Success Stories

Relationship Marketing With Kody B: Anthony Iannarino

In this week’s Relationship Marketing with Kody B podcast, Anthony Iannarino states that time Management is a false sense of prioritizing. Matter of fact when it comes to time we all have the same amount… 24-hours in a day!

It’s a fact that everybody has exactly the same amount of time, not in the way of a lifespan, none of us know when our last day is NONE of us. We just don’t know what that looks like.

So, why is it that some salespeople seem never to have enough time to get people in their pipeline, do follow-up & generate more sales let alone get closes done?

To sum it up, “Me Management.” Managing one’s self is certainly more effective than “Time Management.”

Anthony says “Time in my view is the single finite nonrenewable resource human beings have. Certainly, you can have an outstanding to-do list, and you can study time management. However, in my view, there’s no such thing as time management, there’s only “me management.” You have to be able to manage you. And if you’re not good at “me management,” you are never going to produce the results you’re capable of.”

Until you are dissatisfied with results in your life, no matter what it is, you will never see the success and results you want until you change and do something different! Manage yourself by prioritizing.

Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author of 3 books, and a sales leader. He has been there, and he has done that. He’s Talked and trained a lot of top businesses throughout the world.

He is internationally recognized as a thought leader in sales and leadership and much, much more;

  • His award-winning website ‘The Sales Blog’ is being read by 65,000 people each month with 115,000 subscribing to the feed.
  • For 9 years, he has published a daily blog post.
  • His Sunday newsletter, while you were sleeping reaches 80,000 people each week;
  • And his podcast, ‘In the Arena’ is in the top 40 on iTunes.
  • Anthony has been named on the 50 Most Influential People in Sales by Top Sales World.
  • He was also called on the 25 Most Influential in Sales and Marketing by OpenView Partners.

Learn how in the heck he wrote 3 bestselling books in 3 years…

  1. ‘The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need’
  2. ‘The Lost Art of Closing’ and his third book;
  3. ‘Eat Their Lunch,’ (released on November 6, 2018)

Don’t miss out on how he has accomplished all his success in this information-packed podcast that will blow your mind and your excuses…

Kody Bateman: Hello everybody. This is Kody Bateman. Welcome to Relationship Marketing with Kody B. We’ve got a really exciting show for you today like we always do. I’m really, really pleased that the quality of content that we’ve gotten from our guests on this show over the last several weeks. Boy! We’re going to jump right into yet another one. Some of the top sales professionals in the world, sales trainers, teachers, gurus, authors in the world have been on this show in the last several weeks and we have yet another one on here today. So without further ado, I want to introduce to all of you today Mr. Anthony Iannarino. Anthony, welcome to our show today, brother. How are you doing?

 

Anthony Iannarino: Wonderful. And you pronounced the last name right. You don’t know how interesting it is when you’re getting ready to walk on stage and the person that’s introducing you says, “And now with no further ado, Anthony.”

 

[Laughter]

 

Anthony Iannarino: Bailed out on the last name all together. But you got it perfect.

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah. Well, fortunately, somebody puts some really good notes on here so I made sure I pronounced your name the right way. Now, I noticed in your bio, it’s kind of interesting, your bio talked about you being in a rock and roll band and you had lots of hair back in the day. So that was the first thing I noticed. What happened to all the hair and all the crazy stuff?

 

Anthony Iannarino: The drugs took out my hair away.

 

[Laughter]

 

Anthony Iannarino: Not those drugs. I had a brain surgery and I was on pharmaceutical drugs that took my hair away. Yeah, when I was 18 – actually, a little bit before that, when I was 15, I saw Def Leppard on the Pyromania Tour. And you’re old enough to remember that.

 

Kody Bateman: Oh yeah.

 

Anthony Iannarino: So that was a big thing. I mean that album was incredible. And two years later, I saw Whitesnake opened up for Quiet Riot. And the part of your audience that’s old enough to know what that means understands what we’re talking about. But the rest of them are going like, “What’s a Quiet Riot? I don’t know what this means.”

 

[Laughter]

 

Anthony Iannarino: And I was with girlfriend at that time and I just noticed how she was looking at David Coverdale, the lead singer from Whitesnake. And part of me is an observer of human behavior and I always have been. And I looked around in this venue and I noticed that every single woman in the venue was looking at David Coverdale with the same kind of look. And I called my brother the next day and I said, “With great urgency, we must start a rock and roll band immediately.” I know what we are called to do now.

 

And I started the rock and roll band and played music from 17 until about 25, 26. And then Nirvana killed rock and roll. Rock and roll, that was fun and interesting anyway. And that was the end of that. But it was a really, really good time. If I had to do it over again, I’d do it again with even more zest and zeal.

