Every day, the news is filled with one crisis or another, real or imagined. Television networks prepare frightening stories to get ratings while magazines and newspapers flash alarming headlines to spur newsstand sales. The result: people’s expectations get lowered and their fears elevated by the media’s relentless negative skew. 

Just think, for a moment, about who benefits from promoting a “panic du jour?” Newspaper publishers increase their fortunes with stories that make 5% unemployment appear to be some sort of national disaster. Book authors know they can get big bucks for best-sellers predicting some catastrophe, economic or natural. Then, there are the movies raking in big profits portraying possible terrorist attacks. Drug companies take in record revenues with every possible new malady. Software designers make it with every new story about a possible Internet virus. We’re being fed a steady stream of media-induced negatives – today’s version of “fear mongering,” if you ask me!

Why do negative TV news shows, magazines and books get to us so easily? 

When our lives are filled with prosperity and abundance, as has been the case in the past decade or so, we have a tendency to start fearing the worst and we want to know what could go wrong, according to Paul Lovic, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.

As reported in the Wall Street Journal, professor Lovic noted: “It’s much easier to scare than [to] unscare. We trust people who tell us we’re in danger more than people who tell us we’re not in danger,” he said.

Even in our own industry we’re reading reports of declining sales, earnings and reorganizations. And, if we add to those reports a daily diet of negative news from the mainstream media, it shouldn’t be surprising that we can become accepting of lowered expectations. 

And therein is the real danger for everyone, particularly the sales team, in every dealership this spring. I call it falling into complacency, which is what results when we become comfortable with any circumstance. In this case, if we’re getting comfortable with low expectations for sales this spring, that complacency will guarantee the low expectation!

No, we need to accentuate that sales have always been made in every economy and the only thing that will keep a good salesman from making them this spring will be complacency. It’s time to do whatever it takes to keep complacency from getting rooted in your store.