Why Having a "Nothing to Lose Attitude" in Sales Helps

In the world of sales, there are plenty of strategies to choose from. From harking on brand awareness to dealing with customers on a personal level, these have all been proven to be effective at some point. Obviously one will gain an advantage over the other, but situations are quick to change.

Salesmen usually adapt a strategy based on an idea, or an ideal. This stands at the core of one’s ability to promote and sell. And while these strategies differ from one person to another, it’s always a good idea to try something new when the existing one becomes ineffective.

There are good ideas, and there are great ideas. But what happens when people in sales become okay with the idea of being good just because it helps them make their quotas? The answer is, they never become great. One way of achieving this is by changing one’s mindset to usher in a way of thinking that can turn "good" into "great".

Great Examples

If you're familiar with the boxer Manny Pacquiao, you'd know that some would say he’s the world’s greatest pound-for-pound boxer, the only Filipino to make it to the Time 100 list, and treated as a hero in his country. We know that he went from rags to one of the highest paid athletes of this generation through hard work and talent. But let’s go back to where he started.

Manny Paquiao had his first fight when he was just 12. He made less than 40 pesos for that fight. And whatever amount he won, he gave to his mother to buy rice. Before that, he used to sell donuts. Perhaps he wasn’t a good at selling donuts. But what could have possibly made him go from selling donuts to boxing?

The secret was at that very moment, he felt like he had nothing to lose. He felt like that 40 pesos was something he couldn’t get just by selling, and that it was something he could earn without turning to crime.

Here’s another story. Ludwig Van Beethoven. Wonderful musician. He started making masterpieces at a very young age. However, he became deaf at age 31. So what’s the next thing for a deaf musician to do? He started composing. And he made his best works without even hearing a note from any of them. He didn’t see what he could possibly lose by trying, right?

All these examples show only one thing—that having a "nothing to lose" mindset can be a powerful tool, but only if handled correctly.

Breaking the Stigma

The popular opinion on the idea of having nothing to lose is this. You don’t have anything left, thus you have nothing to lose. Quite literal isn’t it? While it can also connote desperation, salesmen shouldn't revert to that kind of mindset.

Here’s an interpretation a lot of you don’t know. Having this mindset frees you from fear, or believing that you're at a disadvantage even though the fight hasn’t even begun.

Utilizing a "nothing to lose" mindset is not having the same mindset as saying “I have nowhere else to go but up.” It’s the idea that we won’t lose anything if we think outside the box, if we did something that has never been done before. And with that mindset, people in sales will be able to make bolder moves—the type of moves that could pay off in a big way if successful.

Don’t Get Too Carried Away

However, don’t get this mindset wrong. You shouldn’t take baseless leaps or just act on instinct. Despite thinking you have nothing to lose, you should still do your due diligence as a professional: calculate the risks, study the market, look at current trends, know what the competition is doing and know what your brand is capable of.

While a "nothing to lose" attitude gives one a bolder attitude towards business, the next steps in pursuing this is mitigating any possible losses. It’s also about considering what is most impactful, what would be the best scenarios, and what would get results faster. Then ask yourself why am I not doing that? The answers are risks of course, but question those as well. How can I lessen the risk? 

Again, you don’t have to lose anything when you start planning. What you do need to lose, however is the fear of failure. Having that fear will only result into mediocre work, something safe, something that can get you a favorable result, but not a big win.

Having a "nothing to lose" mindset may very well be the strongest tool you can use to make bigger decisions, to rack up the rewards, and to be free from just small victories.

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