My American Olympic team wins. My team ALWAYS wins. But if a game or competition is close, I pace, look away, or even change the channel for a few seconds. I have some odd superstition that if I am watching, they will fall and roll down the hill, or drop their skating partner. But we will always win another medal and the score will surely have changed in our favor by the time I come back. And then we win. We ALWAYS win.
Except when we don’t. The occasional loss results in my stomach being slightly upset, and I avoid Sports Center and the sports section of my landing page until a bigger story moves our losses off of the banner. But we would win the next gold. We always win.
Except we didn’t. More losses. More heartbreak. I trade posts on Facebook about how the team is not as great as we thought this year, but they will get it back. I can’t stay away from NBC and ESPN forever, and I hear the commentators talk about how these athletes know how to win, and they will be back, and more gold is SURELY in our future.
Except we lost again. Team USA is not medaling in the things they should be. I say, “Oh well, life goes on, and we will be back with a summer team in just two years” as I make weekend plans with friends instead of trying to avoid sports talk. I analyze my team’s performance with friends and think that this just won’t be their Olympics. Losing has quickly become accepted.
In media sales, we don’t take losing well either. We actually lose more than we win, if you look at what we get out of what we go after in the first place. But when you have that big presentation or renewal and you are feeling very confident about it, when you follow up and you get a “no” or, worse, now you can’t get them to return your calls, you get that same slightly sick feeling in your stomach. You don’t want to face your manager or your fellow sellers, who anxiously want to know what happened.
But you will get the next one. You are a great seller with a great media solution!
Except you don’t. Your own personal losing streak extends. You lose confidence in yourself, but worse, you accept the losses. You shrug and say, “You can't win 'em all” and go out to lunch.
Don’t accept the losses. Don't let it become your norm. Don’t get into a losing habit. Fight your way out of it.
Here are some suggestions to keep you hating losing:
- Let go of the last loss. That was one unique situation with one unique client. Turn and look at the next one with a fresh eye and positive point of view. This client has a unique need and situation. Start fresh.
- Watch the replay tapes. Analyze what happened for the future, but pay more attention to what you did right. During this season, even with the “losing streak” my team has won a record number of games. Focus on what went right, and do it again and again.
- Don't make losing a habit. Take a top client to lunch and sell them something – a banner, a weekend or morning spot package you created, anything.
- Don't hide your feelings. Be a good sport in front of the client, but get mad! Get frustrated! Vent! Calculate the commission you lost! Just don’t become numb.
- Work harder to win. Practice your presentation. Ask a few more questions to be positive that your ideas answer their needs. Make sure they clearly understand the ROI. Shore up the relationship through personal thank you notes for their time, for example.
Losing stinks. Expect to win.
By Kitty Malone, Efficio Solutions Manager of Client Services