Be Exceptional at What Is In Your Control

Be Exceptional at What Is In Your Control

So many things in sales are outside of your control. This means that you have to be exceptional at all of the things that are within your control.

You don’t have any control over the relationship that your dream client has with your competitor, whether they are deeply in love with them or angry enough to move. You must exceptional at developing your own relationship of value.

You don’t have any control over when your dream client will be dissatisfied enough to decide to change. You must be exceptional at leveraging your relationship of value to help them discover gaps in their performance. You also need to be excptional at having already built the relationships you need when your dream client decides overthrow the status quo.

You don’t have any control over where and when you find your dream client in their buying cycle, whether you catch them at dissatisifed or nearer the end of the process. Because you take your dream clients as you find them, you need to be exceptional at creating value all along their buying cycle and throughout your sales process.

You don’t have any control over your competitors, how they create value, how they sell, or their pricing. You can’t do anything about your competitors. You need to be excpetional at creating value in the unique, differentiated, and compelling way that only you can. You need to sell in a way that makes you exceptional. You need to be exceptional at commanding a price that’s right for the factors that are important to you, your company, and your company’s business model.

The only effective way to counter the fact that so many things are outside of your control is to focus all of your energy at being exceptional at the things that are within your control.


What are the challenges in sales that are really otuside of your control?

Does it ever help you to produce better results by focusing on the things that are outside of your control?

How can you combat what is outside of your control by being exceptional at what is in your control?

What are the two or three things you need to be exceptional at right now?

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  • ReliAbilitYpro

    This reaches so far beyond sales that I can’t begin to explain it… I use this one all of the time at home and at the office, “There are too many things out there that you have direct control of to get stuck wasting your time on this. If you can’t control it: Minimize the impact to your situation, avoid it and move on.” You have explained a great way to minimize and avoid circumstances beyond our control. Thank you.

  • Keith Nerdin

    This is great Anthony! Have you read Cal Newport’s “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”? He dives into this concept in great depth. It’s really changing the way I think about how one should go about finding work they love and making an impact in the world. Thanks for this article. Very good!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Keith. I have read Cal’s book. I’ve also read Steve Martin’s biography (as you know, that’s where he got the title).

  • Charles H. Green

    Anthony, you do know (I can tell you do know from your comment below) that you’re tapping into some heavy stuff here…
    …Grant me the courage to change the things I can, the serenity to accept the things I can’t, and the wisdom to know the difference…

    Many paths to the same wisdom. As you say, it applies to sales, and beyond.

    Thanks for the great message. And shout out to Oz.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Thanks, Charlie! As heavy as it is, it’s pretty practical to work on the one thing you have any modicum of control over: YOU!

  • Marc Zazeela


    Don’t waste time and energy worrying about things you can’t change. Spend more time thinking about the things you can.


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