 

Kody Bateman: So we have a sales guru rockstar on the show with us tonight. I want to come back to that because I love – you tell a story about how when you were out doing the rock and roll stuff, you had to go buy something that you could hold your gear around. I want to start with that story because I think it’s real important segue into what we want to talk about today. But before I do that, I want to make sure that our listeners understand who they are listening to today.

 

Anthony Iannarino, he is – his website is TheSalesBlog.com. Anthony is the co-founder of the OutBound Conference which we are really excited to be a part of, April 23rd through the 26th in Atlanta, Georgia. And you and several of your colleagues have founded that incredible event, learning all about the sales process, outbound process. Really good stuff. You do that along with Jeb Blount, Mark Hunter, Mike Weinberg. You’ll be speaking there in April.

Anthony is the international speaker, bestselling author of two books, and a sales leader. Actually, there are three books and I want to talk about all three of those books. Anthony had spoken to global giants like Accenture, Abbott Laboratories, Index, NetJets, Novo Nordisk, TransUnion, Wells Fargo, General Electric, the list goes on and on, RR Donnelley, a whole bunch of people. So we’re building up credibility of this guy as we speak. He has been there. He has done that. Talked to a lot of people and trained a lot of top businesses throughout the world.

 

Anthony graduated from Capital University with a Summa Cum Laude dual major in Political Science and English Literature. He attended Capital University Law School on a Dean’s Academic Scholarship. He attended Harvard Business School, completing their Owner/President Manager Executive Education Program.

 

He is internationally recognized as a thought leader in sales and leadership with his award, winning The Sales Blog. Now, this is what I love. You have The Sales Blog that’s being read by 65,000 people each month with 115,000 subscribing to the feed. For 9 years, he has published a daily blog post. Sunday newsletter, while you were sleeping reaches 80,000 people each week. And his podcast, In the Arena is in the top 40 on iTunes.

 

Anthony has been named on the 50 Most Influential People in Sales by Top Sales World. He was also named on the 25 Most Influential in Sales and Marketing by OpenView Partners.

 

The three books, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need was released October 2016. Now, this is interesting because listen to this release statement, so that one was released October 2016. The next one, The Lost Art of Closing, released August 8th I believe in 2017. His third book, Eat Their Lunch, released November 6, 2018. That means you released three bestselling books three years in a row. How in the heck did you do that?

 

Anthony Iannarino: A lot of typing. A lot of typing.

 

[Laughter]

 

Anthony Iannarino: You know what? The first book, before I had a book deal, I wrote the book and I went to this publisher and the first chapter in that book is about self-discipline, and the publisher said, “Why on earth would you start a book with something that everybody hates and then what does caring have to do with selling in the first place? Why does that even belong in the sales book?” And I said, “Let me ask you a question. You’ve never sold before, have you?” And he said, “No, I haven’t.”

 

And I said, “OK. Well, you’re going to have to trust me that I know the character traits and attributes of successful salespeople and I’m going to have to trust you that you understand book publishing.” And he said, “Here’s what we’ll do. We will go out to your blog. We will pull the post that we like and we’ll create our own book habit.” And I said, “No, that’s not what I want to do.” So we parted our ways very, very quickly.

 

And I had that book written and I was going to self-publish it. And an acquisition editor from my publisher portfolio reached out to me and said, “Why don’t you have a book?” And I said, “I do.” This is over Twitter. And he said, “Well, I can’t find it.” And I said, “That’s because I’m publishing it in six weeks.” And he said, “Who with?” And I said, “I’m self-publishing it.” And he said, “Would you mind talking to me?” So I had a phone call with him and he said, “What’s the title of the book?” I said, “It’s 17 Elements.” And he said, “That’s stupid. We hate it already.”

 

And I said, “This is going well so far. You asked me to talk.” And he told me everything that I was doing wrong and said, “How many books are you going to sell?” And I told him and then he said, “If you sold that many books, I’ll buy your next book from you and I’ll give you this deal and blah, blah, blah.” So we got into financial conversation pretty quick.

 

And I said, “Look, you’re a really opinionated guy. Why don’t you read the book and tell me what’s broken and I’ll try to fix it before I publish in six weeks and we’ll go from there.” So he read the book and he sent me an offer for two books and he bought the first book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need and he bought the second book, sort of an unfortunate first title when you say if it’s The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need and you have a contract that says you owe him a second sales book then I’ll start closing in the following year.

 

But I literally handed him the manuscript in New York to the publisher, got on a plane ride then wrote 4,000 words of the second book on the way home. And the second book was out within 10 months of the first book. So that’s how fast we did that one. And we gave it a little bit more time between the second and the third only because we had some publishing challenges. Right now, there are a lot of people having challenges getting books printed. So we were going to be October again but we ended up November, three books, three years.

