Powerful Positive Thinking Techniques for Salespeople

Nobody likes to have the door slammed in their face or their messages unreturned, but the savvy salesperson stays optimistic and enthusiastic no matter what form rejection takes, even if a client walks away from a deal at the last minute.  Obstacles, failures and disappointments are part and parcel of the job, and how you deal with them has a direct impact on your levels of success.

There’s powerful evidence in the literature about how a positive attitude can boost sales performance. 

Psychologist Martin Seligman spent a number of years studying the relationship between positive thinking and sales success.  In a study with salesmen from the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company he asked them to complete his Attributional Style Questionnaire (ASQ) which was designed to test levels of optimism.  He then matched the scores with their sales records and what he found was fascinating…

The agents with the highest levels of optimism sold 37% more insurance over a 2-year period than those in the pessimistic half.  Even more striking was that those agents who were in the top 10% for optimism sold 88% more than those in the most pessimistic 10%.

So, here are a few tips to help you cultivate a positive attitude:

– Let Doubt Creep In

“I am a tiger”, “I will succeed” and “I am the best of the best”.  For years, self-help gurus have been lecturing us about the need to make positive affirmations, but just telling yourself that you’re a winner may not be enough.   Sure, positive self-talk is probably going to produce better results than negative self-talk, but perhaps not the best results.

In his book To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink highlighted a 2010 study that demonstrated the benefits of allowing doubt to creep into self-talk because it forced people to ask questions.  And questions require answers which can lead to solutions.  In a series of experiments, three researchers gave participants word puzzles to solve.  One group was instructed to ask themselves whether they could solve the puzzles, while the other group had to tell themselves that they would solve the puzzles.  On average, the self-questioning group solved nearly 50% more puzzles than the self-affirming group.

– Study Sports Stars

Sporting heroes, even those at the top of their game suffer continual set-backs and disappointments.  Their fortunes often wax and wane during matches.  One minute they’re up and the next they’re down.  If they go one or two goals, points or tennis sets behind they simply have to stay positive to have any chance of making their way back and eventually winning.  Tennis players such as Nadal and Murray have phenomenal self-discipline, at the root of which is positivity and self-belief.  If you have the time, watch their matches and read sporting biographies to get into a winning mind-set.

– Start the Day on a Positive Note

Spend a few moments at breakfast or on the way to work reading, listening or watching something inspirational or motivational.  Don’t wake up and instantly flood your brain with the news, which by and large is full of depressing stories.

– Use Positive Vocabulary & Frame Events in a Positive Way

Your belief about life and events in general determine how you interpret them.  Focus on creating strong positive beliefs rather than negative ones.  For example, you are cold calling clients and seemingly getting nowhere.  A negative interpretation of this is to say, “What’s wrong with me today?  I’m really off my game”.  A positive way of looking at it is to say, “Every call is different, the next one will yield better results” or “is there anything about my approach that I can change to yield better results?”

Control Your Thoughts

Fear of failure eats away at many people and as a result, they fail.  It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.  Staying positive isn’t easy and it requires a cast iron self-discipline, but being in the right frame of mind will help you land more sales.  And you can do it, you really can.  After all, you are a tiger!

For more information or insight into ensuring positive thinking amongst your sales team, call us now and we can explore options.

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