A Different Take on Winning

I want to win as much as anyone. I am as competitive as anyone. I win my fair share and work hard to win them all.

I do not think winning is the only thing. How you win is important. How you treat people when you are trying to win is important. Winning at all costs is, to me, the same as losing. If that is the game, I will find a different sport.

I hate Vince Lombardi. I hate what some people have made of him. I think back to my junior high school and high school sports and think about the abuse I personally received from so-called coaches who had bought in to what they understood as the Vince Lombardi philosophy. They were (are?) ignorant. They were (are?) abusive. They were (are?) not paying attention to what really counts: that you grow and win with people who work together, who bond, who care, pull their weight and then some, and people who pick up their brother off the ground and carry them while they recover. That is winning. But, this is not the Vince message that I hear and have heard from “coaches” all through the years.

So, I am reacting to them and not to any statement that I get from Skaer’s editorial. But, I think the message that many will get is the one that leads to abuse ... and that is not good. And, personally, I think that Vince is much more likely to agree with my position. But, like many famous figures, Vince’s words become a battering ram instead of an inspiration.

Steve Saunders
Tempo Mechanical
Irving, Texas

Try to Win All of Your Games

I don’t know who wrote the Human Synergistics exercises, but obviously someone lacks understanding of “coaching,” and you’re good to call them on it.

A smart coach knows that a team probably won’t win 12 out of 12 games, and will understand that a team may only win nine. But a coach that doesn’t push players to win all 12 isn’t doing his job.

Jason Scheiner
ProTech Systems Inc.
Albany, N.Y.

Closing All Calls Isn't Good

I am satisfied with our comfort consultant only closing 50 percent of the calls he goes on. Actually, his close ratio varies month to month and usually averages closer to 60 percent.

Here is where your theory [of winning all the time] is flawed, in my humble opinion. We would feel something is wrong if we closed 100 percent of our calls. First, we go on every call with the intention of making the sale. But we often find there is a poor fit between what the customer wants and what we offer. Unfortunately, we can’t do a good job of determining this without running the call. The most common reason is the customer wants a less-expensive solution to the problem than we are willing to provide.

I will give you one example. We go run a call for a new furnace. We observe that the duct system is extremely poor - it’s too small, creating high static pressure, low airflow, and comfort issues. We insist that the duct system be upgraded as a condition to put the furnace in. The customer buys from a different contractor who is willing to install a new furnace without the duct upgrade. No sale. We can’t be at 100 percent by our choice.

Another reality is this: If we close more than 70 percent of our leads, our price is too low. Trust me, successful contractors know they have a limited resource in our trained, skilled installers and service technicians. If we got a “yes” 100 percent of the time, we would be leaving a lot of money on the table.

Scott Robinson
Apple Heating & Cooling
Ashtabula, Ohio

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Publication date:01/22/2007