Even in a down economy, companies are spending millions of dollars on training for selling skills. The costs can really add up as you pay for licensing, trainers, material, and lost sales time. (And, that is not to mention the heated discussions that arise when selecting a methodology!)

Before you settle on a methodology and a training curriculum, consider teaching your sales people how to be more resilient. Multiple studies confirm that resilience is a common characteristic of top-performing salespeople and probably necessary for success. And, one of the exciting messages from this is that we can teach salespeople to increase their resilience.

Here is a simple checklist to keep in mind when training on the topic of resilience:

  • Argue: Salespeople should learn to argue with themselves. Many times, their beliefs are what hold them back from makinganother call or being confident. Learning to challenge these beliefs is a key ingredient in resilience.
  • Quit: Yes, you read that right. Resilient people know when to stop chasing a dormant account and move on. They do not give up after the first “No,” but they recognize that putting in extra effort on an account that is just not going to buy from them is a waste of time and energy.
  • Connect: Resilient salespeople know how to ask for help. They are not afraid to reach out to managers or colleagues to close a sale, write a proposal, or find new prospects.
  • Reframe: Losing a sale or making a mistake on a larger order can be viewed as failures. Resilient salespeople see lost sales as opportunities to learn more about themselves. When they make mistakes, they look at them as opportunities to re-gain trust.

Dr. Martin Seligman, a pioneer in the research of resilience and the author of Learned Optimism, writes, “We have found over the years that positive statements to yourself have little if any effect.” The lesson being that building resilience is not as easy as telling your salespeople to just, “Be positive.” It takes work but it actually allows salespeople to open their minds to your sales methodology and make the most of your investment in sales training.


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