 

Kody Bateman: Wow! That’s amazing. It’s incredible. In fact, I just finished my third book as well, the – what’s the name of my book, guys? Hey, producer, what’s the name of the book? The Power of Human Connection: How Relationship Marketing Has Transformed the Way People Succeed. I just finished that book last year. It’s interesting because I wrote that book, wrote every single word, it’s 65,000 – 70,000-word book, wrote every word of that book in a period of about 6 months while running a large sales company.

 

And I’ve talked with some of our previous guests about this concept, how do people like yourself and I just went through the experience myself as well, but when you talk about you, you released three books within three years plus you’re running a very successful sales consulting organization, you speak all over the world, you do all kind of stuff, and we’re talking to salespeople today and salespeople seem to never have enough time to get people in their pipeline or get follow-up done or get closes done or get – generate more sales and those kinds of things. They never seem to have enough time.

 

But how does a guy like you have the time to do all the stuff that you do? What’s the difference between you who can write three books in three years or released three books in three years and all the other stuff, what’s the difference between you and the standard salesperson that says they don’t have enough time and that’s why they don’t succeed?

 

Anthony Iannarino: It’s – everybody has exactly the same amount of time, of checklist, not in the way of a lifespan but none of us knows when the last day is for any of us. We don’t know. Time in my view is the single finite nonrenewable resource human beings have. So you can have really good to-do list and you can study time management but in my view, there’s no such thing. There’s only me management. You have to be able to manage you. And if you’re not good at me management, you are never going to produce the results you’re capable of.

 

And I wasn’t always the way I am now until I was probably, I’m going to say 12 or 13 years ago, I probably got up at 6:00, 6:30, went to an office, had the same kind of day that most people listening to this have. But at some point, I decided I was unsatisfied with my life. I was dissatisfied. I wanted something different, something more.

 

And I sat down with my wife on December 28, 2009 and I told her, “I’m changing my life in a dramatic way and I need to share this with you. I’m going to get up at 5:00 o’clock in the morning and I’m going to write for the first hour and a half of the day every day and I’m going to publish a blog post every day. I’m going to share everything I know. I’m not going to keep anything back. Everything I know I’m going to put on this blog. And within a year, I’m going to be keynoting sales conferences at.” And I gave her an amount of money that I thought was outrageous at the time. And ten months later, I got my first deal to speak at a kickoff. It didn’t take me a year. It took me ten months to get that deal.

 

But I now get up at 4:30 in the morning. And the difference I think between the way I operate and the way a lot of other people operate just because of the way our culture is set up, I’m not throwing stones at anyone, if you get up at 4:30 and you don’t really have to be anywhere until 8:00-ish, you’ve got a lot of time to work on what’s really important to you. So if you want to write a book, you can write a book. If you want to write a blog post every day, if you want to go to the gym and be in the best physical shape of your life, if you want to prepare your meals, you have time to do it. But you have to go to bed probably at about 9:30 to get up at 4:30 if you want to have 8 hours sleep.

 

And the difference is just what you prioritize. So a lot of people I know prioritize comfort and I prioritize suffering. I like having to grind out in other blog post and write a thousand words and grinding makes me happy because I think that I’m doing something productive. And that’s my mindset about this. I got on the flight when I was writing Eat Their Lunch in San Diego and I had to fly to Minneapolis on my way back to Columbus and I was very nice to the woman sitting next to me. We had a conversation. I said, “I apologize but I have to put this headphones on because I’m writing a book and I’m going to write 5,000 words on this flight.” And I wrote 6,000 words on that flight because that’s just my wiring now.

 

I’ve been writing every day for so long. If you could see how good of a writer or how much writing someone has done their biceps, I would look like Schwarzenegger. I’d have these massive biceps from just typing every day.  But it makes it easy for me to do number one and number two.

 

If you do anything over and over again, you get better at it and it takes you less time and it just comes more easily.

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah, there’s no question about it. And the key to getting up earlier and earlier is to like what you’re getting up for. I mean if you’re excited, if you’d love to write and you’re excited to write and you can’t wait to get up so that you can do that hour and a half session, makes it a lot easier to get up at 4:30 in the morning. So, find something that you love to do. Fortunately, you and I share a common like, and that is we both love to write. So I kind of have picked up some of those same habits being able to just basically do things that you enjoy doing.

 

Anthony Iannarino: And the morning is better writing time.

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah, it really is. It really is. You don’t have any distractions. There’s something about getting up early. You hear the old adage about the dairy farmer. I mean the dairy farmers are milking those cows at 4:00 o’clock every morning, 4:00 o’clock every afternoon, 7 days a week. But boy, they get a lot of work done in a 12-month period of time.

 

So – well, I want to go back to what we talked about at the very beginning. When you first started out, you were – actually, when you first started out with your band, you were actually playing in rock and roll band and you had a bunch of equipment you had to haul around and you ended up going to a car dealership. I want you to tell that story. It was an experience that you – of course, the experience you had as a salesperson because I think that kind of set a gauge for your entire career. So tell about that.

