Consider Buoyancy to Offset the Daily Sales Grind

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Sales is Hard, so take care of yourself along the way!

You’re an advisor — that means you’re in the sales game. And being in this game means you’re going to get a lot of NOs and  spend your days swimming in an ocean of uphill battles, rejections, ghosting, fence-sitting, and the like… it comes with the territory 😜

But success in this space and in life is largely based on your ability to get back up and keep moving forward daily.

It’s what author Daniel Pink calls Buoyancy.

In his book, To Sell Is Human, Pink talks about this as the quality that combines the grittiness of spirit and the sunniness of outlook.

Sounds like something custom-made for a graphic t-shirt.

The grittiness of spirit.

And the sunniness of outlook.

In this edition, we’re going into the science behind buoyancy and the three steps you can use to add it to your life.

Ready to cast off and start our journey?

Mr. Pink identifies the three components of buoyancy as segments before, during, and after any effort.

The Before Segment

The Before segment is all about what you say to yourself before the event. Think of this as the pump-yourself-up time.

You know, the time when you look in the mirror and tell yourself what a complete savage you are and how you’re going to completely crush it!

There are a lot of folks out there who go hard on positive self-talk. But maybe, just maybe, that’s not the best approach.

In his book, Pink talks about another path. Instead of making the big, bold declarative statement I’m going to or I will, etc., try this. Ask yourself a question. Can I do this?

You can!  Consider this, in a study conducted at the University of Illinois, researchers divided participants into two groups and asked them to solve a series of puzzles.

Both groups were treated the same. Except for one tiny difference.

  • One group was instructed to ask themselves if they could solve the puzzles.
  • The other group was told to tell themselves they could solve the puzzles.

Guess what? The self-questioning group solved 50% more puzzles than the other group!

Before a big event — let’s say a presentation — ask yourself: Can I make a great pitch?

When you start with a question, your mind automatically goes to work trying to answer the question.

It begins looking for solutions to close the loop. Resulting in responses like:

Well, I’ve done many other pitches, and they all went well. This is just another one.


I know this material and these people, and I’ve done all the research I need to help close this deal.

Now, it’s not that making big, bold declarative statements is bad for you. Nope. It’s that they might not be as effective as we once thought.

So, as you prepare for your next big meeting, give yourself a pep talk with:  Can I do this?

The During Segment

Staying positive and having a positive outlook sounds kind of corny, doesn’t it? Certainly, something we’ve heard before — especially from Mom.

But staying positive does work.

And it’s especially important in the middle of an event.

Daniel Pink sites researcher Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina. She states:  “Negative emotions narrow people’s vision. On the other hand, positive emotions open our awareness to a range of thoughts and different ideas.”

So, the takeaway here is to stay open to ideas and new directions even if you initially disagree.

Staying positive and having positive energy has another big benefit. It’s contagious. It can lift people up.

Positive energy opens us up to new ideas and leads to good feelings. That leads to more agreement. And more agreement = more sales.

And more sales… well, that’s a beautiful thing.

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Consider Buoyancy to Offset the Daily Sales Grind 3

The After Segment

This component can be the most important in buoyancy. And how you judge your performance after the event, as we will see, can be the make-or-break factor.

We’ve all been there. An important meeting that didn’t go the way we hoped. Maybe it was something you said, or didn’t say.

What happens next is critical.

Research has shown the way people explain negative results to themselves plays a big impact on their future results.

More negatively focused people look at a bad event as permanent, pervasive, and personal.

To quote Pink again: “They believe that negative conditions will endure a long time, that the causes are universal rather than specific and they are the ones to blame.”

This way of thinking is what researcher Martin Seligman calls “learned helplessness.” It’s the negative way people talk to themselves.

In the mid-’80s Seligman conducted an interesting study. He wanted to find out if people with a downbeat side suffer. And conversely, would someone with a sunnier, more upbeat style thrive?

Are more upbeat people more… successful?

His research focused on one of the hardest segments in the sales game — life insurance!

These men and women held sales jobs at Metropolitan Life. Their job: sell insurance and get a commission. No salary!

You don’t sell… you don’t eat. Not quite Glengarry Glen Ross, but not that far from it either.

Each participant in this study was given an Attributional Style Questionnaire or ASQ. This questionnaire was specifically designed to measure optimism and pessimism on a scale.

The researchers passed out the questionnaire, then tracked the performance of the group over the next two years measuring “how much insurance they sold and the total commissions they earned.”

The results speak for themselves…

Agents who scored higher on the optimistic side of the ASQ scale sold 37% vs. more than the pessimistic agents.

Next, the researchers did a follow-up study tracking over 100 newly hired sales agents before they started their job.

And guess what… Agents who scored more pessimistically were three times more likely to quit their job than the more optimistic agents.

As Pink states: “Salespeople with an optimistic style — who saw rejection as temporary rather than permanent, specific rather than universal, and external rather than personal — sold more insurance and survived in their jobs much longer.”

I love this next line from the book:

“Optimism, it turns out, isn’t a hollow sentiment. It’s a catalyst that can stir persistence, steady us during challenges, and stoke the confidence that we can influence our surroundings.”

There’s A Lot In This Edition So Here’s The Recap:

  • Buoyancy is a key quality that can impact success.
  • In thinking about buoyancy there are three components: Before, During, and After every event.
  • In the Before segment try asking yourself a question vs. hardcore declarative statements.
  • During: it’s important to stay positive. A positive person impacts others and opens them to new possibilities.
  • After: it’s important to look at an event and ask yourself these questions:
  • Is this permanent? A good response is: No, I was flat today… and I know I can do better.
  • Is this pervasive? — in other words, is everyone like this? A good response: No, this person was just being critical.
  • Is this personal? —A good response: I could have been better, but that person wasn’t going to buy at this point.
  • The more you can explain bad events as “temporary, specific, and external,” the better you will be able to deal with stress and adversity.

Sales can be tough, real tough… hopefully, this helps!

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