Optimism is a Selling Skill: Is Your Sales Glass Half-empty or Half Full?
One of the best case studies comes from the work of psychologist Martin Seligman. He was engaged by Metropolitan Life in New York to help with their sales turnover challenge. Dr. Seligman convinced Met Life to give him access to their new sales candidates and administer their usual testing measures, as well as a new test he developed which measured optimism.
He followed the progress of the new sales hires for one year and found that salespeople who scored high in optimism sold 33 percent more insurance than those who scored low. After two years, the optimistic salespeople were thriving in their positions. Met Life experienced increased retention, decreased turnover, and increased sales.
How optimistic is your sales organization? People get worried about catching colds or the flu. Salespeople should be worried about catching the virus of pessimism. It is a deadly virus when it hits a sales organization because emotions are contagious. The clinical term is emotional contagion or “the transmission of moods.” When people are in a certain mood, happy or depressed, that mood is often communicated to others.
So what message or mood is the sales management team sending the sales team? What message is your sales team communicating to customers and prospects? A sales manager shares the story of a sales rep that started every conversation during the last downturn with, “You probably don't have any money ….” The self-fulfilling prophecy was set by the salesperson and the prospect followed the salesperson's lead and said no.
So what can sales organizations do to stop the epidemic of pessimism? Here are four traits found in optimistic salespeople and sales organizations. Start installing them in yourself or your sales culture today.
#1: When faced with adversity, optimistic salespeople ask themselves better questions.
- What's good about this? Top salespeople know that adversity is where character is formed and great lessons are learned. Optimists take advantage of this free degree because they know the lessons learned today will make them money in the future.
- What can I do about this situation? Optimistic salespeople take control because they know that control equals action, action yields results, and results increase motivation.
- What is funny about this? Humor is a great way to relieve stress which frees up the mind for creativity, clarity and innovation.
#2: Optimistic salespeople choose their friends wisely. Jim Rohn quotes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Are you hanging out with optimists or pessimists? What kind of emotion is getting spread among your peers and colleagues? Is it healthy conversation or the pessimistic flu? Here's the difference. The pessimistic salesperson says no one is buying. The optimistic salesperson says someone is buying…I just need to find him or her.
#3: They remind themselves that the adversity is temporary, not permanent. If business is a little slow, optimistic salespeople speed it up by taking care of their best assets: existing customers. They invest more time in consistent prospecting. They know the economy will turn and when it does, the prospect will call them not their competitor who has been sitting in his office comparing sad stories with his pessimistic colleagues.
#4: Optimistic salespeople manage results, not excuses. They know sales is a great profession because they can control their outcome. Top salespeople seek out mentors who can help them look at another way of doing business in tough times. They outwork their competitors that are still wishing the good ‘ole days would return. Top salespeople invest in learning so they can outsmart and out sell their competitor. Optimistic salespeople don't look for greener pastures. They make greener pastures.
Optimism is a soft skill that yields hard sales results. Optimistic salespeople are easy to manage. Sales managers spend less time on drama and sad story telling and more time strategizing on how to find and open new business. Optimism is a choice. Everyone reading this article has the choice to wake up and choose to something good in their day, and in their business.
It doesn't mean you don't pay attention to the reality of a tough economy. It does mean that you look for a better balance of reality and optimism. Remember the song, “Don't worry. Be happy.” That mindset might be a new way to increase your top and bottom line...
No. of Times this article has been viewed : 367
Date Published : Feb 15 2011
Take a FREE Business Profitability Assessment and find out what steps you can take TODAY to grow your business. Join the Business Mastery Insiders Secrets Club and get instant access to the latest business growth strategies,profitability tools, training, and management resources.