Don’t slip to the dark side.  Not in front of your customers anyway.

Sellers, you know what I mean.  You read an email from a potential buyer that just doesn’t sit right.  Or, you just read a post in a discussion forum that raises your hackles.  Or maybe another seller just implied that you’re not doing things “the right way.”   You know, their way.

Your fingers are on the keyboard before you even exhale.   You fire off a blur of  emotional paragraphs  peppered with words and phrases that may not be as professional as you would normally write.   You might write with anger, sarcasm, or even profanity. 

Have I done this?  Yep.  “How’d that work out for you?”, you ask.  Not well.  Every time.  Did it give me inner satisfaction to make my point known to this awful person who dared to disagree with my opinions?  Temporarily, yes.  But it was very fleeting.  It fled quickly after it occurred to me that there was now a written record of my dark side.

You know about the dark side, don’t you?  That (hopefully) small, dark, gnarly and nasty place inside that is just looking for a reason to come out and play.  It’s that place where we cram all of our daily exasperations to which we can’t always react.  Life busts our chops every day.  Some days it just has a field day.  Many days we can’t afford to react to each thing that Life throws at us.  Where do those feelings go?  To the dark side. 

Ask my husband about my dark side.  Preferably when I’m not in the room.  He’ll tell you (if I’m not in the room) that I can be sarcastic and nasty when my dark place flairs up.  Does it happen often?  No, thank God for that!

Ask my former co-workers about my secret dark twin.  As my unhappiness with my life-sucking job increased, my demeanor slipped to an all-time sarcastic low.  Hint:  If you ever become the most negative person in the room, it’s time to leave the job behind and find out how you can again become the most positive person.  Something has changed and it may just be you.  Don’t rely on negativity to improve your work environment.  It really doesn’t work that way and you know it.  Just a little career advice that I feel qualified to give.  Trust me on that one. 

Anyhoo…  Sellers, now that you’ve ignited your dark side what are you going to do about it?  Should you fire off that email response to the buyer that criticized your listing?  Should you get into a pissing match with another seller over business practices about which you totally disagree?  Will you lambast that newbie on the chat board that just thinks she knows everything?  You might, but I’m thinking you’ll regret it later.

It’s hard to rise above it all but in every instance that I chose that route, I have not been sorry.  Conversely, every time I took the “blast-it-all-to-Hell-I’m-telling-you-exactly-how-I-feel-because-it-will-make-me-feel-better-and-really-important-too” route, I wind up feeling very unprofessional and lacking in self-control.  “Why did my emotions get the better of me?”  “How come I actually mailed that email?”  “Now every time I go to that chat board I (and everyone else) can pull up that thread and see what a bitch I am!”  yadda yadda – self-loathing, remorse, wanting a do-over that can never be done.  In other words, a complete waste of precious time.

What you write down on the internet and in emails can not be unwritten.  Simple, right?  We all know this.  Remember it.  Rise above the negativity.  There’s an awful lot of it out there.  You have the power to wade into it and become part of it or to take the bridge over troubled water away from the dark side and into the light.  There’s a troll down there that would love to deliver that angry post or email.  Tell him very professionally that his services are not needed and that you’ll be responding when you are in a better frame of mind.  Or that you won’t be responding at all, thank you very much.

Our online words, emails, and posts are the only “faces” that our customers (including other sellers) will probably ever see.  That one email, Tweet, or post may be the only thing they read from us.   Wouldn’t it be a shame if the only side they saw of us was our tiniest worst side?

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