What does it take to outperform your peers? Positive deviance (and detective work)

By William Seidman

Recently, I had the good fortune to work again with writer and sales expert (at Portfolio DecisionwareKaren Stevens and ShadeTree Technology’s founder and CEO, Jim Banks. These are two great sales people. They are true positive deviants: they’re unusually successful at what they do, consistently outperform, and think freshly and creatively.

It is amazing to me how complete and conscious their mental models of the sales process are. I was talking with Jim while he showed me features of his technology on his website.  I couldn’t follow him because he was thinking so fast and he was showing me only the surface aspects of his approach. There’s a lot to learn!

I did some Cerebyte-style Wisdom Discovery – a piece-by-piece analysis of what she does and how she does it – with Karen, and she revealed a completely different model of sales: a model based on being a detective. Turns out that detective work greatly enhances results…

Positive deviants are just incredible-they think in such different ways. Getting their mental models is not really the issue; getting others to pay attention to their thinking is the real challenge.


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