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Misery Loves Company?

Jeff Shore - sales trainer and authorThe thing about both positive and negative energy is that both are competing forces. Whichever one is stronger will win.

Over the years, I’ve encountered sales professionals who fear being TOO positive with their customers. They don’t want to be labeled as a Pollyanna or as someone who is not truly listening to valid concerns from buyers.

One of my colleagues summed up this fear well when she brought up the idea that “misery loves company” and wondered if perhaps she should sometimes join a client in their less than positive state of mind as a way of connecting with them. Here is my complicated answer to that:


For the love of sales people everywhere, just say no to the misery magnet!

Misery doesn’t “love company,” misery is too focused on itself to love anything. Misery loves validation.

Validation is not joining in someone else’s negativity; it is respectfully acknowledging it and then moving forward!

Yes, your customer may have had some negative buying experiences. You can listen to their descriptions of these experiences, offer an appropriate response (“I am sorry that was your experience…I am working hard to make sure you have a very different experience this time around.”) and move on.

Perhaps your client is a “Negative Nelly,” and has a pessimistic take on the buying process, giving voice to every single negative thought that passes through their head. So what. It is not your place to join them in that world of negativity. Find some way to stay both sane and positive and not give too much time to any one person’s habit of negativity.

It is your job to outlast your customer in maintaining a positive edge no matter WHAT kind of energy they have.

If it helps, think of encounters with customers as having a finite amount of space. Your job is to FILL that space with positive energy, leaving no area for negative energy to exist. Arm yourself with kindness and patience (maybe they really HAVE had negative experiences), don’t forget to validate, and STAY POSITIVE. Leave misery alone (it really doesn’t like company), and change someone’s world!
Jeff Shore is a highly sought-after sales expert, speaker, author and executive coach whose innovative BE BOLD methodology teaches you how to change your mindset and change your world. His latest book, “Be Bold and Win the Sale: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Performance,” (McGraw-Hill) was published in January, 2014. Learn more at jeffshore.com and follow Jeff on Twitter.