USC's Winning Lesson For Salespeople


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Everybody loves a winner—that’s what the slogan says.

And it’s true.

I was amazed at how many USC shirts appeared on the streets from Honolulu to Chicago during the team’s thirty-plus game winning streak. It was nearly as many as when UCLA had won the “city championship” a half dozen times in a row against its rival, a few years before.

But if you grow overly confident, as I believe the Trojans were, going into the championship game against Texas, if you believe it is your destiny to always succeed, then a big fall is imminent.

The hype helps against lesser opponents, who believe all of the Heisman publicity. But it doesn’t work against a competitor who is grunting it out, away from most of the pat-on-the-back publicity. There’s always a Fresno State Bulldog ready to bite, or a Texas Longhorn waiting to skewer you, especially when you’re becoming too full of yourself.

And this applies if you’re a big-time sports team, or just a successful salesperson.

Continuously, you must be able to separate healthy self-respect from cocky confidence-surgically, if necessary.

If you have the former, you still possess traces of humility, and you prepare like you’re rated #25, and not #1. With the latter, you’re preening in every mirror you pass, making sure you’re ready for your close-up.

A salesman who is on a roll doesn’t thank his lucky stars that he earned yet another sale.

He curses the heavens because some rare prospect finally said no, and he just can’t believe it.

His disappointment and rage can blend into a blinding potion that can make him stumble again and again, until he’s on a losing streak—something that seemed impossible a short time before, when everything was going his way.

He seesaws from not remembering how it feels to lose, to not recalling how it feels to win.

Peter. F. Drucker, my professor, and world-renowned management guru, was fond of quoting the ancient saying:

“If the gods want to destroy you, they’ll first give you forty years of success. ”

Or, maybe they’ll intoxicate you with cocky confidence by handing you 30+ victories in a row, or a hot season of selling.

No matter. Appreciate what General Patton said:

“All victories are fleeting. ”

Gary S. Goodman © 2006

Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of , is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. He's a frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide. A USC Ph. D. from The Annenberg School, Gary’s programs are offered by UCLA Extension and by numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. Gary is headquartered in Glendale, California. He can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at:


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