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Richard Shank, AT&T
Richard Shank, AT&T
Title: Enterprise sales center vice president
Age: 40
Location: St. Louis

What he does: Sells AT&T networking products to large companies in the Midwest.

When he hears "no": "We know all the CIOs in the Midwest, and a lot of them know each other, so I'll say, Why don't you have a conversation with so-and-so, and that person can serve as a reference for me. If you don't know them, you can meet someone new and network. It's a good strategy for helping customers consider you."

Career highlight: "We just landed a worldwide deal with Monsanto. To do it, we didn't confine our pitch to headquarters. For some companies, the thing they want is innovation. For Monsanto, it was trust. So we developed a tactical plan to win their support by sending AT&T people around the world to meet each region's leader face to face."

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