The Power of Negative Thinking

By Bill Farquharson
In May 15, 2015

As a lifelong Optimist, it’s hard to write a blog with this title, but upon further review, perhaps there is something to thinking negatively every now and then.

I’m not suggesting that it’s more beneficial to be Eeyore than it is Tigger. The wonderful thing about Optimism is that Optimism is a wonderful thing. We all like to buy from upbeat, positive people. We like to be around them. We like to meet them and to marry them. But there is a benefit to thinking negatively when it comes to sales.

Case in point:

“What if my presentation is rejected?

Let’s say you are making a sales call on a customer and you walk in with a proposal to deliver. It’s an excellent idea and a fair price. It’s a win-win in the client, quite frankly, would be crazy not to accept the proposal. Well, apparently they’re nuts because they flatly rejected without explanation, leaving you staring at them and they at you.

The Optimist has already celebrated and spent the commission check on a new Harley. He sees himself at the top of the leaderboard and is mentally preparing acceptance speech for being named Salesman of the Year.

And then, depression sets in…

By thinking negatively, this same Optimistic sales rep anticipates this possibility and is prepared with a backup proposal. A Plan B. And old saying in sales goes like this: If you can’t sell someone what they need, sell them what they want. Thinking negatively helps you plan for the worst-case scenario.

“What if I lose my biggest account?

Customers, these days, are like waves on the ocean. Some are bigger than others. In fact, some of them are massive and you ride each of them like a skilled surfer. However, all waves eventually hit the beach.

The Optimist sees a bountiful future. The negative thinker sees that same vision however also housed the thought, “What if?”

As a result, the negative thinker never stops prospecting and is constantly thinking about a replacement.

“What if I’m wrong that no one wants to hear from me on the Friday?

This negative thought exposes one of the biggest assumptions a sales rep can make. We believe Friday afternoons to be a terrible time to make a sales call. No one will pick up, the theory goes, because people really want to start their weekends.

In this case, even the Optimist falls into the trap of missing 100% of the shots she never takes. The negative thinker challenges her own assumptions and as a result, makes connection and gains an appointment.

Eeyore might not make many sales. His demeanor is not likely to turn a lot of heads his way. But there is much to be learned by embracing his sales approach every once in a while: “Oh no. We are doomed.

Ever the optimist, Bill Farquharson believes fervently that he can drive your sales momentum. Check out his programs as well as the free sales tips and Short Attention Span Webinars at Or call Bill at 781-934-7036.

Bill Farquharson

Epicomm Vice President Bill Farquharson previously served as President of Aspire For, a sales training and consulting firm in Duxbury, MA, and is a 30+ year sales veteran in the print and form industries. He has trained thousands of print sales representative, sales managers, and “selling owners” with a highly successful, no-nonsense “old school” approach. His unique training programs—The Sales Challenge, The Mobile Sales Club, and Tuesday eWorkshops—have become an industry standard for driving new business. Bill has trained and coached sales people from Xerox, Fuji Xerox, HP Indigo, Heidelberg, EFI, Konica-Minolta, and others. An active columnist and blogger for Printing Impressions magazine,, he also shares two weekly electronic eblasts each week with thousands worldwide: Monday Video Sales Tip and Friday Short Attention Span Webinars. Bill received a B.A. degree in Marketing from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst and worked in sales at UARCO Business Forms, Advanced Form Systems, and Print Tec Network, prior to founding his own firm.

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