospects whom you will meet. Why, you ask? Because the mind doesn’t know the difference between the real and imagined.

Regardless if the information is true or not, it is negative. Psychological studies show that as little as 5 to 10 minutes of negative input can affect your central nervous system for up to 20 hours, thus reducing your energy and depleting your positivity with those you will communicate with today.

The average business selling products or services to property owners on a direct basis faces a multitude of challenges. As an example, in the past 8 to 9 months, leads have been abundant for most companies, and industry projections forecast improved consumer interest in remodeling and/or improving their homes for the next year. Our in-depth survey supports this; however, we also see and hear the following:

  • Backlog and cycle time have increased.
  • The cost for an issued lead and overall marketing costs have increased.
  • Despite an increase in annual revenues, net pre-tax profitability percentage has declined. (Revenue increased, but percentage of profit decreased.)
  • While customer interest and lead intake have improved dramatically, there is still (often) an unacceptable personnel turnover rate.

The High Need for Improved Training

Probably at no time in the history of your business has there been a greater need for facing the avalanche of pessimism and negativity that infuses our culture today. It creates negative consequences for all individuals and represents a strong challenge to those who sell and market products to homeowners. It reminds us of the opening line from Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

Have you learned the methods to uncover needs by decoding what the customers say they want? In fact, in most conversations between buyers and sellers, the buyer states wants, which the seller misinterprets as needs. The process for uncovering this takes training, coaching and reinforcement. Here is a simple chart that examines it:

Fifty years ago, major studies in behavioral psychology revealed the variations in left-versus-right brain stimulation. The graphic below defines the concept. The basic premise is defined in these statements:

“Prospects normally weigh decisions in the left side of the brain and make buying decisions in the right side of the brain.”

“A prospect properly stimulated will picture themselves using your product/service.”

Creating Cooperative Buyers

When an individual is experiencing heavy doses of negativity, they will either miss or ignore statements that can lead them to a more cooperative position. Here is where strong training, monitoring and coaching come into play. Rapport is developed when the seller employs methods by which customers can voluntarily become more cooperative.

Do you employ a proven customer satisfaction step-selling program? It starts with recognizing that the prospect/customer is the key ingredient in a sound sales methodology. How the prospect thinks and feels has to be the major consideration in the development of a sales system—or that system will eventually fail. Recognize that people seldom “buy” your product/service. They “buy” what that product/service does for them.

Staying Positive

The majority of property owners are not facing foreclosure or unemployment. The majority of people want to keep their homes or commercial property in good shape. Concentrate on a “customer satisfaction sales system.”

Don’t fail to earn the trust of your customer, and above all, don’t fail to ask for the order more than once if necessary. If your customer is not buying, examine why. Did you uncover their needs? Did you present value prior to quoting price? Did you gain rapport? Did you present your product in a positive, favorable light?

Don’t Buy into the Media Negativity

Remind yourself that when people re-trench, the majority of their spendable income goes towards their material needs, including the care and maintenance of their homes or commercial property. Spend less time on news updates and more time on activities that will make you feel positive.

Work on improving your sales skills to meet or exceed the customer’s value system. Utilize language that helps you search for validity. Encourage solution and overcome procrastination. You are a salesperson. Live up to your title and potential.

It’s up to you to convince others about the value of what you are selling, all while being positive and reinforcing what you’ve been taught in a high-energy, positive manner. This day is yours; let no one take it away from you. QR

Dave Yoho is the president of Dave Yoho Associates ( He introduced step-selling to the industry in 1961 and has continued to develop processes that led to the growth of many companies. His best-selling series, The Science of Successful In-Home Selling, is one of the most information-loaded training formats for in-home salespeople today. He can be reached at 703.591.2490 or

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