Losing isn’t the opposite of winning, it can be a part of winning
Vince Lombardi once said, “Winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.”
Like most kids growing up, the importance of finishing first or winning was always stressed. As a competitive person, I thought that second place was the same as last. Losing was a source of shame and bitterness. No one wants to be defined as a loser. In short, everyone wants to win.
Brandon Steiner, the owner and founder of the huge sports memorabilia company that bears his name, gave me some good advice recently. He told me that losing isn’t the opposite of winning; it’s a part of winning.
The more I think about his statement, the more I agree. However, I would make one small change: Losing isn’t the opposite of winning; it CAN be part of winning. I clarify that because losing can also become a habit. But if you use losing as a learning experience, then you can be headed for success.
In the sports world, how many times do you hear championship teams discuss how a certain loss triggered their championship run? It served as a wake-up call, an opportunity to see where they could improve. Losing helped them change their mindset. It demonstrated that in many cases, you have to learn how to win. And losing provides a powerful lesson.
My advice is to embrace all results. The most important outcome is what you learned from it. Few people win all the time, but you can be better prepared to play the game and compete if you have experienced losing and learned what it takes to win.
Your goal should be to improve in areas where you have weaknesses and seek challenges that will stretch you and help you grow. A good competitor will help you point out your mistakes and weaknesses, so pay attention.
For me, sales is a competitive sport. Whenever I win or lose an account, I want to know why. Debriefing is critical. I have no problem being straight-forward and asking clients for feedback. I want to know how I can improve.
If you lose an account, ask for a separate meeting within the week. Tell your prospect you respect their decision and do not want to change their mind. You just want to learn and improve. At the meeting, never be antagonistic. You are there to listen and learn.
You wouldn’t believe how many times this process helped me – not only with my own performance, but in getting the business when the current supplier didn’t deliver as promised.
You always want to leave your prospect on good terms. Even if you never sell to that person, you’ve made a friend by respecting their decision.