“You gotta lose ‘em some of the time. When you do, lose ‘em right.” (Casey Stengel) from Jack’s Winning Words.
Casey was talking about baseball games of course; however, his words ring true in business, too. We don’t always win, whether it’s a multiple-bid situation or competition for a listing. Don’t you just hate it when you hear someone whining or bad-mouthing over a lost sale or listing? Stuff happens and it does no good to try to bad-mouth the competition or whine that you got cheated out of a sale. Rather that you should use the incident to try to learn what you could do differently or better the next time.
The ability to look back over a losing situation and see what you did and didn’t do that might have affected the outcome is not necessarily an easy skill to develop. Human nature licks in right after a loss and the tendency to find someone or something else to blame is a strong human protection reflex (at least it protects the human ego, which often refused to believe that you could have done anything wrong yourself).
Eventually logic kicks in, along the realization that if you didn’t do anything wrong and yet you lost, there must be something else you could have done (or done better) to win. One very consistent characteristic that you’ll often hear about winners in sports (no matter what sport) is that they are “students of the game.” Sports greats like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods have often been called students of the game. They study the history of the game and learn what things impact success or failure. Quite often athletes like that go on to become coaches in their sports.
In business (including real estate) there are lots of books and courses available to help students of the game better understand every aspect. Even people who are naturally outgoing and friendly need to understand the nuances of the business game that they are in; otherwise they just become that great fellow that everyone loves, but who never seems to succeed.
So, listen to Casey’s advice and when you lose one, lose it right – learn from it. Discuss it with someone; preferably someone who can help coach you through the process of learning from it and making changes in your approach the next time. If you are just starting out, seek out a mentor in your office – someone who will work with you to learn the ropes and develop your skill at learning from mistakes or losses. It does no good to beat yourself up over loses. Turn them around into teaching moments and benefit from them.