Saturday Morning Sales

Kevin Latchford


W's & L's / Win's & Learn's - October 21, 2017

I try not to jump on any bandwagons, but today I’m going to do so, on the topic of “there are no losses, only learning opportunities”. This seems to be a hot topic right now, as I’ve come across this theme with LinkedIn articles, blogs I follow, and multiple posts on Twitter. Maybe it’s the political climate we’re in or a business attitude shift left over from the last full moon. Whatever the reason it’s being talked about, it is a great topic for any sales leader to cover.


The idea of winning or learning has been drilled into me since I was a child. The theme was reinforced by the Xaverian Brothers who taught me in high school and on the athletic field. Then reinforced throughout my college days and right on into my career. It is simple to say, but sometimes not so simple to digest: you win some and you lose some – but you don’t really lose – you learn.


I’m not going to get all philosophical with this post, rather I am going dwell on one aspect, and that’s how to prepare for a learning opportunity (loss). No one wants to lose, especially in sales, because it means a loss of revenue and a loss of income (commission and/or bonus). I mean c’mon, no one wants to willingly walk away from earning money, right? Of course not. But, learning from the loss will ultimately guide you to many more wins over the course of your career. That is if you know how to learn from the lost opportunity.


As silly as this example may sound, it has stuck with me for a very long time. When I turned 16 years old and received my drivers license, like many teenagers, I thought I was all high & mighty. I was a sophomore in high school and was very interested in a young lady that was a senior. Oh boy did I like her. Well, not only did I have my eyes set on dating her, I thought she would absolutely say yes to me. My cousin, who was a few years older than me, pulled me aside before I asked her out and shared a concept with me that’s stuck all these years later. He said, “you know you’ve got some steep competition out there, so even if she turns you down, don’t despair, just learn from the experience and immediately ask someone else. Keep asking until someone says yes, then learn from the entire process, not just from the one yes or one no.” She said yes by the way.


His words, not just what he said but how he said it, ring true in my ears some 30 years later. Being told no is not the end of the world. Being able to analyze why someone may have chosen to say no to you will help guide you to a yes the next time. In sales, as in many life situations, being told no is part of the course you’re on at that moment in time. I’ve tried to always enter into a selling situation with eyes wide open. I try to consider being told yes and what the next steps might be in the closing process. But, I also consider what comes next if I’m told no.


Being prepared for a no can ease the pain of the actuality of that word. Then, if you are told no, take time to reason with yourself. Why were you told no? What did someone else do to get a yes? Can you change something in your sales process or pitch next time to increase the odds of being told yes? What can you do today to increase the likelihood of getting the yes nod tomorrow?


When it comes right down to it, many sales people measure themselves and others by wins and losses, but only a true ‘A’ level sales person will measure in the W’s & L’s that truly matter – win’s and learn’s.

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