One day, I was sitting on an airplane, waiting to take off. Before they closed the doors, a good friend called me to tell me that a person known to me was systematically tweeting something my friend believed would somehow harm me.
I had written a post criticizing a CFO for suggesting that the sales force was responsible for the company missing its target. The CFO said this out loud on CNBC. If you are a leader, you are responsible for your team’s results. Several members of the company’s sales force sent me emails while the CFO was still on TV explaining their poor results. Certainly, this company had sales leaders and sales managers who were responsible for ensuring their teams were tracking toward their goals in the months and weeks before the reporting date. The person disparaging me on Twitter took issue with my position on this.
My friend suggested that our peers should do something about the person tweeting about me, but instead of trying to stop him, I asked him to do nothing and to communicate to our friends that I didn’t want them to do anything. The person going after me on Twitter was only harming himself. If I were challenged about what I wrote, I wouldn’t change my position. The company’s failure was a failure of leadership.
As my friends and I ignored the person on Twitter, he wasted two days trying to harm me without ever succeeding. No one cared about his negative tweets. Naturally, I said nothing. It isn’t my business what other people think of me. I decided long ago not to try to change a person’s mind.
I spoke in San Francisco to 500 sales leaders and salespeople. My keynote was about the changes in B2B sales, and how salespeople needed to create value. One strategy was about differentiating by focusing on the strategic outcomes instead of the solution. Theodore Levitt, a marketing professor at Harvard Business School, famously said, “People don’t buy drills. They buy quarter-inch holes.” The holes are the outcomes. The drill is the solution.
After I was done speaking, one person reported to me that there was someone in the back of the room who believed everything I said was wrong and believed that buyers treated every salesperson as a commodity because that was his experience. I replied that I was disappointed that only one person suggested I was wrong about how to sell. I would want more people to wrestle with the ideas I shared.
I was supposed to be unhappy that someone didn’t like what I had to say. The person who reported this to me hinted that I knew the person, trying to get me to ask who might have been unhappy with my view of B2B sales. It didn’t matter to me who said it, and I had no interest in trying to change his mind. The reporter went on to say that this person also didn’t like my book and had written their own, again trying to pique my curiosity. I still didn’t care because I didn’t believe any of it mattered.
This belief shows up in The Negativity Fast: Proven Techniques to Increase Positivity, Reduce Fear, and Boost Success as “You never have to worry about the opinion of a person who is not going to attend your funeral.” The people that show up to your funeral are the people you need to worry about most. That list will be your family and your friends, as it should be.
It seems it is easy to get wrapped up in what other people think about you, and doing so can cause you to be negative. Even if someone says something about you to other people, there is no reason to give it a minute of your time or your emotional energy.
Eventually, the negative person will be recognized as a gossip, someone who spreads rumors and tries to assassinate other people’s character. In truth, a person who confesses other people’s sins is assassinating their own character, proving who they are through their actions and their words.
If you have children, you may know that boys are physical. If they have a scuffle, it ends fast and, unless the person is a bully, that one event tends to end the conflict. If you have girls, you will know they often use psychological violence, ostracizing and isolating individual girls who get bullied on Finsta, the fake Instagram accounts they hide from their parents.
This bullying can cause real harm, including sleep problems, self-isolation, and cognitive effects that can cause real harm. If allowed to continue, some people end up with real mental health issues.
People who have read The Negativity Fast have given me feedback, often about not worrying about other people’s opinions, and it strikes me that I may have to write a Negativity Fast for Teens. After writing the strategies for adults, why wouldn’t we start teaching these strategies to teens and pre-teens, who will need to deal with the negativity that surrounds them.
This week is the launch of The Negativity Fast. We have done well with orders until now, but the first week of a new book is critical. If you will buy the book, you can go here to look at the bonuses. You can get the book at Amazon, but if you are willing, it would help me more if you would order yours from Barnes & Noble.
This week, thesalesblog.com reached 5,107 blog posts. You may get this email each week, but I want to remind you to search for sales, leadership, and success on the platform.
After the launch of this book, we will announce a new program for individuals, followed by the One-Up Book Club. I have the first four books all lined up. Both programs will improve your ability to know things that will help you help your clients and your prospective clients. We are excited to bring both to you going into 2024.
Here is a link to an article Chief Executive published this week titled “Beating Negativity in Teams”: https://chiefexecutive.net/beating-negativity-in-teams/
Do good work this week and be positive!