On this Thanksgiving week, here is an excerpt from my WSJ bestseller, Selling Boldly, on the power of gratitude in sales:
Gratitude is a feeling of conscious appreciation for what we have (in sales, customers), what we get to try to get (prospects), and even what we do not have (customers who are not yet working with us, or even those customers who have rejected us).
While ungrateful is the opposite of gratitude, I wanted to use a slightly different mindset here as the negative version of gratitude. It’s a way of thinking that I see frequently among salespeople who are not proactive, or confident or bold. This is an approach to life and work by salespeople who are driven heavily by fear: the word of cynicism. When I look up the definition of “cynical,” I get distrustful of human sincerity or integrity; concerned only with one’s own interest and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards to achieve them.
When we are grateful, of course, we appreciate our customers, but that’s easy and obvious. They pay us. They choose us. We are grateful.
But we also give thanks for prospects, who provide us an opportunity to grow every day. I have a wonderful chance to grow thanks to these prospects.
But when we are cynical, prospects often frustrate us. I’m sick of chasing them!
When we are grateful, we acknowledge the importance of the customers who tell us no. They keep us going. We do not give up on them. We try again with them, in different ways, with different products and services. They need us, and we get to show them this. How lucky are we?
When we are cynical, we do not see the value of people who reject us. We take it personally, of course, when they tell us no. We feel that we have wasted time. We wonder why they took the time to meet with us, or even request a quote if they were just using to compare us to the competition. They just used us to get a lower price, we say.
And even when this happens, grateful people will find the positive: now I know what this person is like. This won’t happen again. Good, onward!
The Power Of Gratitude
In his wonderful book, The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor writes that “few things in life are as integral to our well-being [as gratitude]. Countless studies have shown that consistently grateful people are more energetic, emotionally intelligent, forgiving, and less likely to be depressed, anxious or lonely. And it’s not that people are only grateful because they are happier, either; gratitude has proven to be a significant cause of positive outcomes.”
How powerful is that?!
How do you think having more energy, being more emotionally intelligent, and forgiving will affect your sales?!
What do you think happens to sells when we are less depressed, anxious and lonely?
That is the immense power of gratitude.
We Can Choose To Be Grateful Right Now
Continuing the theme from the other chapters in this section of the book: you can choose to be grateful — or cynical — right now.
You can decide, at this moment, to live and work and sell gratefully.
It’s totally within your control to make this decision.
You simply need to want to be grateful, and then you will be!
You can practice being grateful, too.
In Martin Seligman’s book The Optimistic Child (which is a must-read if you have young children), he lays out a simple technique for practicing gratitude with kids. And we have been following it for years. Seligman teaches parents to ask their kids this simple question when they are in bed, right before the lights are turned off: “What are three good things that happened today?” Sometimes we modify this with our own children to: “What are three things you are grateful about tonight?” Or, “what are three things from today that you love?” The point is to get your children to think about positivity and gratitude, in specifics, before they sleep. On many nights it’s the last thing they talk about with us that day, then they sleep on it. We are programming our kids to be grateful. Seligman writes that his research shows that this early programming inoculates children against depression now, and later in life. That’s extraordinary
We can do the same thing in our adult lives also. Take a look at the Selling Boldly Mindset Planner just above. It’s simple and straight-forward, and it’s based on Seligman’s three-good-things-at-night, and the research shows this works. And in sales, being grateful will have a huge impact on your success. It will also make you more optimistic, confident, bold, and proactive.
What Salespeople Can Be Grateful For
Here’s what we can be grateful for:
• Our customers
• Our prospects
• The people who have rejected us
• Our colleagues
• Our company
• Our supportive family
• This meeting you have coming up
• The current problem you working on resolving for this customer
• That the phone rings all day and people want to talk to you and buy from you! Do you know how lucky that is?!
• That this a wonderful customer, but he only buys a small percentage of what you have to offer, and that you get to let him know what else he can buy
• That this terrific customer will have referrals for you, and that you get to ask her for them
• That your customer is happy to hear from you by phone
This list can go on for pages.
On this Thanksgiving week, there’s so much to be grateful for!
This is an excerpt from my latest book, Selling Boldly. You can buy it on Amazon.com here.
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