We all know that the sales profession can be very rewarding in many ways. But it’s certainly not easy. In fact, sometimes it can be pretty discouraging. That’s why good salesmen should have optimistic personalities. Optimism is essential in keeping salesmen on a positive track toward success. It’s one more thing on the list of what makes a good salesman.

It’s like that story of the two traveling shoe salesmen; maybe you’ve heard it. They were assigned a new territory in a rural village somewhere. After a day, they reported back to management. The first one said, “This is a terrible market. No one here wears shoes.” The second one said, “This is a tremendous opportunity. No one here wears shoes!”

The story is a great illustration of optimism in salesmen. The optimistic salesman is always visualizing his success and anticipating realization of his goals. Without the burden of negative and destructive thoughts, he is able to prevail over any obstacles that cross his path.

There have actually been some psychological studies on the effect that mental attitude has on success. In one study that compared insurance salesmen, the optimists outperformed the pessimists by 20% better sales during the first year of the study, and a whopping 50% in the second year.

Optimism instills a sense of equilibrium in the up and down, highs and lows world that is sales. Rather than taking a rejection as a sign of failure, the optimistic salesman opens up to the possibility—no, the probability—of success on the very next call. But we shouldn’t confuse optimism with fantasy. Optimists can still be in touch with reality, and they know that life occasionally throws a few detours on the road to happiness. Each success, each failure is a lesson, and it’s what we do with the knowledge from these lessons that will set us back on the right track.

How does optimism relate to risk-taking? Since willingness to take risks is another factor in what makes a good salesman, an optimistic point of view enables salesmen to view uncertainties as possibilities, embracing successful outcomes and acknowledging disappointing outcomes while learning from them.  After all, successes and failures are both a part of the natural order of things, and the person who understands that is going to be happier and more successful than the person who doesn’t.

If you have pessimists on your sales team, they’re going to make life difficult for everyone else with their negative attitude. When they don’t have a positive outlook, they will not be likely to engage in their work or their relationships with energy or enthusiasm.  Their negativity may even rub off on colleagues or worse, customers, and then where will your company be?  under those circumstances, it’s not likely that you’ll be recording better sales.