Super Bowl Lessons for Sales Leaders

Published on February 8, 2016

Ever lose that big deal, the one you were working on for a long time and thought you had in the bag, only to learn someone else came in from under you and stole the show? If you were rooting for the Panthers in the Super Bowl, you know exactly what I mean. I deal with this issue often as a MOTIVATIONAL KEYNOTE SPEAKER.

Cam Newton had a tremendous year. The Panthers were heavy favorites to win over the sympathetic favorite, the Broncos. Yet all that came crashing down as the Bronco’s DEFENSE manhandled Cam and shut down the Panthers juggernaut offense. A stunning upset!

So how does one recover from such a defeat and carry on? ALL top producers and the most successful people in this world will tell you that their greatest successes came from their greatest failures. While the hurt is stinging and the pain is raw at first, the dust always settles. Then the question is whether one will be bold enough to open themselves up to the learning opportunities that come from the tough defeat. It is those lessons that will lead to future victories.

As a Sales and Leadership Expert, I always advise CEOs and sales execs to not only ask prospective candidates about their past successes, but to ask about their past failures and what they learned from them. If the candidate can’t think of any or did not learn anything from them, I advise my clients to look elsewhere. The reason is simple. We all fail more often than we succeed. A baseball player batting .300 is considered a star and makes millions of dollars a year. That means that for every ten at bats, he only gets three hits. Three hits out of ten tries? If you didn’t know any better, you would call that person a huge failure in life.

The reality is, the numbers are not much different for us, though we may compete in a different arena. The star baseball player is constantly learning from his strikeouts in order to be in a position to make the three key hits that matter the most.

Do you learn from your strikeouts? Are you letting your defeats stop you from going forward? Or are you accepting them as part of your success journey and looking for the learning points that will lead to future and greater successes?

As for Cam Newton, he taught all of us a valuable lesson on how NOT to handle defeat. This great athlete with a huge personality all but collapsed in the public eye during his post-game interview. Wearing a hoodie, he did not say much, except, “I don’t know what you want me to say.” He should learn from his coach, Ron Rivera, who praised the Broncos, congratulated them, and said the loss will sting for a while, but the Panthers will be back.

In defeat, the way we handle the aftermath is as important as the lesson we gain from the loss. The way we respond to defeat defines the character and makeup of a person, especially in the public eye. This is what makes a champion that wins the support of others.

Bottom Line: Of course you should be upset that you lost a sale. Use the frustration and bitter disappointment as the motivational foundation to do better next time. But also learn to forgive yourself, know it is part of the journey, learn from it, and remember that people are watching how you respond to defeat.

Congratulations to the Broncos! To Cam Newton and the Panthers, there is a championship in your future if you believe in it.

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