Sales and Sales Management Blog

June 19, 2008

The Chavezization of Business

American politicians, like politicians around the world, have always used current events as leverage to try to gain power. In our two party system, each party has sought to blame the other side for anything and everything they possibly could that they thought would anger the electorate. Honesty, integrity, and truthfulness have never been at the forefront of these blame game battles.

Nevertheless, most of us have assumed that the ultimate goal was more than just power. We assumed that each party sought power for the sake of moving the country in the direction the party believed was best for the country. We assumed that each party, whether we agreed with them or not, was seeking ways to make the country stronger, to enhance the lives of the country’s citizens, to advance each citizen’s ability to succeed and prosper.

Although we knew that the parties would distort, twist and outright lie to smear the other party in order to gain advantage, we assumed that even during election cycles the parties would not actively work against the citizenry.

It looks like those naive days are gone. We are now facing an election cycle where the higher the Democrat Party can force energy prices, the more pain they can inflict on the country, the more people they can nudge toward impoverishment, the better for them.

The Democrat Party has determined that driving more and more middle-class families toward poverty is in their best interests and has decided to seek to drive petroleum and natural gas prices as high as they possibly can in the interests of ‘conservation’ and to force the development of alternative energy sources. Advocating the failed policies of the past such as the disastrous windfall profits tax of the Carter years, preventing the development of clean coal, nuclear energy, or further exploration and drilling, and preventing the building of new refineries guarantees energy prices will continue to rise and our continued and expanded reliance on foreign energy. New policies such as the rationing of energy through carbon credits will simply add to the misery of the middle and lower classes.

Democrats have proposed a number of policies that would change the business world we live in, including serious discussion of the nationalization or semi-nationalization of the healthcare industry, the energy industry, and the banking industry. Chavez’s Venezuela in red, white and blue may become a reality.

Having government which has managed to bankrupt social security, drive the educational system into chaos, has little understanding of how technology is developed or how long it takes to develop commercially viable solutions to our energy needs, and seems to think it has the power to create solutions by fiat not only regulate but run one of the industries critical to the country’s health and wellbeing is the worst possible solution to the current energy crisis.

The Democrats argue that the energy industry is run by greedy, power hungry companies bent on creating the largest possible profit. They will get no argument from me. However, those greedy companies realize they create their biggest possible profit by developing and providing the goods and services the public wants at the best possible price.

I would much rather have a greedy company who understands how the market works and seeks to create its profit through production and development than to have the industry run by an incompetent, greedy, power hungry government bent on using its power and resources to control what I do, how I do it, and when I do it.

This election isn’t so much about the presidential candidates as it is about the control of Congress. Obama and McCain are close to one another on many issues and the President has limited powers. If the Democrat Party gains enough seats to enact their agenda without serious opposition, the only difference between Obama and McCain will be in judicial nominations and the use of the veto. If the Democrats have enough seats to override vetoes, the presidential election is about judicial nominations only.

The real power struggle in this election is for dominate control of both houses of Congress. If the Democrat Party racks up enough seats in both houses to pass any legislation they desire, veto or not, business and salespeople are going to have a very rough four years ahead. The only real hope business has should the Democrats prevail in the numbers projected is that the damage they wreck can be reversed.



  1. OMG…we are soul mates. Thank you for putting into words that which I did not dare to. I have printed this post and will share it this evening with my husband who, although he thinks he is an independent, I now lovingly call JoeBama.

    God, and yes I still use that word, save our country from those who think the rich are the enemy and that big government will take care of us.

    Comment by a republican in massachusetts — June 19, 2008 @ 12:21 pm | Reply

  2. Wow is all I can say because you’ve proven you’re either a very honest sales trainer who has earned my respect by not being afraid to tackle sticky issues and posting something on your blog that you know could really offend some of your readers or you’re a complete idiot. Which is it?

    Comment by Which Is It? — June 19, 2008 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

  3. I thought this was a sales and sales management blog not a political blog. Come on, man, sales has nothing to do with politics, let’s keep it that way.

    Comment by Danny R — June 19, 2008 @ 4:41 pm | Reply

  4. Which Is It?–

    Sorry, I can’t answer that for you; you’ll have to decide for yourself.

