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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

Sales Management Secrets (Part 5): Coaching the Talent of Positivity

sales coachingHer clients and coworkers all love her…how could they resist?  She builds instant rapport with others and is a ton of fun to be around! Eternally optimistic, this seller takes things in stride and sees the world in a glass-half-full kind of way.  Most managers agree, one of her greatest charms is her ability to adapt well to change and remarkably, in tough times, her enthusiasm often spills over onto others, which helps them to see the bright side of things as well. Like anyone else, this idealist has her tough days, but her resilience allows her to bounce back from disappointment, get past rejection, and remind herself that tomorrow will be better. 

A true people-person, she loves being out and about and interacting with others as much as possible, but she’s not always just a social butterfly. She is often driven to help those around her and is filled with seemingly endless amounts of energy to please her clients and make things happen.

When hiring a new seller, most managers are drawn to the magnetic personality of this candidate and may move quickly to bring her on-board. As long as she has a consistent mix of strengths in other areas as well, this seller can find opportunity and success pretty quickly. But beware! The bright and shiny talent of Positivity can cause “glare” during the selection process which makes it very difficult for an interviewer to remain objective and recognize areas of potential weakness. Due diligence is a must!

When hiring and coaching salespeople with great intensity in Positivity, you need to make sure you manage them the right way. 


Here are a few ideas that may help:   

Praise her often.  Praise can be addictive and a very powerful motivator for people with such high Positivity. The more praise she gets, the more she will want!

Celebrate her successes and share her enthusiasm. Make sure you know how she likes to be recognized so that you celebrate these accomplishments in the most meaningful way. A handwritten note? A high five? A cup of coffee to relive the exciting details? 

Show empathy and caring.  Intense Positivity does not make this seller happy all the time, but it does cause her to feel emotion more intensely than others. This means she may have higher “highs” and lower “lows” that she will likely want to share with you. Have Kleenex handy.

Encourage her to network often and build a plan for success in doing so. She makes great first impressions and will serve you well when out representing the company.

Call on her to champion the issues that you need the rest of the team to support. Her enthusiasm can be contagious; make sure she is also well-informed so she can use both emotion and facts to gain their support.

Play the bad cop when necessary. If her ability to stand her ground and convince her clients to make smart decisions is not strong, she may default to people-pleasing. Step in when necessary to set boundaries with the client and allow her to be the good guy.

Ask her specific questions about the needs, challenges, and opportunities that she uncovered in her client meetings. She is likely to walk away feeling highly optimistic and may not realize that she did not dig as deeply as she could have.

Make sure she clearly contracts for next steps at the end of every client meeting. 

Give her clear feedback on her sales performance. Her intense optimism may lead her to think she is doing a great job, even when she is not meeting your expectations.  

With these tips in mind, be cautious about characterizing this salesperson based on one single talent. This cheerful optimist is a unique blend of talent and will need to be coached based on a clear understanding of all of her strengths and weaknesses

Once you have that complete understanding of her talents, consider making a list of three things you should always do and three things you should never do when managing her.


This is the fifth in an 8-part talent development series!

Part One — Work Intensity  

Learn about that seller who loves to work, moves at high speed, and crams more in her day than anyone else

Part Two - Discipline 

Learn about the seller who is buttoned up, loves perfection, but can spend too much time organizing and preparing

Part Three - Command

Learn about and how to help the seller who is always taking charge and a natural closer

Part Four - Problem Solver

Learn about and how to help the seller who is always finding problems to fix


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Beth Sunshine is VP/Talent Services for the Center for Sales Strategy

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Topics: developing strengths Sales