Scorn in the Court Of Aragon 1647
Question: Should scorn ever be a part of Social Selling as it is a part of everyday party Politics ?
The weekly session of Prime Minister's Question time has a popular following for those enjoy sound-bite political polemic. As an election approaches the questions and answers slip into school-yard name calling and scorn.
This week her majesty's opposition launched their attack on the cheap selling of the Post Office. The leader of the opposition Mr Milliband used a movie metaphor quipping that Mr Cameron was not so much The "Wolf of Wall Street "more "The Dunce of Downing Street."
The Scorsese film , still showing at selected Cinemas in the UK , is the story of a New York stockbroker.Jordan Belfort's life is enacted from his early life living the American dream to corporate greed. Belfort starts from penny stocks and righteousness to IPOs and a life of corruption in the late '80s.
The power of Milliband's scorning rhetoric played on the alliteration of Wolf /Wall and Dunce/Downing street. The Prime Minister's retort was to refer to the Shadow Chancellor and Leader of the Opposition as the two Muppets ( possibly referring to the new 'Muppets most wanted' movie ?) who with the previous Prime Minister Gordon Brown sold off the UK Gold at knock down prices. The content detail of the debate will probably be forgotten but the Dunce and Muppet scorning will be remembered longer.
Scorn in the Court of Aragon and Social Selling
Baltazzar Gracian's 1647 guide The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence is worth looking at particularly his maxim No. 205 .
Know how to use scorn.
Gracian writes " The only maxim of the wise is never to defend yourself with the pen. since the written trace it leaves only contributes to a rival's renown rather than punishes their insolence."
The 2104 'traces' we social sellers leave today include email, twitter, facebook , LinkedIn , blogs and video sharing websites like You Tube.
" Unworthy people " Gracian observes " astutely oppose the great in order to gain a reputation indirectly that they do not merit by right...We wouldn't be aware of such people " Gracian notes " if their far superior opponents hadn't paid them attention."
Gracian makes me think back to those strange requests to Link up with LinkedIn with folk one are unsure of their true motivation. Similarly how threads on group forums where the 'conversations' can deteriorate from uncivil through the banale to abusive within 5-6 comments. This also has echoes of Margaret Thatcher's phrase " the oxygen of publicity"
So what does Gracian advise that we Social Sellers consider as a better way to scorn ?
" There is no revenge like oblivion, which buries them in the dust of their own insignificance...The way to silence gossip is to pay it no attention; to fight it causes harm, to give it credit, discredit. It causes rivals rivals satisfaction, for even a shadow of a blot tarnishes the greatest of perfection, though it can't totally obscure it."
The upshot of this advice of from 17th Century Spain is that it is seldom useful to rubbish or scorn the competition. It is unwise to be draw into being scornful of a competitor's offering by a potential client.
The tactics of scorn in politics do not transfer well to the world of selling. You never know in these days of multi careers, you may want to sell for them later in your career. Keep your options open.
Other selling Tips from Gracian