Closers

Armed with a list of hands her brother scratched out on a napkin, Annie Duke cut her teeth in the world of poker at a daily game with a rogue cast of characters in Billings, Montana. By the time she retired from the professional poker circuit six years ago, Duke had amassed more than $4 million in tournament earnings and a World Series of Poker bracelet.

Before he became a world-renowned depicter of the banality of corporate America with his “Dilbert” comic strip, Scott Adams was rejected for an arts school, and instead earned an undergraduate degree in economics from Hartwick College and an MBA in economics and management from the University of California-Berkeley. In 1997, at the invitation of Logitech CEO Pierluigi Zappacosta, Adams, wearing a wig and false mustache, successfully impersonated a management consultant and tricked Logitech managers into adopting a mission statement that he described as “so impossibly complicated that it has no real content whatsoever.”

Matthew Dixon is Managing Director of the Corporate Executive Board’s Sales and Service Practice. Brent Adamson is Senior Director of the Sales Executive Council, a division of the Sales and Service Practice. Their book “The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation” was published in November 2011 by Portfolio/Penguin.

Pages