Are Your Salespeople Good Losers?

by Chris Young

"Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser."

Vince Lombardi was right.

The following questions are a wake-up call for you to consider...

  • Is your sales team interested or committed to winning consistently?  Why or why not?
  • What are you doing about it?
  • How much are you influencing your sales team to win or lose?

Over the last 14 years, I have seen way too many CEOs, sales managers, and sales teams who are way too accepting of losing the sale. In fact, I believe the "you win some you lose some" mindset is a serious disease that infects the mindset of the sales team, the company, and destroys shareholder value.

If you are in the noble profession of sales, there is one reason to play. Play to win.

To say "I hate to lose" is an understatement. I am not a sore loser. I just take losing as a sign that somewhere somehow I failed and I refuse to keep failing. When I lose or my team loses, there is no second place prize. My commitment to winning consistently requires me to identify precisely where I failed, learn from it, and improve.

There are three reasons why has it become acceptable for sales teams to lose...

There Is A Culture War Against Winning / Being Competitive

Blame soccer Moms (and Dads) who have been telling children all that matters is that "you try".  Scoreboards across the country are shut down if the score spread is too high so that young boys and girls can avoid learning about losing.Does your sales culture allow losing  resized 600

The result... After 15-20 years of "happy talk" across society, we have a culture of greatly-reduced personal accountability. It is ok to lose as long as you try and it is destroying our competitive potential.

Today, I see salespeople getting annual awards they did not earn - they got lucky and everyone on their team knows it - or they were the favorite of management. This nonsense destroys morale, shareholder value, and causes "sales wolves" to flee to companies where winning is expected and losing is a true lesson.

In sales, there are winners and losers. Period. Second place gets nothing.

Poor Salesperson Job Fit

From my experience, the larger the company and the more competition in the industry, the more likely it is that the average salesperson job fit is higher relative to smaller companies and less competitive industries. Why? Competition. In a more competitive industry, companies are forced to hire and retain only the very best salespeople.

In small and large companies with little competitive pressure, it is more likely there are "salespeople" who cannot sell.

Committed CEOs and sales managers use a valid, multi-science sales personality test to identify and hire only the best salespeople. They also use this invaluable tool to onboard and coach.         

Thought leaders who spread "fancy talk" about employee engagement

The popular press, well-meaning bloggers, book publishers, and airport bookstores are conspiring to change the world through sound bites and warm fuzzies about leadership and employee engagement. These "thought leaders" are the "soccer Moms" of the corporate world and they are polluting the mindset of many sales leaders and managers.

These pundits (many who have never actually lead a real team) are proclaiming that management must provide freedom and a nurturing environment to create employee engagement. Listen. All the freedom and nurturing will not fix a salesperson who cannot sell. It only prolongs the hemorraging of lost sales.

And the damage these pundits are doing is often severe. I have seen far too many "get it" sales managers who have only done their jobs by holding salespeople accountable for lack of sales performance who are forced to bow down by well-meaning CEOs who read a book on an airplane or attended a conference where a pundit spoke about how to create employee engagement.

When you hire and retain only "sales wolves" and hold them accountable, you create employee engagement.

The good news is you can make a change today.

Steps To Stop Being A Good Loser And Win More...

  1. Decide. Every important decision begins with the decision to commit to a course of action leading to the desired outcome.

  2. Hire only "sales wolves"- The best-of-the-best companies use a valid, multi-science sales personality test.

  3. Autopsy what worked and what did not- Learn what went wrong by identifying what went wrong.

  4. Establish and enhance selling systems.- Improve your selling systems incrementally to win more frequently.

The choice is yours to make. Your legacy depends on the right answer.

Sales Personality Aptitude Test Sample Assessment