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