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So much for being agnostic

For years I’ve talked reasonably with those with whom I disagreed politically.

Simultaneously, I’ve advocated keeping politics out of business messaging lest you offend potential customers. Given that a business’ objective is to increase revenues, injecting (inherently divisive) politics should be seen as counterproductive.

The exception: If you’re only interested in working with those on your “side.”

I’ve built a career helping businesses and nonprofits grow. To me, remaining politically neutral has always seemed like smart strategy.

Yet despite the turning economy and growing need to remain neutral, today’s landscape seemingly eliminates that possibility.

I’ll confess to having opinions about the role of guns, religion and the rest. Furthermore, I’m always happy to have a REAL conversation with anyone, regardless of whether we agree. One of us might even change our position. 

Only, the moment you say, “Let’s discuss the facts and find a middle ground,” you’re forcing them to potentially challenge their beliefs.

It seems almost everyone today is defensive, rude and obnoxious. Logical arguments are nonexistent, and an attitude of “How DARE you disagree with me?!” prevails from all sides. People losing an argument oftentimes revert to name-calling and bullying.

As my friend Dave once observed, the moment you call someone a name, you’ve lost them. Any chance of civil discourse with “the other side” disappears in that instant.

Which brings us to today’s Facebook exchange with someone I know casually. The moment I questioned his logic, he attacked. He bullied. He called me SO many names, and was so disgusting, that I immediately disconnected with him and want nothing more to do with him.

My desire to do business with this man immediately evaporated. He showed his true colors and isn’t someone I will further associate with.

You’ve probably got your own opinions about the issues du jour and may even be tempted to discuss them with your clientele. And if you’re having respectful, intelligent debate, I encourage it.

However, recognize going in that if you’re disagreeing with your customer, you risk losing that person’s business. Meaning you’d better have plans in place to replace it from someone within your own “tribe.”

Finally, understand that every customer’s money is the same color. Their religion, gender, sexual orientation, race or political persuasion should be unimportant.

With that said, I wish you a week of profitable marketing.

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