Most of us have heard the old adage about the way you view events in your life either being as a glass half full or a glass half empty. If you look at a glass that is filled to the halfway point and see it as half-full, then you are considered an optimist; if you view the glass as half-empty, you are considered a pessimist. But what does that mean to you as a salesperson? Does being a perpetually optimistic person translate into more success?
One of the most in-depth studies was done by the Martin Seligman, involving 15,000 salespeople at MetLife Insurance. MetLife is a huge company with a very stringent hiring process; they look for a certain “fit” in their employees. Consequently, their salespeople tend to have similar experience, education, and work habits. Seligman started by giving the salespeople several tests to determine if they were an optimist or pessimist, then followed their sales results and found that the optimists in the group sold 21% more in their first year, and 57% more in their second year. To put that in perspective, if you’re on commission making $40,000 per year, you give yourself a raise to $62,800. If you’re making $120,000, shifting your outlook can increase your compensation to $188,400!
So, should you shift your perspective to positivity? Only if you want to make more money. Here’s a caveat: you must be an optimistic realist. Simply believing you will sell more without doing the hard work will fool nobody but you, and it won’t fool you for long when you no longer have a job.
One Moore Thing: All other things being equal (talent, intelligence, work ethic), an optimistic outlook will help you sell more.