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Become the Lead Dog

Updated: Apr 26, 2023

“If You’re NOT the Lead Dog, the View Never Changes”

- Lewis Grizzard

Lewis Grizzard was a well-know writer for the Atlanta Constitution Journal. This is one of many quotes attributed to him prior to his passing in 1994. I came across this quote quite early in my sales career and it was a good motivator for me to try and be the best at whatever I was pursuing. This was my screensaver for many years, along with a photo like this one below. It certainly attracted attention.

Have you ever noticed that when you are very public with your goals and aspirations, they come true more often than not? You will read a great example of this at the end of this article.

When you advertise your goals, the world has a great way of keeping you focused when you might feel like slacking.

I was a lifelong sales person with no strong desire to enter management. Being in direct selling gave me more personal freedom. It also provided the opportunity to earn more with less interaction with corporate politics than I would face by moving up the management ladder. Also, I thrive on the direct client interaction this affords.

The value of being the lead dog in any sales organization is the confidence and trust that management will begin to place on you. You become a proven commodity and you are given more flexibility in structuring deals. You also have an opportunity to influence the sales process in a positive way by offering the ideas and approaches that have made you successful. Good management teams are listening and adapting to the real-world scenarios you bring to the table.

Another advantage to being the lead dog is the opportunity to innovate. As a G.O.A.T Seller, when you conquer the skill of being more Strategic, an entire universe of innovative deal structures and approaches will come to you very naturally. I can’t think of anything more fun and rewarding than leading your team to victory with an idea or action plan you created. In doing so, you build your legacy every day.

After 42 years, I finally came to the year I planned to retire. I had one last chance to be the lead dog and advertise a big, hairy goal to those around me. I was leaving at the end of the calendar year, but the fiscal year ended in June. That gave me just 6 months to plan my final hurrah. I thought the most audacious goal would be to make my entire annual goal in just 6 months. The annual goal was $6.9M. On the final day of my career I pulled out the win. I closed a $5.4M deal that put me at $7.2M for the year. This deal came in because of key G.O.A. T. Selling skills: Being Genuine, Being an Advocate and Being Intentional. It was a tremendous way to walk away from my time in the chair.

I hope you will consider becoming a lead dog yourself, and have the fun and financial rewards it will bring you.

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