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Winning Sales Teams Know When to Lose

On June 19, 44.5 million viewers tuned in for Game 7 of the NBA Finals to watch the Cleveland Cavaliers win their first championship and the Golden State Warriors lose a heartbreaker. Warriors fans wept, players were at a loss for words, and one media outlet declared the team’s 73 regular season wins “meaningless.” Sports teams, of course, lose all the time. So, what made this particular loss so devastating? It came so late in the season.

By the time Game 7 came around, fans had spent astronomical sums of money on tickets and gear, not to mention hours watching late night games. With ticket prices as high as $25,000 for the final game alone, fans were expecting a big win as a return on their investments. Until that point, they had been rewarded with league records and celebrations galore. When the final buzzer sounded, however, it was as if it had all been for naught.

Even if you don’t know Stephen Curry or LeBron James, I would bet you can identify with those fans’ feelings if you’ve worked in sales. Losing at the last moment is infinitely more painful than losing in the first stages of the sales process. If a deal is going to end in a “no”, a “no answer” or a “no decision”, it’s better to come to this conclusion before your time, money, and other departmental resources have been wasted. Even worse, when you lose late, you’ve now missed opportunities that could have potentially been major wins had you devoted that time and money to them.


Learn more on how your sales team will know when to keep going or walk away with Miller Heiman Group's Strategic Selling.

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