Pending Business: Stop the Whining!

By Steve Lapa
Lapcom Communications Corp


PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. — Can we please stop the whining!

Have you noticed that annoying trait creeping up more often in your daily routine? From hospitals to hospitality, airlines to air conditioning repair, understaffed businesses are short-handed, resulting in unproductive pushback.

My marketing work often requires direct interaction with managers and sellers in high profile positions. From the major market manager, to the top-tier seller, whining seems to be in vogue and contagious. Like COVID, no matter what you do to prevent it, when it shows up, it will control the environment and change the plan. Trust me, I’ve experienced both and neither is easy to stop.

In my recent experience, whining as a sales strategy typically surfaced somewhere in the process of negotiating, when sellers and/or managers lose focus of the win-win goal and rely on emotional triggers. The seller comes up empty and unprepared to open the door to a mutually beneficial conclusion. Experience shows all sides of any true negotiation will work together to put a deal in place that is good for all. The larger the stakes, the more time, thought, and resources go into the solution set. If you keep your eye on the prize, negotiating should never become personal, adversarial or a relationship buster.

So let’s pause here and identify how this current whining trend sounds and offer some takeaways to prevent disrupting the sales process and destroying the rapport you’ve built with your clients.

1)“You spend more with them than with us” is not a sales strategy. It almost rings as confrontational. Sometimes positioning the advertiser to justify a competitive spend can backfire as you put the advertiser on the defensive in what should be a fluid process. Try a more positive approach like, “From the market analysis we’ve done, it appears radio (audio) is working for you. Here is one concept that will increase your share of voice______.”

2) “I’ve worked hard to get you what you want.” Seriously, the guilt card? Are we still looking for an “A for effort” in a job in which we get paid to close business? Steer your frustration to a more positive path. Try moving the process along by using non-confrontational words, “Is there any flexibility…” or  “Are we getting any closer on…” Sometimes the answers will help move you towards a win-win.

Rejection is part of every successful sales and management career path.

But whining to your client is not a good look. As the saying goes, “Stop whining and start selling!”


Steve Lapa is the president of Lapcom Communications Corp. based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL. Lapcom is a media sales, marketing, and development consultancy. Contact Steve Lapa via email at: