Tony Ennis

Winning vs. Success

Sales professionals are often defined by their win rate.  Clearly, our companies and families are counting on us to win... but, are we missing something by focusing exclusively on winning?  I believe so. 

As is often the case, I recently learned something from one of my kids... in this case my son.  He is a sophomore in high school and runs for the junior varsity cross country team.  In his cross country meets, there are often 100-200 athletes who start and participate in the race.  Out of those 100-200 athletes, there is only 1 winner. 

1 winner out of 200 athletes.

My son is a great kid; he works hard, has a positive attitude and always puts forth his best effort... and he has never won a race in his life (and I doubt he ever will).  At the end of this past season, he was recognized in many ways, one of them being named the "Most Improved Athlete" on his team. 

Upon receiving this award, he beamed... his coach shared that my son always set a goal time for each race, determined his race strategy and achieved all of his goal times.  While watching my son receive his award and stand in front of his team with a huge smile on his face, I really appreciated the difference between winning and succeeding.  There can be only be one winner.  Winning comes at the expense of another; in order for one to win, another must lose. 

Succeeding is different... everyone has the potential to succeed.  Success comes from defining a goal and achieving it, or determining the strategy and executing it.  Again, my son has never won a race, but he is a success.  He has achieved and exceeded his goals.  He has improved his times from one race to the next; setting PR's along the way. 

Yes, in sales we have to win - the new account, the next project, or the key renewal - however, winning can't be our sole focus. We have to identify opportunities to celebrate success for achieving goals, improving activities, bringing a great new idea, contributing to a team, or supporting a colleague.  I believe success begets success and eventually success leads to winning in sales!

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