This isn’t really about boxing. It’s about how a smaller, weaker competitor uses intangibles to beat a larger, stronger opponent, one of my very favorite things. With all apologies to my MMA-loving friends.

You don't win on paper

McGregor is eleven years younger than Mayweather. He is an inch taller, and he weighed 20 pounds more than Mayweather when the bell rang to start the fight. There is no question that he was the bigger, stronger fighter, as well as having a two inch advantage when it comes to reach. He has an intensity as a competitor that is second to none, an indomitable mindset.

On paper, McGregor had all of the advantages but one: His opponent was an undefeated prize fighter with a 49-0 record, and who has only fought championship fights since he was 21 years old.

How does an older, smaller, weaker opponent beat the younger, bigger, and stronger opponent? With experience and skills.

Skill Sets

In The Only Sales Guide, I wrote that one needs mind set, skill sets, and tool kits to succeed in sales (or any other endeavor).

Boxing is a set of skills that, like all martial arts, was designed to allow a smaller, weaker opponent with a certain set of skills to beat a bigger, stronger opponent. Possessing these skills creates an asymmetry, causing the person who lacks the skills to be at a disadvantage, even if they are big, strong, and tough.

A salesperson with better skills beats a salesperson with what appear to be advantages on paper. This is why you can lose while having the best product, the best pricing, and the best ROI.

These skills are changing, and knowing how to sell effectively now is the difference between success and failure, and it is why I write so much about commtiment-gaining, business acumen, and the ability to lead change.


Young McGregor is a tough fighter. He has had the experiences that allow him to win in Mixed Martial Arts contests. But he gave up traditional boxing when he was 17 years old, where he had only fought amateur boxers. MMA, like all combat sports, is brutal. But his contest with Mayweather was in a boxing ring, and under boxing rules.

In German, there is a word that translates to “fingertip feel.” The word is “fingerspitzengefuhl.” It means a situational awareness that allows the person who possesses it to intuit things and respond appropriately. You know when someone has it because it looks like magic, like things are moving slower for them, that they have the ability to see the future. The ability to discern what they are really seeing and make distinctions based on a deep set of experiences provides a competitive advantage over those who lack this ability.

Experience gives you this ability. It comes from intentionally trying new and different things as you learn to discern the patterns. Having 49 professional fights, dozens of them championship fights, provides fingerspitzengefuhl.

It isn’t very likely that your product is not your problem. Nor is it likely that your pricing is to blame for the challenges you have selling. It’s more likely that it is mind set or skill sets.

Your skills and experiences are intangibles. They don’t show up on paper, yet they create a competitive mismatch that allows for someone who appears to be at a disadvantage to win.

What are you doing about the intangible that allow you to win?

Hit reply to send me your thoughts, ideas, and stories. Hit forward to send this newsletter to someone you know who could benefit from thinking about creating a competitive mismatch. Ask them to join us here each Sunday by signing up at

Do good work this week, and I’ll see you back here next week!

Anthony Iannarino

P.S. If you want to develop one skill that will provide you with a competitive advantage, I would suggest that skill is controlling the process by gaining commitments. The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the 10 Commitments That Drive Saleswill provide you with the blueprint. Send me your receipt to join the Facebook Mastermind Coaching Group, starting up next weekend.

P.P.S. Here is my tweeted prediction from 3:30 PM ET yesterday. Missed it by about half a round.

You don't win on paper


Contributor Anthony Lannarino is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant. He writes daily at and you can subscribe to his newsletter at