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Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He posts daily sales tips and insights to The Sales Blog.

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An Excellent Command of the Art of Sales

alt text image of two men practicing ju jitsu

My younger brother, Jake Iannarino, is a professional comedian. He also practices Brazilian Ju Jujitsu. He is still a relative beginner in this martial art, but he is getting very comfortable on the mat, and he is starting to give much bigger, much stronger practitioners trouble. He is 5’8, and he tapped out an opponent that is 6’4 and 220 pounds.

How is this possible? He has practiced long enough to gain competence and confidence, even when he is on his back, and it looks like he in trouble. How has he gained both the confidence and competence? He has stayed on the mat long enough to start to see results, and he only practices with people who rank much higher than him.

You might believe that your larger competitor has an advantage of you because of their size and scale. This is not true. Your largest competitor has a top 20 percent of their sales force who sells the overwhelming majority of their product, and they have the 80 percent that make up the rest of their sales force. Some of these salespeople will know how to use their greater size to win deals, especially when their prospect equates size to mean they are a safe choice. But these larger companies worry about boutique firms with salespeople who know how to sell effectively, competitively displacing them with a high trust, high caring, high value approach.

You might believe that the additional resources your bigger competitor has will easily tilt the playing field in their direction. Most of the time, those greater resources don’t make a difference in regionally located opportunities, making them no advantage at all. A salesperson from a smaller company with the chops to sell more effectively can easily win over a larger, better resourced competitor. In fact, it happens all the time.

The confidence and competence to sell well is very much like a martial art. It’s the technique that allows a smaller, seemingly weaker competitor to beat what looks like an enormous, powerful opponent. But the larger competitor isn’t a threat when the salesperson lacks the confidence and competence that comes with having an excellent command of your art.

You, the salesperson, are the difference that makes the difference.

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