You must respect your competition, but that doesn’t mean you have to fear them. Even if they are bigger, and even if you feel that they have advantages that should allow them to easily win.

Your competition is human, and that means that, even though may have certain skills or advantages, they can be beaten. What really wins deals are the ideas, the people, and the passion that your dream clients know will help them produce the results that need.

Here are two ways you can beat your competitors.

Outthink Them

Read. Read. And then read more. If you want to become more valuable to your company and your clients, there isn’t much that you can do that will have a more immediate and dramatic impact on your sales results and your ability to create value for your clients than reading.

Reading improves your thinking. It gives you a base of knowledge you can draw on for the ideas that will create value. Reading narrowly will give you the knowledge you need to sell well and to understand your business. Reading widely will help you gain the knowledge and the ideas that, even though the subject you are reading about isn’t directly related to what you sell or your client’s business, will help you to access your resourcefulness and generate ideas and solutions.

Reading is the fastest way to gain the business acumen you need to differentiate yourself and to be someone worth buying from.

Reading is the key to outthinking your competition.

Outwork Them

No matter how big or fierce the competitor, they can be beaten. Self-discipline and the work ethic that creates a real competitive advantage.

The ability to take action and to do what must be done—even what needs doing isn’t urgent—is what separates the true professionals from the bottom 80%.

Outworking your competitors means being willing to prospect, even when you have live deals in your pipeline that demand some of your time and attention. Outworking your competition means making the choice to act, even when it is difficult to take the action that you know needs to be taken. It’s following a sales process, even though it requires you to do the real heavy lifting that lots of salespeople would rather avoid. It means settling into the role of plow horse and abandoning the idea that the show horse is somehow better.

There is nothing standing between you and outworking your competition other than your willingness to do what must be done. Most of your competitors won’t go where you are willing to go, if you are willing to do the lonely roadwork by yourself while your competitors are still sleeping.

Be a Better Salesperson

Your personal and professional development is your responsibility alone. You can decide for yourself that you are going to be a better salesperson than those that you compete against.

You alone can decide to take your thinking to another level and stay up a few hours late reading and taking notes on what you learned. You can apply your knowledge and your thinking to your dream client’s problems, drawing on all of the ideas and knowledge that your reading has provided you.

You also decide if you are willing to outwork you competitors. You can at anytime pick up the phone and make the prospecting calls that need to be made while other salespeople spend hours on worthless RFP’s that allow them to tell themselves that they are really busy. You can trade the important for the urgent, focusing on generating long term results, even though it is more difficult and isn’t the glamorous work.

You can decide to follow the iron laws of sales, avoiding shortcuts, tips, tricks, gimmicks, and secrets and instead pursuing a more difficult path that leads to greater results. It’s harder work, but the likelihood of winning is far, far greater.


To outthink your competitors, what do you need to learn? What do you need to study and learn that will give you a competitive advantage? In what areas is your business acumen weak, and by shoring up that weakness you can make yourself a more competitive salesperson?

What should you be reading?

To outwork your competitors, what are the important—but not urgent—tasks that you should dedicate your time and energy to completing? What are the tasks that most salespeople avoid that are the most critical to success in sales? What are the choices that have to be made that most salespeople avoid making? What are the demands of a good sales process that must be met that increase your likelihood of winning that are easy to believe you can win without?

What should you be doing to outwork your competitors? What are you doing while they are sleeping?

Post by Anthony Iannarino on October 8, 2010
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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