AS MOST companies would attest, the sales position is extremely hard to fill due to its nature. Working in sales involves creating new opportunities, and even the most seasoned of sales people would agree that prospecting is not something they enjoy.

This is because, too often, the sales role in the company is unstructured and the sales person faces frequent rejection. Companies then spend thousands of dollars investing in training hoping to help increase the sales performance of their team.

Isn’t it interesting that we often hear the phrase “real transformation comes from within”, yet organisations tend to neglect the internal transformation of their employees?

Instead, the focus of their training tends to be on boosting technical sales skills.

Take soft skills like building rapport, negotiating or moving prospects towards the “close”.

From my observation, many sales people who have attended courses on acquiring these skills may experience a spike in their performance shortly after, but are not able to sustain that high level for protracted periods.

Again, this is because companies frequently overlook the importance of focusing on the internal transformation of their sales team.

For companies to enjoy that sustainability in results, emphasis must be placed on the inner psychology of the individual.

This is because when the inner psychology changes, it provides a platform that ensures congruence to bring about the correct outward behaviours.


Happiness to boost sales

Research has proved that happier people are more productive, think faster, are more creative, healthier and more successful.

All things being equal, would you purchase an item from an individual who is more positive, or one who wears a frown and appears negative?

As any good sales person will tell you, being good in sales is not just about sales tactics.

It involves being creative, having higher levels of energy, and so on. And these are the precise things that increase when you are feeling happy and have a healthier state of mind.

Having established that happiness is an important driver of sales, we now need to answer another question: How do we increase happiness?

Isn’t happiness an individual thing? Aren’t some people born happier than others?

While the answer to many of those questions is yes, what we have learnt from positive psychology is this: There are many proven scientific strategies that people can adopt to immediately boost their happiness.

Here are two quick strategies that any person can adopt to quickly increase their positivity:



 Seeing the positives

Living in Singapore, we are exposed to an environment where we are frequently in a “problem-solving” mode.

In schools and at the workplace, we are bombarded with a plethora of problems that we are required to solve. While this isn’t necessarily bad, we need to break free from solving problems and, instead, cultivate a habit of looking for positives.

To make a sustainable change to bring about happiness, you can try an activity called the “Three Gratitudes”.

Think about three things that happened this week that you are grateful for. These things need not be big things — just the simple things in life that you are happy to have.

As you read this, you can probably already feel your own emotions change.

That’s the power of gratitude. Research has shown that if you do this exercise every day, you will experience an increase in your own level of happiness.



 Building resilience

People in a sales role dread one thing — rejection — although, logically, it is part and parcel of the job. Someone is going to say “no” for one reason or another.

Unfortunately, many societies place a stigma on failure and those who are unsuccessful in their endeavours are made to feel like losers.

But some of the world’s most successful people, among them Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, also had their share of failure. What differentiated them from others was their ability to keep bouncing back — their huge store of resilience.

We need to retrain our minds and think of failure not as something to avoid but something we can learn from. This is precisely the mindset that organisations need to impart to their sales teams.

There is nothing wrong with rejection if you take it as a learning opportunity. Think about what went wrong, and the lessons that you can derive from that “failure”.

Once organisations can train their sales people to adopt such a mentality, each failure will bring them closer to success.


Article contributed by Benjamin Yang, an industrial organisational psychologist and HAP coach with Richard Gavriel Speaker Management. He is a highly sought-after trainer who specialises in workplace success, building a winning corporate culture and employee engagement and is also a valedictorian with a master’s in industrial organisational psychology and human resources. To contact him, e-mail or visit