Practice 3Challenge the Process

Ask any seller about a personal-best sales experience, and you'll hear three elements in the story: it wasn't easy, it required perseverance, and it needed a unique or creative approach to make it happen. You might expect sellers to select personal bests based on highest dollar sales or sales that earned them the most recognition. Sometimes those rewards are footnotes in sellers' personal-best stories, but seldom is the payoff the reason why the seller selected a particular experience. Instead, it's the challenge and how he or she overcame it that a seller focused on most.

Challenge is a fertile breeding ground for greatness. People do their best when there's the chance to change the way things are. Maintaining the status quo simply breeds mediocrity and, in sales, is a surefire way to lose an account to a competitor who offers something new and exciting. Exemplary sellers seek and accept challenging opportunities to test their abilities. They motivate buyers and internal partners, too, to test themselves and exceed their self-imposed limits. Leaders seize initiative and make something meaningful happen.

Leaders set the stage for greatness, but leadership is not a solo act. Sellers who shared their successes credited entire teams with the changes that resulted in extraordinary outcomes. Exemplary sellers look for good ideas everywhere—from members of their own teams, their buyers' teams, and any other resource that can spark a new way of thinking. ...

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