Optimism and Sales Success

It might seem a no-brainer, but repeated evidence-based research shows an optimistic salesperson is more likely to achieve more new, repeat and referral sales than a pessimistic salesperson.

However, there is a caveat here … being too optimistic in sales (and in life) can lead to just living in hope, relying on results-through-manifestation, and not doing the hard-yards required to ensure success.

Optimism is quite different from positivity

Positivity or positive thinking, especially in difficult times, is almost ignoring reality and saying things are good or ok, even when they’re not.

Optimism, on the other hand, is a fundamental belief that the future is going to be ok – it’s the classic belief that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Realistic Optimism

What we know from the research is that being either optimistic or positive isn’t always good for you – especially if you ignore reality.

For example, staying optimistic and positive about an ailment, when you might need to be checked out by a doctor, or staying positive and living in hope rather than taking appropriate action toward goal achievement are not good actions.

Developing Optimism

If you feel like you could do with boosting your sense of optimism, here’s what you can do.

In his book, Learned Optimism, Martin Seligman suggests two ways to develop more optimism in your life.

  • The first is when you realise you are thinking negatively or pessimistically, to distract yourself with some other activity.
  • The second is to challenge or dispute the logic or reality of the pessimistic thought.

Finally, if you find yourself having difficult thoughts or feelings that are causing you to procrastinate, become anxious or overwhelmed, remember that a thought is just a thought and a feeling is just a feeling, and that you have total control over the choices and actions you take – regardless of those thoughts or feelings.

It’s sort of like if you’re feeling pessimistic, act like an optimist anyway.

For example, if your sales results aren’t what you want or need them to be at the moment, and you’re feeling a bit anxious, stressed or overwhelmed, which of the following approaches makes more sense?

1. Stay focused on your anxiousness and hope that some magic wand will appear and your sales figures improve … or,

2. Accept that things aren’t great and that you’re not feeling too good about your results, and regardless of the situation, your thoughts and your emotions, intentionally choose to take appropriate action that will at least have a realistic potential to move you toward improving your sales results.

Obviously choice two makes more sense.

Take Appropriate Positive Action

What type of appropriate action might you take though?

  • You could talk things over with your sales manager … seek advice on what else you could be doing.
  • You could ask, answer and take action on this question ‘What extra value could I create for my existing clients … how could I make their lives better?’
  • You could review your sales plan, sales activities, and do more of the results-producing activities that you know have worked for you in the past.

Whatever action you choose, the reality is, you’re intentionally choosing to take action and not stay focused on the current situation. You’re demonstrating self-determination and optimism – knowing that things will work out in the end, so long as you strive to be your best and have a genuine intention to help improve your customers’ lives through your products, service and expertise.

Summarising Optimism in Sales

Your sense of optimism can be a bit like flexing a muscle … the more you use it the stronger it gets.

As you take appropriate steps, aligned with your personal values, moving you toward achieving sales goals and striving to be the best version of yourself, you just get better at doing it.

This results in you become stronger in your optimism – not ignoring the realities of life, but equipping yourself with the knowledge and capability to take control over the one thing in life you have control over – your choice of action.

25 Contributing Elements to Living a Good Life

This topic of Optimism is just one of 25 contributing elements to living a good life that I write about in my book LIVING in the Light of Day.

If you haven’t got your copy yet (in hardcover, paperback, kindle/ebook or audiobook versions), you can Buy It Here.

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