Sales organizations invest time and money into building strong cultures. They read books on why culture eats strategy for lunch, hold team-building events and listen to pundits touting the value of culture. But, I think corporate America is making this too difficult.  Building a great sales culture might be as simple as instilling one daily habit:  the habit of gratitude.

Are you rolling your eyes? Don’t, and instead, pay attention to a study published last year in the Journal of Positive Psychology. Researchers tracked the lives of gratitude in more than 500 adolescents. Not surprisingly, the study revealed the more gratitude they showed, the stronger the relationships with their peers. Their positive dispositions make them more attractive and likable. Incorporate more gratitude into your sales culture to build better cultures.

Grateful people are likable people, and likeability is at the core of building trust and relationships, internal and external, which is good for business.

When you demonstrate or receive gratitude, it activates the reward center of the brain releasing the feel-good hormone of dopamine.  And this hormone is the same hormone that causes people to overeat and overdrink. So let’s use dopamine for good.

Hard-charging sales managers, take a timeout. Apply the EQ skill of self-awareness and see if you are acknowledging what your sales teams are doing well. If you are like most Type A personalities (I am speaking to the choir), you probably have a tendency to focus on fixing problems, rather than recognizing what’s working well. Write a personal note, NOT an email, to members of your sales team, and acknowledge them for their efforts, great attitudes and willingness to go the extra mile.

Salespeople, you also can take a timeout. Thank the departments in your organization that makes sales happen. Yes, I know, you bring in the business. But other departments often service the sale after the sale, send invoices or ship the product, which retains business. Write a note of gratitude. Instead of going to lunch with a peer, treat a member from another department.  Give your colleagues a dopamine bump today!

I promise you that no one goes home and complains about being overappreciated!

If you want to build great sales cultures, it might be as simple as a daily dose of gratitude.  Make it your new sales key performance metric.


 Creator of the Ei Selling® System, a unique and powerful sales program that integrates emotional intelligence skills with consultative selling skills. She is the author of Emotional Intelligence For Sales Success and Growing Great Sales Teams and is an international sales keynote speaker. Salesforce has named Colleen as one of the most influential sales figures of the 21st century.