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Sales Solutions
Got Attitude? vol 4, issue #12_
December, 2007

This sales tip typically focuses on developing a skill, or recommending a strategy or tactic to implement. With this month's issue, we're taking a different, though equally important, slant. Our topic is Attitude. More specifically, how our attitude affects - both positively and negatively - our ability to perform our job and to produce quality output, as well as the satisfaction we get out of doing both well. And what we can do to turn a negative, potentially destructive attitude into a positive - or at least neutral - one that aids, rather than hinders us, in being able to do so.


How do you react when things don't go your way? Consider the following sample of common experiences we endure at work:

  • Suspects you cold call who don't return your (repeated) calls
  • Suspects you email who don't reply
  • Prospects with whom you're deep in a deal who suddenly drop off the planet
  • Losing a competitive deal you thought you had in the bag
  • A colleague in another department who's been falling short, affecting your ability to do your job
  • A boss whose decisions or requirements you frequently disagree with



How do you feel when your phone calls and e-mailed go unreturned? Aggravated? Frustrated? Or when your boss requires you to complete yet another piece of seemingly useless paperwork? Annoyed? Imposed upon? The list of daily and weekly aggravations that cause us angst, frustration - even anger - on which we waste untold amounts of psychic energy, is endless. They weigh on our minds, slowly eating away at us, sucking out valuable creative energy and enthusiasm. It's a lousy feeling. But how can we feel any other way? After all, we're only human.


True. In most cases, we don't have much, if any, control over what happens to us, and how it initially makes us feel. But is it possible to handle these eventualities in such a way that they don't get the better of us? Can we exercise any control over how we deal with them?


Sure we can.


As human beings, we have one capacity that other creatures on this planet don't - we have the capacity to choose how to respond to what happens to us. And if we try really hard, really put our minds to it - we can respond in ways that are healthful and constructive, rather than unhealthful and destructive, and that empower us to achieve our larger goals and objectives.


Let's take the apparently irresponsible colleague cited above. We can scream and yell all we want, taking a confrontational approach with this individual. But where will that get us? On the other hand, we can choose to do something that's admittedly counterintuitive - we can sit down with him and try to understand what's causing him to fall short, and try to resolve the issue together. Easier said than done, yes. For one thing, it would require you to check your charged-up emotions at the door. But there's logic behind this apparent incongruity.


Consider this: if you've been reading these tips for a while, you know by now that in any sales discussion, your chances of success go up if you ask questions and listen ("seek first to understand", as Steven Covey said in his highly-acclaimed and best-selling book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People), rather than making accusations or judgments based on your perception of the situation (no matter how obvious it may seem). So schedule a meeting with your coworker. Then approach the discussion as if it were a sales meeting. Ask questions, and listen for answers. In the course of doing so, you might learn that the guy's department lost two key staff members two months ago, and who have yet to be replaced. As a result, he's being pulled in three different directions at once, working twelve hour days just to get his own work done - and not getting compensated an extra dime for it. The requests of anyone outside his department - yours included - have therefore taken a back seat to getting his own work done, and getting out of there. But as a result of your coming to him and providing an outlet for him to blow off some steam, you strike him as a pretty good, reasonable guy - particularly in comparison to other employees who just bark at him. Guess whose projects he's now going to try to find ways to get done ahead of the others. Problem solved, angst alleviated.



Action Item:

This is the time of the year when many of us reflect on the past year - our successes and our failures. What we accomplished and what we didn't. A time when we commit to improvements in the coming year. If you're one of those people - or even if you're not - go someplace for a couple of hours where you'll be free of disturbances (yes, New Yorkers, such places do exist!). Arm yourself with nothing more than a pen and paper, and a clear mind. Draw a line down the middle of the page. On the left side, make a list of all the things that have been bothering, annoying, frustrating, or aggravating you. On the right side, come up with a creative way or two to deal with each issue constructively. When you get back to the office the following Monday (or your home - this works in our personal lives as well), begin implementing what you wrote. You'll soon find yourself feeling less stressed, more relaxed, more in control, and - eventually - more productive.



Good Selling!


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