Learning From Losing

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NOELLE WEAVER: My friend Neilan Tyree, a magnificent gem in the agency world, put it best; "The role of the new business person is everyone from Annie to Ziegfeld. When you’re part of the new business team you span the spectrum from agency coach to cheerleader, from traffic cop to private investigator and from hostess to man servant."

One of the hardest roles I think I’ve had to play during my new business career is that of the eternal optimist.

A big opportunity comes in the door. You spend nights and weekends sweating over the details of the presentation. The client says at the end of the meeting 'you guys absolutely nailed it!’ And the pitch team feels absolutely triumphant.

A week later the phone rings and you learn that "we loved you and your thinking, but we fear that you’re too small for this piece of business."

Okay. It’s a valid concern. I won’t argue it. But still the agency feels crushed. Hurt. Unloved. What’s wrong with us? And what do we do now?

You simply wait for the next opportunity.

I always believe that with each new business pitch you head into you learn something new. If you don’t, then your pulling a routine and you’re head is not in the game. Our agency learned a few new tricks this time around. We learned a new way to present competitive intelligence. We learned a new way to work together to get to the strategy. And we learned that what clients say is just as important as what they don’t say [but you know to be true about their biz].

So while there will be mass disappointment each time you lose -- with each loss you learn. And as the eternal optimist, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the years, is that with each loss, the next win is that much sweeter.
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