You have a lead. An appointment has been set and confirmed. You're an experienced salesperson. You know your product and how to present it. If this is a successful call, you stand to earn a sizeable commission. You believe you're in the right frame of mind, and you hope the customer is also.

But wait. This morning when you got up, you switched on the local news. The newscasters explained that the economy was erratic, the stock market down, unemployment at 6.1%, and big-box stores not making the money they projected they would.

However, you fluffed that off, had breakfast, and met with your sales reps to go over the previous evening's sales calls and the reasons why prospects said they weren't buying now — much related to the stories you just heard on the news.

NEGATIVE EFFECTS Before your sales call, you pick up the local newspaper. What you read there compounds what you saw earlier on television: stories of rapes, murders, robberies, state and local budget problems, potential tax increases, and more.

Like it or not, unless you know how to counter this information, it may well affect your ability to sell the lead tonight. Why?

Psychological studies show that just five or 10 minutes of negative input can affect your central nervous system for up to 20 hours, reducing energy and depleting positivity.

STAY CENTERED The majority of homeowners are not facing foreclosure or unemployment. They want to keep their houses in good shape. My suggestion is to concentrate on the sales system. Ask for the order one more time. If homeowners aren't buying, ask them, one more time, why not.

Don't buy into the media negativity. Remind yourself: When people are retrenched, the majority of their spendable income still goes to their homes. And spend less time on newspapers, television, and Internet news, and more time with positivity.

—Dave Yoho ( introduced Step Selling to the industry in 1961. Preview his newest method for creating low-cost leads at