    Danny R–

    Sales may not have anything to do with politics, but politics has everything to do with sales. The policies our representatives make have a major impact on your business–either good or bad. In fact, almost everything affects your business. $4 gas is a sales issue; taxation is a sales issue; health care, social security, monetary policy, pork barrel spending, and everything else the government does is a sales issue. We may not like to talk about it, it may not seem seemly, and for some it may seem to be contrary to good business, but we simply cannot ignore the impact elections have on our businesses, our livelihood, and our future.

    Comment by Paul McCord — June 19, 2008 @ 4:48 pm | Reply

  5. Paul,

    I’m not sure where I stand on this post in the sense of addressing the political issues. Personally, I disagree with your analysis as I believe that the country needs radical change and I don’t think that is going to come from the Republicans. However, that really isn’t the point here. I’ve always been under the impression that we should be politically neutral in our business relations. I’m sure you have readers from all political stripes, so commenting in such a specific manner is bound to rub some the wrong way. I’m just not sure venturing into the political realm is where you should be going. On the one hand I admire you for having the guts to go here as most would avoid this like the plague, while on the other hand, I don’t know that politics is really where sales trainers should be headed. Maybe this is an area that should be left to the political pundits.


    Comment by Thomas from Atlanta — June 22, 2008 @ 5:58 am | Reply

  6. Tom,

    First let me say that I appreciate that you disagree with me. I certainly expect that many will. And even though we may disagree on the particulars, I agree with you that there are some very real changes that must be implemented. I just don’t think that the nationalization or semi-nationalization of some of our most important industries is the way to go. Once the government begins nationalizing business, where will it end? Our government’s history is not one of rational discipline but rather of the ever continual collection of power. Secondly, with a government that can never get enough money, what happens to the products and services the government nationalizes once it begins to enjoy the profits from those products and services? I don’t think it realistic to believe prices will be held in line, much less that they will decline. I believe it more likely that prices will increase far more rapidly due to a combination of government mismanagement and incompetence and greed.

    However, let me address the subject of addressing political issues. You actually bring up two separate issues in your post–one is the subject of salespeople and companies being politically neutral, the other is sales trainers addressing the political issues that impact sales.

    I personally don’t think it wise for salespeople or companies to try to create a false image of neutrality when the subject of politics or economics is brought up by a prospect or client. This isn’t to say that the subjects should be brought up by the company or the salesperson, but so often when the subjects do come up in the course of the natural interaction with a prospect or client, the salesperson tries to maintain a neutral position in order not to offend. Yet, your prospects and clients believe that you have opinions and beliefs and by trying to avoid the issues you may well be falsely signaling to the prospect that you disagree with them, or they may be offended by what they perceive to be your insincerity of neutrality as most will assume you’re not neutral. I believe we are far better served in our attempt to build relationships with prospects and clients based on trust and honesty to directly address the subjects if they do come in the course of conversation. If we do so respectfully, without denigrating the other’s position, and with clear reasoning as to why we hold the positions we hold, we run little risk of alienating the prospect or client.

    Regarding sales trainers addressing the political and economic issues impacting sales: you’re right, most avoid it like the plague for fear of losing business. I think that’s not only unfortunate, but it’s also disingenuous. Depending upon what areas of sales and sales management the trainer addresses, these issues will have a major impact on the salespeople, managers and companies the trainer is hired to train. For instance, my areas of specialization are prospecting and personal marketing–these issues are going to have a massive impact on those aspects of sales. Am I simply to avoid addressing them because my position might differ from a reader’s or potential prospect’s position even though they are issues that are going to have a major impact on all of us seeking new business? That position doesn’t make sense to me. It may be the easy way out, it may even be the most popular choice, but I don’t see it as a constructive solution.

    Besides, these are hardly the only views I have that people may disagree with me on. I make no bones about the fact that I believe cold calling to be the single biggest waste of time and energy in sales–yet many salespeople and trainers disagree vehemently with me–to the point that I get some of the nastiest emails you can imagine. Any time we take a position, no matter the subject, we run the risk of offending someone.

    Comment by Paul McCord — June 22, 2008 @ 6:42 am | Reply

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