What makes one salesperson great and another fail?

We often think greatness is the opposite of failure. That if we look at why people fail and do the opposite we will succeed. Perhaps this is because it seems logical… the easy solution. Maybe the opposite of greatness (or failure) is merely average. Maybe greatness and failure are merely variations on each other.

This is discussed in  "First, Break all the Rules… " by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman.

"By studying the best salespeople, great managers have learned that the best, just like the worst, suffer call reluctance. Apparently the best salesperson, as with the worst, feels as if he is selling himself. It is this striving talent of feeling personally invested in the sale that causes him to be so persuasive. But it also causes him to take rejection personally – every time he makes a sales call he feels the shiver of fear that someone will say no to him, to him.

The difference between greatness and failure in sales is that the great salesperson is not paralyzed by this fear. He is blessed with another talent, the relating talent of confrontation, that enables him to derive immense satisfaction from sparring with the prospect and overcoming resistance. Every day he feels call reluctance, but this talent for confrontation pulls him through it. His love of sparring outweighs his fear of personal rejection.

Lacking this talent for confrontation, the bad salesperson simply feels the fear.

The average salesperson feels nothing. He woodenly follows the 6 step process he was taught and hopes for the best."

Now obviously the you can argue that people are more complex than this and other talents are involved. You can also argue that some fears can be reduced by practice.

But, I would hope that you no longer assume the opposite of greatness is failure. They are often subtle variations of each other. Study your best.

Makes you think about where else this logic could apply.