Success begets success, positivity begets positivity and negativity begets negativity. Recently I was coaching a client who was dealing with an extremely negatively minded prospect. He was unsure of how to proceed with their offering because this prospect was constantly turning every discussion on its head, and in an extremely negative way. Have you ever faced a situation like this? I certainly have. After my client relayed this situation to me I immediately thought of a video that I had seen many years ago by Zig Ziglar: click here to see the video.
I do not necessarily recommend that you replicate Zig Ziglar’s method, but here are some useful tips when dealing with negatively minded prospects or customers:
- Be extremely cautious. The negative encounter will drain you of your energy and could have serious consequences for your subsequent meetings. You need to remain in your “A” game.
- From a potential business perspective, is this prospect worth the risk?
- Where is this negativity coming from? If it is related to your product or service, treat this as an ideal learning opportunity.
- Keep it light, remain detached but attuned otherwise the negativity is likely to escalate. If there are some genuine reasons for this negativity it is better to use words like “I hear you” or “I am sorry for your situation”. Do not feed the negativity by necessarily concurring with what is told to you.
- Do not try to solve the situation, you cannot change their mindset: they have to change it themselves. You will be more effective in demonstrating your positivity and ability to better manage the negative situation. After all, most people are not intentionally being negatively minded, they really would like to be positively minded.
- Take an introspective look at yourself! Many negatively minded people relish the opportunity to dig deeper into this cesspit by “collaborating” with other negatively minded people. It is actually very difficult to be negative when you are with someone who is externally optimistic.
- Lastly, consider whether this person needs professional help that you cannot offer: depending on the volatility of the situation and how comfortable you feel with this person, you may be able to suggest counselling.