We’ve heard the criticisms of the so-called trophy generation. Many argue that we’ve become overly concerned about anyone having to experience loss. As a result, everybody gets a participation trophy just for showing up.

Gone for many is a sense of healthy competition.

If you're in sales, you don't buy into that mindset. You compete daily and know that to succeed in sales, you must outperform the competition. While there is one ultimate definition of success (getting the order), in selling, there are things that we must celebrate along the way.

DL is better than DNF is better than DNS

It makes me think of a sign on my gym's wall that says, “DL is better than DNF is better than DNS.” And that stands for, “Dead last is better than did not finish, is better than did not start.”

This message applies to sales as well. Think about it: "Did not close” is better than “Did not compete for the opportunity," which is better than “Did not call and ask for the opportunity in the first place.”

Did not close

We tend to think of sales as an all-or-nothing game, that if we don't get the order, we lose. Sure, if new commissions are the only measure of success, there is some merit to that. However, you were doing many things right to make it to a finalist presentation in this industry.

Did not compete for the opportunity

It can feel incredibly defeating when you start a conversation with a prospect but, in the end, aren't invited to compete for the business. Many of us take it personally, and maybe it is.

The thing to remember in sales is that you shouldn't be trying to do business with everyone who needs what you are selling. You should be seeking new clients aligned with your beliefs and overall value proposition. As much as we like to hear “yes” in sales, the next best thing is a quick “no.”

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Did not call and ask for the opportunity in the first place

This is the only true failure for salespeople. I get that prospecting and asking for opportunities can be scary, but this is a core part of the game you signed up for. You will swing and miss more times than you connect. But you will never compete and close business without first asking to play the game.

Celebrate the small stuff; it matters

Be sure to celebrate at every step. Celebrate every time you ask a suspect for a chance to compete for the role of their advisor. Celebrate a little harder when they give you a chance to demonstrate how they will be more successful and get better results due to choosing you. And save the biggest celebration of all for when you receive the news that you have a new client.

Remember to celebrate the practice, progress, and professional development that leads to closing those deals.

Losing is for winners

Don’t let a fear of losing keep you from competing. In sales, you’re going to lose; it's part of the game. It makes you stronger and prepares you for future wins. However, you should never lose because the competition was bolder or showed up better prepared.


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