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

by Chris Young

Why_Salespeople_Are_Supposed_To_Win_Every_SaleVince Lombardi said it best...  "Show me a good loser and I will show you a loser." 

Losers are brilliant at losing.  They take it in stride.  They expect to lose.  

Keenan - A Sales Guy recently wrote a post titled "Why Sales People Aren't Supposed To Win Every Sale"

I encourage you to read his post.  

I have been following Keenan for some time.  I get what I believe he is ultimately trying to say...  "The best expect to win every deal that creates substantial value for the buyer and walk away from everyone that doesn't."

But how he gets to that point concerns me.  Keenan argues that salespeople are not supposed to win every sale and if that is the attitude they have in selling, as a manager or as a sales person, they are a "shitty" salesperson.  

Selling is about winning.  Period.  

Losers leave a sale they lost and say, "You know... You aren't supposed to win every sale."

They should wash their mouths out with soap.  

Selling is all about mindset - the mindset of the salesperson and that of the Prospect.  If you play to win - your Prospect will likely sense it.  If you play "not to lose" - your Prospect will likely sense it.  If you play with an "its ok if we lose" mindset - your Prospect will likely sense it.  Have you ever dealt with a lousy salesperson?  I do everything I can to get away.   

The game of sales must be played by salespeople qualified to sell.  A sales wolf consistently delivers in the top 20th percentile of sales performance.  A Don Draper sales person consistently delivers in the top 10 percentile. Neither walk around thinking or saying, "I'm not supposed to win every sale".  It is not in their DNA to do so.  

The best salespeople are "wired" to win.

When the best salespeople lose, they are sore losers.  They do not take losing in stride.  They take losing personally.  The best salespeople are wired to autopsy why they lost and then avoid repeating the mistake - they incrementally improve.  Losing is never, ever acceptable to a sales wolf or a Don Draper.  

When losing becomes "part of the game" - when losing becomes acceptable - then you have real problems - you have sales culture problems that are cancerous.  When excuses are allowed - then your sales culture starts to slide and your best salespeople will bolt for the door.  

Keenan states, "If you go into every sale thinking your going to win it, you're missing the point.  The point of selling isn't to win every deal.  It's not to have a close rate of 100%, it's to help a person, a company or an The_Best_Salespeople_Are_Wired_To_Win_organization to improve their current environment... Assuming every prospect or buyer can get value from what you're selling is a mistake...  Not every prospect can or will benefit from what they are selling."

I beg to differ.  Perhaps it is ultimately semantics but the word "lose" can never become acceptable in the world of sales.

Six principles a CEO and sales leadership must embody to win sales more frequently

As a result of many, many PhD's from "The School of Hard Knocks", I have learned six core principles one must embody as a CEO - sales leader -  to win sales more frequently. 

  1. Send no posers.  Never ever send anyone less than a sales wolf or better yet - a Don Draper-class salesperson into a Prospect's world.  Send anyone less and you are setting yourself up to lose.  Losing is for losers.
  2. Know thy target persona / ideal Client.  Know who your ideal Client is and only focus on selling to them. Marketing must focus on engaging only the appropriate target persona.  
  3. Only pursue - engage thy target persona / ideal Client.  A Prospect is either are your target persona / ideal Client or they are not.  Sales professionals never sell to people who cannot "get" their value.  Let your competitors engage those who cannot buy nor understand value.
  4. Sell value - sell outcomes.  Never sell products / services.  Sell value.  Only sales wolves and Don Draper salespeople can truly pull this off.  Everyone else sells price, features, and benefits.
  5. Play to win.  Sales wolves only play to win.  Don Draper salespeople expect to win.
  6. Autopsy losses.  You cannot improve what you do not understand.  Autopsy every single loss.

The best salespeople - the sales wolves - the Don Draper salespeople - play to win.  They only engage those who are qualified to be in the same room as they are.  They sell value - they ooze value.  And it is never, ever acceptable to lose.