 

Anthony Iannarino: What was funny, I’m not a conflict-adverse guy and I never have been. I grew up poor, single mom raising four kids, tough neighborhood, tough kids in the neighborhood so I’ve never been afraid of conflict because it was just so much of what I was around as a kid.

 

But I’m also smart enough to understand math well enough when I’m going into buy a car. In this case, I was trying to get van that I could put all this equipment in because I finally had enough money to buy equipment and I could actually have my own gear so I could hear myself over my loud guitar player and my loud drummers.

 

So I show up in this car dealership and I know what I want and I picked out the van that I’m going to buy because I need something to haul this equipment with. And the salesperson comes and sits across to me and he says, “Here is your payment.” And I don’t know what the number was at the time. Let’s call it $350 a month, something in that neighborhood. And I’m like, “OK. So let me do the math on this. $350 a month is my payment. That’s got the interest already in it, times 48 months. And I’m like, “That’s pretty good.”

 

So I am like, “That’s pretty good.” Because it was not 38 months, it’s 72 months. And I said, “72 months?” Now remember, I’m in my early 20s so people in their 30s right now are old people to me like, “Look, what are these old people? They’re 30 so they’re worthless now. Their youth is gone.” That’s your view of it anyway when you’re in your early 20s. Now I’m thinking, “Seven years to pay off a car? That’s insane.”

 

So I said, “Seven years, that’s nuts.” And he said, “That’s the way everybody is buying it. It’s how we get you this low price.” And I say, “I would never pay for a car over seven years.” And that means that the amount is this much and I did the math and I showed them what the difference was on the car. It wasn’t worth that much. And I said, “I’m going to go ahead and leave and I’m going to look somewhere else.”

 

Well, he got his manager very quickly. And the manager said, “Sit back down. Sit back down. We’ll work something out with you.” And he didn’t change the numbers at all. It went from like $350 to $347. So like $3. I mean that’s not a lot of money.

 

Kody Bateman: Right.

 

Anthony Iannarino: And I get up to leave and the manager picked up my keys and literally blocked the door with his arms and said, “Son, you’re not leaving here if you’re not in that van.”

 

Kody Bateman: Oh my goodness!

 

Anthony Iannarino: And I’m thinking, “I have to fight my way out of here?” And I literally started to get into that kind of state where, “Wait a second. Now, it’s real conflict because I’m standing up and he is standing up and he is literally blocking me from leaving. But as I got closer, he handed me the keys and then as I walked out the door, he kept yelling at me, “I want to see you in that van.” And I thought, “You don’t want to see me into that van because you had a chance to do it. You could have sold me the van.” But they were trying to take advantage of a young guy who didn’t know anything.

 

So that sort of set the bar for me. From that point on, that’s what salespeople were or that’s what they did. They are pushy, manipulative, smarmy, aggressive, and they are doing things in their own interest, not mine.

 

Kody Bateman: So you didn’t want to be that like you were determined you were never going to be in sales because that’s how you associated a salesperson.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. I mean – and that was – I mean for most of us, that’s the first experience we have of salespeople was a car. And so that’s what you start to understand them. So the connotation, the negative connotation around salespeople mostly is limited to a very small set of experiences that people have when they’re young because most of us never saw that way.

 

Kody Bateman: Now, you – it sounds like you kind of came about your sales career by accident a little bit. Can you tell us a little bit about how that transitioned? Because you were doing another at least what you thought was another line of work. You were actually selling and didn’t realize you were selling. I really like that story because I think that also set a tone for you when you got into sales to be in sales the right way.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Well, eventually. I worked in my family’s business and it was staffing. And they told me when I started in the job, I was probably 19. I got a picture this week of me at like 19 wearing a tie, skinny, long hair, part of it pulled back in a ponytail anyway. And I was interviewing candidates and placing them on assignments. But they told me, “In between that when you have time, call companies and ask them if they can use some help and see if you can pick up some orders.”

 

So I started calling people. I didn’t think I was selling. I thought I was trying to help them. So I’m thinking I’m calling because I’m trying to see if they need any help and then if they do, I can help them with this. And some people said yes. Well, flash forward, I’m dating a woman and she says to me, “You’re really good at what you do. You should go to Los Angeles and front a rock and roll band.” And giving it no more thought than that, I got in my car and I drove across the country and I found a job at a company called Olsten Services in Los Angeles, California, and I went to work there.

 

And then I had something that may have happened to you before, I got a new manager. Terrible thing to have happened, right? They ask questions. They want to change things. And I was really happy doing what I was doing. And one day, he asked me a question. He said, “What do salespeople do?” He had ignored me for about 30 days and never said a word to me because I got long hair and a ponytail and he realizes very quickly I can’t be of any use to him. And I said, “Salespeople call on companies and win new business.” I was pretty proud of my smart answer and he was disgusted.

