A successful career in sales requires an exceptional mentality toward winning and losing. Some may call it morose, but those people simply aren’t cut from a salesman’s cloth. The essence of a successful salesperson is that they’re happy losers. Before you shout, “I HATE LOSING!” hear me out.

Being a happy loser doesn’t equate to liking losing; far from it. Winning salespeople understand – and accept – that losing is part of the game. They don’t enjoy it, but they do recognize the power in their response to losing. How they react to it creates ripple effects, and happy losers use those waves to their advantage. Losing is never pleasant, comfortable or preferred, but there are seven actions happy losers take that help them stay effective winners.

  • Maintain a Winner’s Mentality – From golf to basketball to sales, a winner’s mentality keeps you bullish regardless of your current status. When you’re in the zone, you know it and you feel confidence in every action. And when you’re lobbing bricks – or missing sale after sale – you believe without a doubt you’re “due the win.” That foundational approach provides the mindset you need to stay in the game.
  • Skip the Scoreboard – Everyone keeps tabs on where they rank against goals and numbers, but great salespeople avoid the seduction of scoreboard watching. When you’re doing well and you see those dollar signs mounting, it’s easy to become complacent – and that’s exactly when the slide gets slippery. Winners know staying focused on the game plan, fundamentals and daily activities will result in consistent and positive outcomes.
  • Sidestep Sulking – When a big loss hits, do what you need to do to learn from it and move on. Flip rejection upside down and recognize that by clearing your path, the loss has removed a “not gonna happen” out of your way and made room for you to focus on opportunities still in play.
  • Sharpen Your Skills – After a loss, take appropriate time to analyze your performance. Did your presentation get off track with an unexpected question? Role play with a colleague to work through a better future response. Did you miss an opportunity because you didn’t see it/act fast enough? Revisit your territory or market plan. Skills development isn’t a one-time action. It’s never-ending, so commit.
  • Rely on Routine – If you’ve created a well-organized, systematic foundation of skills fundamentals – including planning, prospecting, cultivation, pipeline management and retention activities – then trust in your game plan, especially during lean times. Happy losers know long-term success results from consistent processes and the steadfast execution of best practices and essential sales activities.
  • Avoid Water Cooler Talk – Energy breeds energy, so surround yourself with other winning mentalities. It’s easy to get caught up in the water cooler negativity that can swirl within sales departments. Avoid that unconstructive pitfall. Stay focused on your plan, your actions and your next win.
  • Forget Patience; Practice PersistenceCurrent stats reveal it takes an average of 8 cold call attempts to reach a prospect, and yet the average salesperson gives up after only 2 calls. Persistence produces results. Additionally, nurtured leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. What’s this tell us? Today’s market requires a commitment to cultivating relationships, building confidence and establishing value. When it comes to contacting prospects, the resolution of ” just one more” can drive you from win to win.

You’re going to lose deals. Sometimes it’s avoidable; sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you see it coming; other times you get blindsided. The question of whether or not you’re going to take hits throughout the course of your sales career isn’t worth asking. You will.

The real question is, when it happens, how do you respond and what do you do next?

I’m interested in your thoughts on being a happy loser.