How to Become a Better Salesperson

August 23, 2023
4 minutes to read
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The Little Salesperson Who Could

We’ve all had the painful experience of visiting a store – grocery, computer, shoe, hardware, clothing; you name it – and finding that the clerk or salesperson is clearly having a bad day. And it’s not just a bad day; it’s a baaaaaad day. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to make a graceful but hasty exit in cases like that; I just don’t like buying from people who don’t want to sell to me.

On the other hand, I’ve met salespeople whose energy and enthusiasm were so inspiring I would have bought a square wheel from them. Attitude, you see, is everything. Now, I don’t want to discount knowledge, persistence, a great product, etc., but your attitude can certainly put a shine on everything else that goes into good sales. And it has a much greater effect than you think on yourself and those around you. It raises your self-esteem and considers this: no one else will if you don’t believe in yourself.

First of all, a positive attitude attracts positive people and positive situations.  Have you ever noticed how negative people breed negativity, but positive folks spread the sunshine? We all like being around people who think positively, and we give more attention to those who stay upbeat. Not only do they give us hope, but their encouragement is contagious: we can’t help but think better of things when a ray of sunshine brightens the landscape.

An optimistic disposition will also help to give you strength in the face of disappointment. It will give you the determination to pick yourself up and try again or move on to the next challenge zealously. Hearken, back to when you were young and learning to ride a bike, if you had given in to defeat after the first fall, you’d never have known the joys of bike riding. Instead, the promise of the wind in your face and the feeling of freedom kept you going, and you finally mastered it. What a rush! That first solo “flight” on your bicycle was magical, right?

Don’t get me wrong when I say to think positively: I’m not saying you shouldn’t be realistic. You must recognize challenges and respect the doors that close and lock. Beating your head against a brick wall repeatedly will never feel good. But where negativity would have you just give up, positivism knows there’s something better ahead, giving you the adrenaline to forge ahead and discover what that is.

How can you maintain positivity? That varies from person to person.  Here are a few suggestions.  Pick one (or more) that works for you, or create your own:

  • Post-its: Write pithy statements of encouragement to yourself on sticky notes and place them where you’ll see them often.
  • Friends or mentors: Find at least one person in your life (preferably business, although personal support helps a lot, too) who has a great attitude and with whom you can talk/text/email freely.
  • Books or articles: Sales Tips has mentioned the writings of Dale Carnegie before and recommends them, but some other suggestions include The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale, Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach, and a personal favorite, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss.
  • Quotes: Whether you commit them to memory, use the Post-it idea, or keep them nearby on your phone/tablet/computer, quotes can be helpful bits of mental energy. A good one: “If you say you can or can’t, you’re right either way,” said Henry Ford.
  • Smile: It’s amazing how simply turning up the corners of your mouth can psychologically turn around a challenging situation. If you’ve never tried it, do. And then the next time you feel discouraged or down, try it again. It really works. It won’t change the situation, but it will change your attitude toward it–which is more than half of any battle.
  • Revel in the past: Indulge in recalling your successes. They can help give you ideas for addressing challenges ahead or just give you energy for your next appointment.


If you’re not yet convinced that attitude matters, consider this: Besides professional and personal advantages, positive thinking has a demonstrated benefit to your health! Keeping your spirits up can help your immune system, decrease stress, and give you more energy. What a deal!

So what are you waiting for? Put on your brightest smile, tell yourself you can, and go out and succeed!