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The Dark Side of Belief: Arrogance

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
January 22, 2010

You have to believe in your product or service to be a great salesperson. But belief in your product or service can be as destructive to your sales, your success, and ultimately, to your company’s survival if it becomes arrogance.

We Are The Champions

Sometimes companies are fortunate enough to get out in of front of their competitors. They produce something that is clearly superior to most other offerings, and for a time, their market share grows incredibly fast.

For some unfortunate companies, that growth is accompanied by the growth of something else: arrogance.

This arrogance is easy to recognize. You start to hear people say things like “The customer is just wrong. They just don’t understand why our way is better,” or “We can’t do that for them.” When it reaches the tipping point, it sounds like this: “If that is the case, then we’ll fire the customer.”

And fire the customer they do.

We Were The Champions: The High Cost Of Arrogance

The exaggerated sense of importance and value that is arrogance leads to all kinds of problems. It leads people and companies to believe that there aren’t any suitable substitutes for their product or service. It leads them to believe that prospect or customer cannot possibly succeed without them. It leads them to stop listening to their customers and their prospects.

And finally, when they have stopped listening altogether, and when they no longer fear their competition, their arrogance dulls their competitiveness.

When companies stop listening, they lose their connection to the changes that are occurring in the marketplace. They lose touch with what customers need from them. Arrogance causes a loss of the desire to please the individual customer, to make changes to win deals, and to innovate.

Eventually, having fired customers, having alienated prospects, and having failed to innovate, the arrogant company gets leapfrogged. Their leaner, hungrier, aggressive competitors strike. Those competitors have been listening, they have been picking up the fired clients, and they have been innovating.

Arrogance is expensive. It can cost you important relationships, and it can cost you important customers. It can cost you your business.

How To Stay Humble

If you are arrogant, you will be humbled. It isn’t a matter of “if,” it’s a matter of “when.”

In order to stay humble, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to know which competitors are better than you in what areas and then work to improve those areas. You have to believe that somewhere there is someone hungrier than you waiting for you to drop your guard. You have to listen to the customer and understand that your product or service may not be right for them, and then you have to be willing to innovate.

What Does This Mean For Sales

One of the running themes here at TSB is selling inside. This means those of us in sales bring our sales acumen, our sales skill sets, and our business acumen to bear on our own company’s performance as well as our clients and prospects.

As we are the closest to customers and prospects, it is our duty to listen. It is our duty to identify and share with management the risks to our competitive position. It is our duty to work to find ways that we might innovate to maintain our strategic position to leapfrog our competition.

And it is our duty to be confident and humble at the same time, as well as helping to keep our company humble and confident. It is our duty to remind our company that even when we are winning, our clients and prospects are under constant assault by our competitors.


1. Do we feel too safe in our position now?

2. Are we worried enough about a lean, hungry competitor?

3. Do our customers and prospects fell that we are humble? Do they know that we are listening?

4. Are we easy to do business with?

Mindset 2010
Post by Anthony Iannarino on January 22, 2010

Written and edited by human brains and human hands.

Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. He is the author of four books on the modern sales approach, one book on sales leadership, and his latest book called The Negativity Fast releases on 10.31.23. Anthony posts daily content here at TheSalesBlog.com.

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