Optimism – a Successful Selling Secret
Why is it that some people seem to be naturals at selling while others struggle to close every sale or even fail completely in a role that requires them to sell?
Psychologist Martin Seligman, Ph.D., set out to answer that question. He had been studying optimism and pessimism in the laboratory for almost 20 years. In a series of real life studies that analyzed the relationship between successful selling and the personality of the salesperson, Seligman confirmed what his laboratory research had predicted: optimists make more sales than pessimists. They are more persistent in the face of rejection, more likely to stay energized without any encouragement, and less likely to give up when things don’t go well.
What if you discover some of your team members are more pessimistic than optimistic? Are you then doomed to poor sales forever from those individuals or do you have to dispense with their services? No, Seligman’s research discovered that it is possible to turn pessimists into optimists.
Pessimists explain negative events as being personal, pervasive, and permanent, while optimists explain them as having causes that are external, specific, and temporary. And these explanations drive their behaviour.
Seligman uses an ABCDE model to help people turn pessimism into optimism:
A: Identify the current Adversity
B: Investigate the pessimist’s Beliefs?
C: What are the Consequences?
D: Dispute the beliefs so that ways are found to negate the current consequences
E: Bring the negative thoughts into the open by Externalising them and then encourage the individual to role play the disputation process with a trusted friend, colleague, or coach.
Observe the re-energization that occurs as the pessimist succeeds at disputing the pessimistic explanations and can then see how a more positive attitude brings positive outcomes.
How often do you review negative team member behavior to create a positive outcome?