Sales Coaching Blog

Sales motivation: The Power of Losing

Posted by Will Kloefkorn

May 26, 2014

Will-Kloefkorn_2014ssSometimes when you lose you actually win. A statement that is very counterintuitive, but when it comes to sales and sales coaching it can be very valuable to learn. In my last blog I spoke about the importance of complexity, the concept of pushing sales people outside of their comfort zone to achieve higher levels of performance.

To learn more about complexity check out this blog from Sarah Wirth

In sales there are a lot of challenges that come along with operating in complexity, but for me there are 3 items that gravitate to the top of the list.

1)      You do not know what the output is going to be. Sales is a metric driven industry and at the producer level we pretty much have the numbers down to a science. Do A,B, and C and you can pretty accurately predict what the performance result is going to be. In complexity you might know what A,B, and C are, but you have no idea what output they will yield; which is why we must allow sales people the opportunity to try new things and fail. Because sometimes when you lose you actually win.

2)      Sales is hyper competitive. Everybody has objectives and goals that they are responsible for hitting. If we are sure that the process we have created or trained to is going to allow us to achieve 102% of goal we generally choose not to deviate from that process or order we have created. It is a safe play. If you chose complexity over order you very well might only end up at 90% of goal … this year. But on the flip side you may actually end up at 85% of goal this year and 150% of goal next year because your challenged your sales people to work outside of their comfort zone. Which option do you prefer? Sometimes when you lose you actually win

3)      It’s hard work. Challenging somebody to perform at levels that they do not themselves think they can attain is hard. If you are a sales manager and you are going to push your sales people into complexity you must be up for the task. The results are not going to happen overnight and watching your sales people struggle through the process is going to take some guts and will be tough to swallow at times. But sometimes when you lose you actually win.

I have heard our President say this many times “I believe everyone comes to work to be successful”, and over the years I have come to agree with him. The opportunity I see with sales people and sales managers alike is that they are so worried about not screwing things up that they don’t allow themselves the opportunity to truly be as successful as they could be, instead they choose to stick to the status quo. Our research shows time and time again that organic sales growth comes from moving individuals and organizations from order to complexity. So the next time you decide to get your sales people to the next level let them know that they might lose initially, but what they learn along the way will help them grow and win in the end. Not just by hitting their sales number, but by becoming a more rounded professional and person.

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Topics: sales management research, Sales Management Summit, sales management resources, sales team motivation

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