Baseball fans likely know Nolan Ryan, and many can correctly identify him as the all-time leader in strike-outs (having struck-out 5,714 batters). But how many people know he is also the all-time leader in walks? Those who like baseball stats probably also know he threw a record 7 no-hitters. Yet, Mr. Ryan also had a career winning percentage of only 52%.
Nolan Ryan lost nearly as many games as he won. Do you think he considered himself a loser after he lost a game? It is doubtful. What do you think Elgin Baylor, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Ted Williams, Barry Sanders, Fran Tarkenton and Jim Kelly (all Hall-of-Fame inductees in their sports) have in common? They never won a professional championship. Yet, they all had lucrative careers. Are these men failures?
As professionals, we should never confuse what we do…with who we are. Nobody likes losing – be it a game or a prospective customer – but a game or sales presentation is only an event. Failing to achieve a goal does not make a person a failure. Professionals should learn from the experience, practice to sharpen their skills, and try again. There are many variables that affect the outcome of a goal. Unfortunately, personalizing set-backs is common in the workplace. We will not win today’s game if we are thinking about yesterday’s loss. So why do we spend time thinking about yesterday’s losses?
In Practice: Redefining Success and Failure
Do you want to be successful 100% of the time in business? It is possible, just redefine success and failure as follows:
- Success = Giving the best possible effort 100% of the time, and maintaining an uncompromising commitment to professionalism.
- Failure = Any effort that is less than our absolute best, and less than professional.
We cannot control what goes though a customer’s or colleague’s mind. But we can control what we put into their minds mind. An interaction does not have to result in a sale or new project to be a success. An interaction is a success when another person feels he/she has been treated with respect and dignity.
When marketing, not every prospective customer who receives excellent service will become a client. There are competitive, economic, sociological and psychological forces far beyond any sales professional’s control. But a successful customer service experience is 100% within each professional’s control. If we focus on service-quality success in every customer interaction the result will be increased sales. The key: Don’t define success as a profit. Define success as an exceptional customer service experience. Do this and profits will flow like a river.
(Copyright 2016, Kenney College. All Rights Reserved).