 

So he rephrased his question, “What do our three salespeople do?” And then I got the gist here. They weren’t selling. He knew they weren’t selling. He could see it in the numbers. But I’m not going to rat anybody out. I didn’t come from a kind of a neighborhood where you rat out anybody but let alone you’re only friends in LA. So I’m like, “I don’t know. They’re out calling on people and so forth.”

 

Over the next 30 days that I’ll get fired, he comes back to my desk and he said, “Whose clients are these?” And he handed me a report. And I said, “Oh, these are my clients.” And he said, “How did you get these clients?” And I said, “I call people and I ask them if I can come and meet with them and some of them say yes. And then when I sit down with them, I ask them what kind of problems they’re having. And some of them are having kind of problems I can solve. And I ask them if I can help them with that and they say yes. And then they give me their orders and then I fill their orders and I communicate with them every week to make sure that I’m taking care of them.” And he said, “That’s beautiful. What I want you to do is cut your hair and go into outside sales.” What I heard him say is, “I want you to cut your hair and become a psychopathic axe murderer.

 

[Laughter]

 

Anthony Iannarino: Because in my mind, how could I ever be like the guy that was at the car dealership or as manager? I don’t have that in me. I’m not wired that way to try to bully somebody to buy something that they don’t want or don’t need. And he was a psychology major. He said, “Is being pushy and manipulative and smarmy how you want all the clients you have now?” And I said, “Absolutely not but I still don’t want to do it.”

 

Anyway, flash forward. I’m at a bar called Mom’s in Greenwood [0:21:16] [Phonetic], California drinking Foster’s with some of my friends and whining about having to cut my hair. And somebody grabs me and kisses me and it’s kind of sexy but I don’t know the man that I’m kissing and he doesn’t know me either and we both realized that he thinks I’m Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers and I’m not. And in a bar at that time if I showed you pictures, you’d be like, “Yeah, pretty close.” It didn’t work out between us so we let it go at that moment and didn’t do anything beyond that as even parting as friends.

 

But the thing that happened is I was able to rationalize like, “Look, you look like everybody in LA. Maybe go to Black Rose’s length. Go and see if that works and see what you can do in selling.” So I got into outside sales, became a bad salesperson for a little while because I was a trying to get people to do things instead of trying to help them make the decisions that they needed to make.

 

And fortunately, I had a really good mentor who reminded how I got to where I was and I went back to just trying to serve other people. And if you – your book is about the power of relationships, and we live in a world right now, it’s getting pulled in two directions. One direction is super transactional. We are taking all the humanity out of business. Everything is being done by algorithms. You want everything to be frictionless like Amazon.com and Uber.

 

But the other way that most businesses are going and anybody that would listen to this kind of a show needs to understand the second choice that you make is called super relational where other people are going super transactional, you go super relational. You’re high trust. You’re high value. You’re high caring. You’re deeply human and you work with other human beings. And I know that this doesn’t resonate with the millennials but I’ll continue to remind them every chance I get including here.

 

Sexting isn’t going to replace actual sex at any time soon. And I’m very long on this bet. I’ve got everything tied up in this one bet. This behavior that has created a species that does this on a planet isn’t going to change because you have a computer screen and people are swiping left and swiping right right now. There’s nothing that really matters more than relationships.

 

And I’ll add one point to this about relationships. The pharaohs died and they put all their wealth inside a pyramid with them. And the pharaohs are gone and the gold is still in the pyramid right now. What you’re going to measure your life and your results by later on is how did you serving other people? What contribution did you make while you’re here? And when you realize that, selling starts to get a lot easier.

 

Kody Bateman: Well, no question. And it sounds like you had it figured out right upfront before you ever had a sales trainer, before you ever read a book, and anything else because your first experiences, you were calling people to see if you could help them. And that was your mindset. Your mindset was, “Well, I’m supposed to call people to see if I can help them.” You weren’t even thinking that you were selling to anybody. And I think that’s a really important mindset for a salesperson especially if they – again, if you want to get from transactional to relational, you have to pick up that mindset. How does a salesperson that really wants to generate commissionable sales and close the deals to make the big checks? How do you get their minds to be more service-oriented instead of sales oriented?

 

Anthony Iannarino: You got to let go of the fact that you’re trying to make money. I mean money is an echo of value. Money is what happens when you actually create value for other people. And the more value you create, the more money you make. And the more people you serve the more money you make and the greater difference you make in other people’s lives.

