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  • Writer's pictureDominic Testo

If you’re not in it to win it, you’re not in it at all


Have you ever tried to sell something that you didn’t believe in? Have you ever had a job where you were happy to be average and blend in? Did you enjoy it? Would you have considered yourself “in it” and did you really want to “win it”?

For me, the statement, “You need to be in it to win it” helps define a recipe for success. The statement has two distinctly separate ingredients. The first ingredient is asking myself if I’m really “in it.” Personally, I need to have a level of comfort with my product or service. I define comfort by my product/service doing no harm and making someone’s life easier or better. With this attitude, I can sell anything from plumbing fixtures, to estate planning services, to IT services, etc. Does my product/service have to be best in class or least expensive? Not for me. It simply needs to be a solid product or service I can feel good about, that I can believe in.

And “in it” means “in it.” There have not been many times where I have seen half-ass win it. I have experienced when I put half effort in, I tend to get half of the potential results out.

The other ingredient in that statement is wanting to “win it.” I define wanting by having ambition and drive. I know lots of people making a lot of money with no ambition or drive and they are miserable. Ambition and drive are my fuel. I could love my product or service, but without ambition and drive, I’m going nowhere. And the opposite is true. If I have the ambition and drive with no belief in what I’m selling,it will shine through.

Another way to look at the statement is to invert it. In order to win it, you have to be in it. When I look at it this way, it takes on a new meaning. Now “in it” means doing the things necessary to “win it.” Here it isn’t about believing in your product, it’s about the things that need to be done to get the win. It’s making the cold calls, going to networking events, prospecting, pre-call planning, following your sales process, etc.


Here are some specific examples from my career. Are you in it? I remember being in the pharmaceutical sales world. I had a product in my portfolio for a disease state that, while real, was made out to be more prevalent and life altering than it actually was. I felt awkward talking to prescribers about even screening for the disease, let alone treating it. Now, if this were a life-threatening disease, or a debilitating disease, maybe I would have had a higher level of conviction, but it wasn’t. And the side effect profile along with complicated taper up dosing schedule made things even worse. Clearly this was a case where I wasn’t in it. My sales numbers showed it. My superiors saw it, my clients saw it. Even my wife saw it! Having responsibility for this product was the beginning of the end of my pharmaceutical sales career. I wasn’t in it.

LESSON LEARNED FROM THIS TALE OF THE SALE 1 of 2: win it? As my views of the pharmaceutical world changed, so did my desire to win. I no longer wanted to win the trips I had won in my early days. I was happy camping out, being in the middle of the pack. Complacency had become my norm. There was no fire; no ambition; no drive. I wanted to blend in and be left alone. I didn’t want to win it anymore.


To win it, are you in it? Before going through Sandler Sales Training, my approach was haphazard at best. I was successful. But I could have been uber successful if I had a process. I wasn’t taught process and had a lack of consistency. The point is, I didn’t know what I needed to do to “win it.”

I have learned, for me to be successful, I need to have all these pieces working together. I have to be “in it” (believe in what I am selling) and I have to want to “win it” (the ambition and drive to be the best possible). And in order to “win it” I have to be “in it” (do the things necessary to predict success).

Ok, let’s talk about what it looked like for me when I was “in it to win it.”

When I co-owned/co-founded SportsSignup, a company with a software service designed to help youth sports organizations run more efficiently (with online registration, volunteer background checks, team creation, schedule creation, etc.), I was definitely “in it to win it.” We developed the software from the ground up. I was totally vested in its success. I believed in it. I bled it. I knew the pains of being a volunteer and all the hours dedicated. I saw the joy on the kids faces when they played in the programs. We weren’t hurting anyone, on the contrary, we were helping them. I was also in it to provide a good place for people to work. A fun atmosphere where people were allowed to flourish, not to get held back. Yes, I was most definitely “in it.” And did I want to win it? You bet your @$$. When I woke up each day, I had a cause and a fight worth fighting. I had clients to win. I had a team to grow. There were youth sports volunteer lives I knew I could make better. Our goal wasn’t to be an average company, or the second-best company. We wanted to “win it.” We wanted the whole enchilada. Our passion was infectious. Our employees and clients both felt it. We most definitely wanted to “win it.”


I intersected with Sandler and the missing link tied it all together. I was taught about the process, discipline and accountability needed. Sandler showed me if I wanted to “win it”, what I needed to do to be “in it.” I had the attitude, goals and ambition and drive to do what was necessary to be successful. We sold that company to Time Inc. and they ran it as Sports Illustrated Play. The software is still used today by thousands of organizations.

I was in it to win it….and I did.

About the Author:

Matt Scarchilli is a proven entrepreneur. His experiences starting, acquiring and selling companies gives him a broader lens to look through when evaluating situations and working with clients. Matt’s sales success over the last 20 years has put him in a position to now be able to share those experiences to help other companies grow and flourish. Matt is a student of human nature and the sales process giving him new ways to connect and communicate with people. Today Matt is the owner and CEO of Sandler Training Systems of the Greater Capital District which delivers sales, customer service and management training to companies of all sizes across all verticals.


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