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Habits of Hyper-Growth Sales #4: Be a Trailblazer

(This post originally appeared on LinkedIn here)

In last week’s post I talked about embracing ambiguity and complexity as your allies in hyper-growth sales as they discourage the majority of salespeople to go where you are heading - as a trailblazer!


Trailblazers lead the way. They believe in the existence of a place nobody has been to yet. They know that getting there will be hard, even risky. There are going to be no roads, bridges and shelters they can use. They are on their own.


Some attempts will fail, get them into a dead end so they will have to go back and explore other routes. They accept this as part of the venture.


Many will question the existence of their destination, call them crazy for trying to get there without knowing exactly how. They will attack the plan for its instable assumptions and the resulting high risks. They will propose management to better expand the existing house rather than going for building a new one in the promised land.


Being a trailblazer doesn’t mean to be a gambler, taking any risk as it appears. Being a trailblazer in selling disruptive innovations means to have a plan, to be conscious of the risks and know how to mitigate them. It means to be flexible and quickly adapt to new situations rather than just blindly follow a process.


It also means to build a team. A single person can be easily overwhelmed by obstacles, a team will have a much better chance of successfully dealing with them. Team members have different core competencies, and different situations will need them in different combinations.


A team will also make better decisions by looking at issues from different angles. Some members will be more risk-averse than others, cautioning on the unknowns and thus helping to improve the plan.


There is one thing a trailblazer team must agree on unanimously, though: the common goal, the destination the trail is heading to. Getting there must be the outcome every team member feels ownership for.


To build the team you need to talk about your plan, share it with others. Invite everybody to join you, but make sure they understand the risks and want to be a contributor.


Stay away from people who just want to join the party because it sounds great: they will be the first to leave when things get rough.


Pick people with abundant growth potential, even though they still lack experience as this is what they will gain together with you quickly anyway.


And lastly: Don’t ask for permission, just go. Either you’ll find a trail and become a hero, or you’ll have to find another opportunity for hyper-growth sales somewhere else.

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