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Rocket Fuel -Protecting your most valuable asset

Today’s Rocket Fuel is about protecting your most valuable asset in sales; your attitude. As powerful as a good attitude can be for increasing results, a good attitude can also be fragile. In this excerpt of TOP Seller, Bob Stephens is having coffee with Amir, his co-worker:


Amir and I both sit there in silence, sipping our coffee and checking out the other patrons in the shop. I decide to change the direction of the conversation. "So Amir, have you sold any new contracts lately? Last time I talked to you, you had a couple of clients holding the pen ready to sign." "Don't get me started…" he says, sitting up straight with his body language coming alive. I know this means exactly the opposite. It might be more appropriate if he said, "Thanks for getting me started. I didn't know what else to talk about anyway." He continues with, "I can't believe the company - they screw everything up. I hand them this great client all signed, sealed, delivered, and they messed up the whole thing! First, it started with the admin staff, and then home office screwed it up too. When I found out about it, I marched into Sparky's office and unloaded the whole mess on him. Didn't you say the same thing happened to you just a few months ago?" By this time, I can clearly see the pattern forming. He wants to drag me into the 'doom and gloom' world where we often live. Unfortunately, Amir is right about me complaining; I did sit there in that same seat and I complained exactly the same way Amir is now. But, I decide, today is a new day and it is time to break the chain. "You're right Amir; I did gripe about those problems. But you know what? My biggest problem is the person looking back at me when I look in the mirror," I pause, "it's me. Not the admin staff, not head office, and not Jay. In fact, that is why I was meeting with Jay this morning: I am looking to turn my business around and get my sales up where they should be again. It starts with taking ownership for my success or failure… it starts with looking for solutions instead of problems." Amir looks at me with a shocked expression on his face. Before he says anything I continue. I put my hand on his shoulder and say, "Amir, you and I have got to stop meeting like this," I say, smiling. "You and I need a 'check-up from the neck-up.' I enjoy your company, really. But, I don't want to come down here and then waste our time beefing about what's wrong. I want to talk about what's right, and what you and I can do to get better. I want to talk to you about my ideas and hear your ideas too!" Amir sits there in silence. He grabs his coffee and takes the last drink. After a few moments, he responds quietly with, "You're right Bob. We do have to stop meeting like this," and he proceeds to get up and leave without saying another word. I sit there, watching Amir disappear from the coffee shop. That was not the reaction I was hoping for, but the reality is that old habits die hard. I pay the bill and go back to my office; maybe Amir will get over this and maybe he won't. The bottom line is, I can't afford to take what precious optimism and enthusiasm I have and waste it complaining about things that I can't change. I need to surround myself with people who see the cup half full: people who recharge my energy and brighten my outlook. Hopefully, Amir will be one of those people.


At any given time, these types of conversations are taking place in coffee rooms, closed offices, photocopy rooms, etc. People will always complain about one thing or another, and that's okay. Just remember, though, your optimism and good attitude are precious and fragile commodities, and you need to protect them. If you find that the people around you complain a lot, the first thing you need to do is look in the mirror. Ask yourself how these same people would describe you. And when you find yourself in a 'what's wrong with this world' discussion, don't feel as though you need to jump in and support the individual. Supporting them in 'what is wrong' only stands to make both of you feel more desperate about the situation. So what's the answer? Simply don't add fuel and the fire will eventually die. And if that doesn't work, excuse yourself from the situation and remember, it's onward and upward.


Brian Kjenner


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