 

So your intention has to be, how do I help people solve the problems that they have in a way that’s better than the way other people want to solve their problem right now? And that’s what it really is. It’s your intention. If you go into a conversation thinking, “I got to find a way to get this guy’s money out of his pocket and into my pocket,” they’re going to feel that intention. They’re going to feel that. you’re going to act and sound different than somebody who is truly interested and trying to make a difference for that person.

 

And look, if you want to have a good time doing this, if you’re in sales and you want to enjoy doing it, there’s nothing better than contribution. I taught a class at Capital University where I went to school and I taught undergrads and I would ask them what they want to do after school and they would say, “I want to work for a nonprofit because I want to make a difference.” And I’m like, “You are so selfish. All you think about is yourself.” And they’re like, “No! I said I just want to work for a nonprofit. I want to do something that contributes to other people.” I’m like, “Well, why do you want to do that?” They’re like, “Because it really makes me feel good.” I said, “So you’re all about you feeling good, aren’t you?”

 

And it’s true. It feels good to help other people and you’re doing something that benefits another person. And the research shows, we just had Christmas at the time we’re recording this, giving gifts makes people a lot happier than getting them. It just does. Giving something to somebody else and helping them, it makes everybody feel good.

 

And that’s what you’re doing in sales. You’re trying to help somebody get a result they can’t get without you. It’s not something you do to someone, it’s something that you’re doing for someone and with someone. And when you get that, it gets easier.

 

Kody Bateman: No question. I’ve got one of your books right here. This is The Lost Art of Closing. Although I just read a stat somewhere, it’s like number 6 on the all-time – The Lost Art of Closing, #6 greatest book on sales of all – greatest book on sales of all time, #6 on the list. This is one that was just released a year ago. Is that right? I’ll see if you can see that.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah, a little over a year.

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah, that’s fantastic.

 

Anthony Iannarino: One of my favorite pieces of work. It’s a really great frame. And the word “closing” scares people because they think, “Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross always be closing.” But this is a super consultative book about all the smaller commitments you have to gain on the way to getting a yes to do business with you and it’s a really good frame.

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah. One of the things I want to bring up in here that really caught my attention really quick was there has been kind of an evolution if you will that we were in a phase where people were teaching that you have to always be closing and then it went – it shifted all the way over to you need to never be closing. And then you talk about how you need to kind of create that happy medium if you will. Can you kind of talk about that a little bit?

 

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. It’s interesting because the Glengarry Glen Ross was actually based on the way that salespeople train and behave at that time. I mean it was true. It was always ask for the business, ask again, ask again, keep trying to test close to see if you can move them. And in a complex B2B sale where there’s risk and where it’s strategic for people, they’re not ready to say yes because they have to have a lot more conversations first. So what happened like normal is we go too far as human beings. So if always be closing is bad then never be closing has to be good because that’s the opposite, right? No, wrong. Never be closing is a horrible idea. You still have to help guide the client to finding their way to a decision.

 

Neil Rackham wrote SPIN Selling in 1988. I read it in 1992. And the three pages before he gets into the SPIN model are about watching 34,000 sales calls and discovering that if you’re always be closing in the price of the gum at the counters is 52 cents, always be closing. Just ask. I mean nobody can get hurt spending 52 cents on gum. It doesn’t matter.

 

But as the deals got bigger and more complex, the always be closing actually works against you. It makes people start to resist you and push you away. And what he found out was that the very best sales people got, what he called in advance. And the advance was what’s the next normal step for somebody to make this decision that they need to make in order to move forward. And the best reps were just getting that next step. They got a commitment to the next step.

 

So they were closing but not for a deal. They were closing for a chance to explore change or closing for a chance to collaborate with the customer on what the right solution might look like in discovery or a commitment to get consensus and get the group of people that are going to care about this in a room together.

 

What I did over many years is keep a careful record of some of the commitments that I tended to get most often and that a lot of other commitments sort of rolled up underneath and I made a list of them that I’ve always used to think of the sales process. So I always think of it as what commitment do they need to make next in order for them to make a good decision and get what they want. And that book is the 10 commitments. Number 9 is the close, the commitment to buy or commitment to decide. But the other 8 or 4 are equally as important. And when you try to skip, you’re skipping coffee and dinner and movies and saying to the person across from you, “We just met but I love you. You love me. We should get married.”

 

Kody Bateman: Right.

 

Anthony Iannarino: And the other person is saying, “Wait. You’re a little fast for me. Coffee might be a better starting point than this.” So you’re taking them through their natural decision-making process anyway.

 

Kody Bateman: So you have 8 steps before the actual close process but you’re asking questions through the 8 steps that kind of are guiding them to a possible close if you will.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah, and asking for a commitment in those.

 

Kody Bateman: Asking for commitment, right. But you’re doing it in stages. You kind of just take it one step at a time. What I want to talk about, you talked about transactional versus relational. When I see the outline of your book and I see these 8 steps before you get into the actual close and you see these steps that you’re taking, to me that immediately resonates relational. It’s like you really care about the process instead of the sale. You care about the process.

