Most sales professionals are optimistic, look-on-the-bright-side kind of people. They need the self-confidence and resilience to get up and dust themselves off when times get tough. While optimism is an excellent quality, can pessimism be helpful, too? According to some sales experts, the answer is yes.

It may sound counterintuitive to embrace pessimism, but pessimism can keep you realistic about your skills and help you prepare for less-than-ideal circumstances. Writer Jen Gustavson says that top-performing reps often see their pipeline as half empty. They know they will fail more than they win, be down after they’re up and that no deal is guaranteed.

Wondering about the possible perks of pessimism? Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, where we share Gustavson’s thoughts on how a more pessimistic outlook can boost your sales performance.

You dedicate more energy to deals likely to close. Working in sales means you hear “no” quite often. When you know most of your leads aren’t going to amount to anything, you can focus more of your time on the leads that will. This requires being a little pessimistic about the likelihood of any given deal, Gustavson says.

You’re better prepared for objections. When you sprinkle in some pessimism to your sales approach, you can see things from the prospect’s perspective. This helps you prepare for any potential roadblocks, such as price. A good rep will acknowledge an unspoken bid around pricing and bring it up proactively, Gustavson says. If the price works, great. If not, it’s an opportunity to either negotiate or cut your losses.

You know your offering’s limits. Rather than trying to sugarcoat things or trick prospects into thinking you have the end-all-be-all solution, a little pessimism keeps you realistic. When you know your product’s shortcomings, you can create an honest pitch that addresses those shortcomings but also highlights all the benefits. Prospects will appreciate your candor.

You can build failure into your forecasting. You may be having the best quarter of your career, on pace to crush your quota and close some big deals. However, don’t get too comfortable, Gustavson says. A dash of pessimism can help you stay on the offensive, anticipate objectives and roadblocks, and be smart about moving deals forward.

Instead of leaning one way or the other when it comes to being an optimist or pessimist at work, aim for a healthy balance between the two. It can be helpful to look at things from a different angle from time to time.

Compiled by Audrey Sellers

Source: Jen Gustavson is a writer for Sales Cloud.