If I could show you a way to be much happier and drive more sales, would you be interested?
I feel like a sleazy salesperson when I ask that question! It’s not a trick question, though. As many of you know, I spend a lot of time researching outside the sales profession. It’s where I find important but often overlooked data that can have a significant impact on sales results.
I recently read a fascinating article in Scientific American by Scott Barry Kaufman in which he writes that character strengths are most predictive of well-being. The piece begins by laying out the 24 strengths and virtues derived from research by Martin Seligman & Christopher Peterson.
Then Kaufman shares his recent research regarding which factors matter most for personal well-being.
The surprising result? Gratitude and love of learning.
How does this correlate with sales success? Let me share the ways:
Research shows that gratitude takes up space in the brain that might otherwise be occupied by fear, which just happens to be the root cause of many sales mistakes. Instead of asking questions, you pitch. Instead of discussing customer challenges, you push. You think that lower prices and better products or services are needed to close deals.
Gratitude also leads to feelings of optimism. Research by MetLife and Seligman shows that optimists outperform pessimists by 31 percent. They don’t give up as easy.
Gratitude leads to better thinking. I know that’s hard to believe, but here’s the deal: Gratitude reduces stress. When you’re under stress, your body releases cortisol, a hormone that actually decreases your creativity and problem-solving capacity.
Hence, staying grateful is a surefire way to come up with more and better options for achieving objectives and overcoming challenges.
Quick question: What can you be grateful for right now?
As I write this, I’m grateful that I have a chance to share my expertise with others. I’m grateful that my family is healthy. I’m grateful for the cup of coffee that I’m hoping will wake me up faster. Mmmm. It tastes good!
2. Love of learning
I was astounded that this factor was such a key contributor to personal well-being. There’s nothing I like better than throwing myself into a particularly tough sales challenge, doing tons of research on it and experimenting with new approaches until I find out what works. Then, I take equal joy in sharing what I’ve learned with others (which is why you’re reading this!).
Several years ago, I realized how crucial this singular trait was in sales success today. We’re dealing with constant change … It’s endless.
We’re in a constant state of “overwhelm” just trying to keep up. And it keeps coming at us. Unless we can learn at an increased pace, we fall behind. Winning new deals gets tougher and tougher.
Recent research by Korn Ferry shows that learning agility is the No. 1 predictor of leadership success. CEB, a sales consulting firm to the world’s top organizations, now lists learning agility as one of the top traits to look for in salespeople.
What is learning agility?
It’s about rapidly assimilating new information. It’s about picking up new skills quickly. It’s about coming up with multiple strategies to the challenges you face. It’s about pivoting on a dime when you notice things have changed.