Buoyancy: Staying afloat amid a lot of rejection defines buoyancy. Here’s what to do before, during and after you try to “move” people to help your confidence.
a. Before: Interrogative self-talk. While sales courses teach us, “You can do it,” social science tells another story. Pink’s research says we should take a lesson from children’s book protagonist Bob the Builder’s advice and ask ourselves that pivotal question, “Can we fix it?” Interrogative self-talk shifts us from statements to questions—which get to both answers and then subtle strategies to solve problems. Stepping up to a self-posed question leads to far better results than making a statement. Moreover, interrogative self-talk also can inspire thoughts around intrinsic motivation, always a powerful path to goal attainment.
b. During: Positivity. Certain ratios of positivity help keep sellers and buyers in a more open and accepting mode. The ratio of 3:1 positive to negative interactions (by researcher Marcial Losada) makes people flourish. But there are limits. Too low a ratio (1:1) takes your relationship to the buyer to despair. Too high a ratio of positive to negative (11:1) makes you seem flighty and unbelievable.
c. After Explanatory Style. Psychologist Martin Seligman (U of Penn.) discovered that helplessness came from people who give up easily and explain their bad luck as permanent, pervasive, and personal. Such “pessimists” see the negativity as inevitable and not really within their control. Optimists see rejection (in sales, for this discussion) as temporary, specific, and external to them (things happen) but “I can make a difference myself.”In essence, they have control and are not helpless. Seligman calls it ”flexible optimism—optimism with eyes open.” The result: they sell more—like 37% more in one study of insurance agents.