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Don't Quit Before the Game is Over


Written for The Nova Scotia Business Journal

I am a pragmatic realist, but I am also an optimist. When in pursuit of a sales goal, my mantra is the Robert Fulghum quote:

About winning: It doesn’t matter; it’s how you play the game

About losing: It’s how you play the game

About the game: Play to win!

I was disappointed to read the NSBJ September opinion piece “Brace Yourself for Disappointment”, in relation to whether or not Nova Scotia will win the main contract from the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy. Stephen Harper once made a statement about Atlantic Canadians’ attitude of defeat and this is a perfect example. In the sales world that is the beginning of the end.

While Peter MacKay may have hinted that we are not in the lead for the shipbuilding contract is that any reason to give up? The federal government may be assessing us to see if we will rise to the challenge. Prospects do that all the time when negotiating. Even if it’s true, giving up is not an option and a poor example of our ability to compete. If your salespeople gave up rather than competed would it give you the wins needed to increase your top line revenue?

Losing in business or any other part of life is inevitable but why quit before the game is over. If we were playing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and won the first three games, would we decide that was our share of the prize and give up? When we win money for a convention centre does that mean give up on the next three opportunities? Winning is a habit but, unfortunately, so is losing. If we don’t sell ourselves, no one else will and the biggest battle is very often the one between our ears. Attitude and belief is often our most powerful asset.

A quote for salespeople to live by: “You must be a willing participant in your own rescue.” It’s not a bad thing to be looking for a game changer that will alter our economic future or our business. Winners are on this hunt for opportunities and make no apologies for wanting to earn a better future. Our success as businesspeople and as a thriving province won’t change unless we first have the will to prepare to win sales both big and small.

©2011 Sandler Training Inc. ( is an international sales and management training/consulting firm. For a free copy of Why Salespeople Fail And What To Do About It, call the Sandler Training at 902-468-0787 or e-mail

Eric Fry

Sandler trainer