By Christopher Thompson
Published Sunday February 22nd, 2009 – Union Leader NH Sunday News
My column this week is going to be a little different than you are used to. Instead of writing about my opinions and experiences related to sales and business, I am going to ask for your help. I am asking for your help because your help is needed and it is needed desperately. Please hear (read) me out.
Over the last several months, I have noticed a very disturbing trend. In nearly every conversation I have, whether it’s personal or business related, the person I am conversing with brings up something related to the economy. Whether it’s their fears, their experiences or their concerns, it always comes up. It never fails.
I have noticed the fear and concern increase drastically over the last several months and I think it’s fair to say we all have many very legitimate reasons to be concerned. I won’t get into all the negative aspects about the economic climate or all the propaganda that is weaved into every form of news you hear and see. I’ll leave that to the media.
But think about it, if you kept track of all the times you have discussed the economy and how often those discussions were negative in context, how much time have you spent discussing the economy? Have those negative discussions about the economy helped improve the economy? I didn’t think so. Have those discussions fueled the fire and created more fear, uncertainty and doubt in your mind and the minds of others? You bet they have!
And all of those discussions you have participated in related to the economy have taken you away from more productive tasks that may actually help your economic situation as well as the economic situation of others. How’s that for guilt?
I recently had a discussion with a typical negaholic who constantly rants and raves about how bad the economy is and how bad his sales are tanking. After letting him finish his rant, I asked him how much time he would estimate he spends talking about the economy each day. Although he wasn’t able to provide a guesstimate, I helped him along and got him to admit that he probably spends at least 30 minutes a day engaged in negative economic discussions. I then asked him how his sales performance would be impacted if he took that 30 minutes a day (2.5 hours a week, 10 hours per month) and focused his energy and time on activities that would actually drive business. Let’s just say he wasn’t too fond of me at this point.
I truly hope every sales and business professional can see my point. If we all let the fear of the economy consume our minds and time, our performance will be negatively impacted and the confidence in our economy will never be restored. It’s really that simple.
So I again ask for your help. I am asking you do to your part in helping the economy. I am asking you to join me on a mission with like-minded business professionals who refuse to let the negativity continue to spread. It is a mission in which we acknowledge the serious economic situation we are in, but refuse to let that situation control our attitudes and lives.
Please recognize that while on this mission you will be ridiculed. You will be called naive. You will be accused of being disconnected from reality. But know that your choice of refusing to waste time and energy discussing topics of which you have no control over is needed. It is needed in ways you and I can’t fathom.
Instead of focusing on the negative, let’s focus on the positive. Instead of getting sucked into the negative banter, refuse to waste time allowing your mind to be filled with poison. Instead of complaining, make a prospecting call or do some other type of activity that will positively impact your sales performance. And most importantly, share this mission with those you come in contact with that attempt to suck you into their world of apprehension. They need your help and they likely don’t even know it. I truly believe this mission is critical not only to your success but also to our economy as a whole. Do your part.