The optimistic sales professional

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Optimism is an outlook that doesn’t just make you feel better – it can help your sales results too.

Sales is a demanding profession. Top performers know that to sustain a high level of performance, they need to keep fit and well – both physically and psychologically. An increasing body of research is showing that keeping an optimistic outlook, and having the physical energy to meet the demands of working in sales, are critical to a sales person’s effectiveness, success and overall well-being. Something many of us know intuitively, however it is good to have it validated.


Managing and overcoming setbacks is key to succeeding in anything. In sales we are tested everyday. Without a sense of optimism it would make getting up to face each day that much harder.


So what is optimism?

  • A tendency to expect the best possible outcome or dwell on the most hopeful aspects of a situation.

So optimism is a very useful mindset to take especially into sales, even more so in the tough times. As a sales person I know I have had to call upon my optimism many times in my business career and it works every time.

However, many people mistakenly think being optimistic is being unrealistically positive all the time. It is not. Being optimistic does, however, determine how a person deals with setbacks. The good news is that optimism can be learned and developed, resulting in real dividends due to a more resilient workforce.


A lot of research and positive work has been done on learned optimism by Martin Seligman, chairman of the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Centre and founder of Positive Psychology. If you like to read more about his work I recommend you go to this article about Positive Psychology.


Being an optimistic sales professional is about developing personal strategies helpful to leading a successful sales career. Key areas to focus on include:


  • Developing learned optimism.
  • Developing and maintaining resilience and drive.
  • Developing ways to enhance your wellbeing (diet, sleep, exercise, rest, recreation, etc).
  • Recognising common types of thinking errors.
  • Dealing effectively with the effects of negative thinking.
  • Minimising unhelpful self appraisal.
  • Using mindfulness and meditation to enhance your performance.

Top performers will have variety of strategies and techniques that they apply in their daily life.

Top performers also possess resilience, drive and determination.


What is resilience?

  • Ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.


What is drive?

  • To strive vigorously toward a goal or objective; to work, play, or try wholeheartedly and with determination.


What is determination?

  • Firmness of purpose; resolve.


And by being optimistic you really help build upon your resilience, drive and determination. All good things for building sales.


What’s the alternative?


Well, it has been shown that pessimistic sales people are twice as likely to quit their job as those who are optimistic. Whereas optimists enjoy better health, take less time off work and are more adaptable in a changing environment.


I know what path I am choosing. Which path are you going to choose?


I wish you happy and successful selling.



Sue Barrett is Managing Director of BARRETT Pty Ltd. Sue is an experienced consultant and trained coach and facilitator. Sue and her team are best known for their work in creating High Performing Sales Teams. Key to their success is working with the whole person and integrating emotional intelligence, skill, knowledge, behaviour, process and strategy via effective training and coaching programs. For more information please go to


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