Play to Win

Lisa Thal

I have the pleasure of working with some very talented sales leaders that love to win for both themselves and for their clients. So, in a recent sales meeting, I asked these leaders what “play to win” means to them. There were various responses, some of which included the following:

“Come to work every day prepared to win the business.”
“Have a winning mindset.”
“Create a winning relationship with your clients.”
“Exceed your total budgets given to you.”

I then asked by a show of hands how many of them would exceed their total budgets for the year. Most raised their hand except for a few. The sales leaders that were going to fall short for the year gave a few reasons, or excuses rather, why. Some of these excuses included:

“I have major accounts that are not coming back this year.”
“The competition is pricing under the market.”

What I have come to know over my thirty-year career is that you can take no client for granted. You will lose business to a competitor for various reasons. I believe every industry has its share of lost business each year, but we must be prepared to overcome those losses. Some sales people won’t admit, but instead of playing to win, they play to not lose. Take a minute to let that sentence sink in. These sales people do a fantastic job at retaining current business, but may fail to generate new accounts. They also fail to introduce solutions or new products and opportunities to their current clients.

New competitors are entering the market at a very high pace. So, how do you shift to play to win instead of playing to not lose?

1) You pursue new accounts, and you aggressively and strategically approach them with new solutions.

2)  For existing accounts, you look inside the business for ways to leverage your relationships and strategically use referrals and recommendations to grow your business.

3)  You recognize that every client has a sales cycle. You understand that customers come and go, and you focus your efforts on continuing to grow your customer base as a safety net to protect your income.

Make the decision today to play to win, rather than playing to not lose!

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