 

In other words, you really are there to serve that person. And it’s really hard – it blows my mind because what we’re talking about just seems so much like common sense. I’ve had other guests on the show. We’ve talked about the same thing where it just seems like common sense that you’re there to serve, assist, take care of, be a part of somebody but I’m telling you and I know you know this because you’re in the sales training world, the majority of salespeople still for some reason don’t seem to get this. They don’t seem to get it. They read it and they’re like, “Yeah, that kind of makes sense.” But then they go right out and try to use some tactic to close the deal right now.

 

So again, you’ve done a lot of different things. You’ve done a ton of writing and speaking and stuff and I know you talk about that, about transitioning somebody into that relational deal. Relationships today, they’re so much important than they’ve ever been before. And I want you to speak to this. People know about your product and service before they ever meet with you. I mean we live in a Google age world now. People know everything about everything before they even talk to a salesperson. So relationships are becoming more and more important.

 

What kind of things do you think are effective in creating relationship through the sales process? What kind of unique things should people be doing?

 

Anthony Iannarino: A couple. So the first book I wrote, The Only Sales Guide is it’s called the Competency Model. That’s what it really is. So it’s discipline, optimism, caring, competitiveness, resourcefulness, determination, initiative, communication skills, and accountability. That’s how you have influence is you become somebody worth buying from in the first place.

 

But the second half of the book is about closing and prospecting and storytelling or presenting, negotiating. And from there, we get into some higher level skills. So business acumen, you only need two things to be a trusted adviser, trust and advice. So if you’re missing the advice part, your product is not advised, your service is not advised, your solution is not advised, the tangible results you produce are not advised. Advice is advised. So if you’re going to be a consultative and people say, “Well, I want to be consultative.” And when they say that, what they really mean is, “I don’t want to be a high-pressure salesperson that I want to ask good questions.” That’s not making you consultative. It’s useful but it’s not making you consultative.

 

Consultative means I have the insights and the ideas to give you the right answer for your business to get better results. So the first area to differentiate on is business acumen and situational knowledge.

 

The second thing is and I’ve now written a number of books that describe this process, and the first book, it’s called Change Management and it’s the second to the last chapter in the book. And it’s about starting to understand that there are multiple stakeholders that you’re serving and how to deal with that.

 

And then the second book, The Lost Art of Closing, there’s a chapter in there on consensus. So how do you manage getting them into process because that’s the hard part for most of us?

 

And then in the third book, Eat Their Lunch, I actually wrote out a framework in chapter 7 and 8 on how to look and say who has got authority, who has got influence, who is engage in this process, who is compelled to change and why so that you can start to understand what you’re really looking at. So that ability to build consensus in a group of people and help move them forward is really important.

 

And the other thing I would tell you, presence. Everybody wants to do everything over email now. Everybody lives in a world where text messaging is probably more prevalent than phone calls now especially in certain age groups. But the fact of the matter is if you want to win and you get paid in sales for winning, not for playing, that there’s – it’s an important distinction.

 

A football player that plays pro football gets paid for playing. They get a bonus for winning. You get no commission for the deals that you lost. I’ve checked this. No one pays you commission for losing deals. It just doesn’t happen.

 

So if it means that you give up efficiency and say it will be more efficient just to send this by email and you choose effectiveness because showing up allows us to have a better relationship because we’re face to face. And you and I are on Zoom right now because it allows us to be face to face across distance. And I just finished James Clear’s new book, Atomic Habits. And in it, there are eleven million nerves that come into the brain to deliver information to you, ten million come from your eyes, 10 million out of eleven million.

 

Kody Bateman: Wow!

 

Anthony Iannarino: OK. So apparently, evolution or god, whichever one of those you want to believe in and I’m not making any judgments, believe what you want to believe, but for some reason, it’s very heavily weighted towards the eyes.

 

Kody Bateman: For sure.

 

Anthony Iannarino: So we’re seeing something and we’re making decisions. A lot of people have told me over the years about sales. Well, sales is a science now because we have the FMRIs and we can look and watch a CAT scan and see what’s going on in someone’s brain. I’ve never had an FMRI on a sales call with me to be able to test that because they’re rather large machines and it’s an awkward conversation to shove your client into a CAT scan while you talk to them.

 

So – but I believe that as a human being, being on this planet for as long as we have, your body knows when someone is not telling the truth. Your mind knows. Your subconscious picks it up and you’re like, “Something doesn’t feel right. I have a gut feeling about this.” Why? Because there’s some part of you that can pick that up already. And I think having a presence in a world where everyone is going transactional, to go the complete opposite direction and say, “I’m going super relational,” which means having a presence and showing up. Getting in the car or getting on the plane makes all the difference in the world.

