Recently, I was thinking about the effects of optimism, or what you could think of as a perpetual good mood. Now, I was raised by highly conscientious, pessimistic folks who possessed a fairly low joy quotient, so I’d have to say that, for me, optimism doesn’t necessarily come naturally. But it can be learned, and there are good reasons for making the effort.
Colleen Stanley (@EiSelling), president of SalesLeadership, Inc. and named by Salesforce as one of the most influential sales figures of the 21st century, has written about how optimism contributes to better sales results. She notes that optimistic salespeople make more money—no surprise there—and discusses the results of a study conducted by Dr. Martin Seligman for Metropolitan Life. (He discovered that company hires who scored high on optimism made 33 percent more sales than those with glummer outlooks.)
In my opinion, the most important point Ms. Stanley makes in her excellent article is that a pessimistic attitude is “catching.” The most effective salespeople, she says, choose their friends wisely. They avoid the whiners and excuse-makers. Years ago, a psychologist echoed this thought during an interview on NPR. What he learned from his patients was that the emotions of friends, family, and associates were toxic, hindering their ability to heal and redirect their lives.
Whether we’re in professional sales or not, we’re all selling, all the time. The lesson is clear. Choose the right associates, and you’ll work on your mood, your business, and your life.
Originally published on 9/6/2011