Google the phrase: “Learning more from
defeat than from victory” and you’ll find thousands of relevant links. Most
point to a variety of stories from which this phrase has been used, from
heads-of-state to military leaders to coaches. Each and every story is
different yet shares the commonality that through defeat or loss is a lesson
learned that should offer guidance on how to succeed or be victorious.
My son recently began his high school
journey. He is being welcomed positively with open arms, positive encouragement,
all while being grounded in the messages being shared. Again, the theme of
learning from defeat is a story shared. I’ve read and reread the message that
was shared with him and his new classmates. The story is new but the theme is
old. Reading it I was reminded of my own failures or defeats, yet here I am
still standing, stronger and wiser than ever before.
Being a career sales person can be tough
on the sole and spirit. As I’ve often stated, there is no such thing as
perfection, only the attempt to be perfect. Along the way there will be will be
awesome deals won, providing an exceptional feeling of pride, while delivering
large commission or bonus payments. But, along the way, there will also be
losses, the deals you wanted or expected that simply did not come to fruition.
The difference between an ‘A’ level
sales person and a ‘B’ or ‘C’ level sales person is the power to learn from
loss or “defeat”. It is easy to tell and re-tell the stories of success or “victory”.
It is humbling to be able to stand tall and tell and re-tell the story of loss.
But, when you accept that loss is a part of the sales career journey, you’ll
soon realize the lessons learned will ultimately provide a pathway to success.
Over my years in business, as a sales
manager, trainer or consultant, I’ve come to meet and study a variety of sales
people. Some have been successful beyond imagination while others have been as
middle-of-the-road as they come. I use my journal to make and keep observations
handy on what drives success. Those with a higher successful closing percentage
tend to be those that learned from their mistakes, lost deals or bumbled sales
calls. Like me, these individuals paid attention to what transpired during
those sales losses or defeats. Like an athlete following a loss, they study their
game films, look for mistakes or miscues during the sales process, and plan
accordingly for the next sales meeting.
Successful sales people do not point
blame toward others or situations that may have been influencing the sales
process. Blame is for the weak and truly becomes nothing more than a series of
excuses and lies to oneself. Accepting defeat is a necessary step toward
becoming victorious. A win, a closed deal, the signature on the contract, the
victory will lead to another and another. Through defeat lessons on how to
become victorious are learned.