 

Kody Bateman: One of the things we talk about in The Power of Human Connection is again maintaining connection. And I own a company called SendOutCards where we have a system that you can follow up with people and send real greeting cards and real gifts in the mail and it has gotten incredible results for professional people of myriad of different industries. And actually, the book, The Power of Human Connection, is kind of a collection of stories from 25 different industries of people that use that follow-up service.

 

So how important is it to follow up with a real tangible thank you type of card in today’s day and age?

 

Anthony Iannarino: I’m not really sure. I get these from one of your guys, from Bart all the time and they always have pictures and they’re always super personal and it always indicates that Bart knows me and he knows me. He knows me. He knows my children’s names. He knows my wife. And it means that there’s intimacy. And if you look at my friend, Charlie Green’s work in Trusted Advisor and Trust-Based Selling, trust really is credibility times reliability times intimacy divided by your self-orientation. So how selfish are you?

 

And if you ask Charlie to tell you which of those indexes is the highest in the factors, it’s intimacy. So if you’re credible and reliable, which most of us are, intimacy is the multiplier that is far greater than the other two. So if you have to try to find a way to reach out to people, things like this card, you know this card, right?

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah, of course.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. You – there’s a picture of the human beings on there. So I’m seeing them even when they’re not here. There are so many pictures of me in the stage. So this is a way of creating intimacy at scale. And I have a big, big concept that I’ve done a lot of work on that will eventually go into another book but intimacy at scale is a big deal. There’s a sociologist-anthropologist out of Sheffield, England, oddly enough where Neil Rackham was from, his name is Robin Dunbar and he studied primates and he discovered that there’s a cost for having relationships because if you and I were chimpanzees and we are mostly chimpanzees, we’re like 99% genetically the same, we would have to pick nits out of each other’s fur and it takes a lot of time to pick nits out of somebody else’s fur.

 

So the size of the group is limited by the amount of social commerce they can have like that. Well, he took the math from every group of primates that he studied and applied it to human beings. And we’re limited by the folds in our brains. So our brain is folded a certain number of way and you’re limited to about 150 relationships. That’s about how many relationships you can manage.

 

But now I think because I’m not limited to the substrate between my ears, which I’m missing a piece from a brain surgery in the first place like a chunk, but I have this computer and I have a way that I can send out cards and drop personal information and pictures on to those cards and I can maintain some of the social grooming that I need to do at a distance and at scale because I c can leverage technology and tools to help me figure out how best to manage that. And I know that idea resonates with you because you have a company called SendOutCards. So you know this already.

 

Kody Bateman: Well, yeah. You just did the smart guy approach to explaining the effectiveness of it. So that’s – I call that smart guy stuff. And it’s so true. In fact, if you hold that card up again, those of us watching this on YouTube can see this, you hold this card up. Let’s talk about Bart, Bart Ratliff, you have those cards and you received several from him. He has probably sent you a box of brownies along with them and stuff like that.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Please make him stop sending the brownies.

 

Kody Bateman: I know. I know. I know.

 

Anthony Iannarino: I’m on a ketogenic diet.

 

Kody Bateman: This guy, this Bart guy, he is faced up a mind with you because he celebrates you in the cards. He takes pictures of you on the stage and things like that. He always make – keeps a picture of himself. So he stays top of mind. And it’s interesting that he has been able to create close relationship. I mean you’re a pretty big deal, man. You are a pretty big deal, you and a lot of your colleagues. And Bart comes along. He has been able in a short amount of time to create pretty high level relationships with some of the top sales trainers in the world, you being one of them. And he attributes a lot of that to the card sending and the ability to do that again and keeping it relational, focusing on relationships.

 

  1. We’re going to kind of try to wrap up a little bit. But there are a couple of little questions here. In this book …

 

Anthony Iannarino: I just have to say one thing. As delightful as Bart is, it’s really Laura if we’re being honest. If we’re being honest, it’s really Laura.

 

Kody Bateman: Behind every good man is a woman rolling her eyes and she rolls her eyes a whole bunch at Bart. We all know that for sure.

 

But I love the word “philosophy.” I really believe that people need to live off of a philosophy. What is your philosophy? And you actually touch on this in your book, The Lost Art of Closing. And I’ve got it underlined and got the star next to it and it says, “Here’s my philosophy and it is a major thread that runs throughout this book. Selling isn’t something you do to someone, it’s something you do for someone and with someone.”

 

Let’s close the show by just explaining exactly what you mean by that.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. And in that little paragraph that I set this up, I’ve read a lot of the Greek philosophers and the Roman philosophers. The thing about the Greeks was it wasn’t like a college philosophy class with deconstruction and that kind of stuff. If you were a stoic, you had to be stoic. That’s what you had to be. You had to show like the world – so I lost a family member. This thing happened. We lost this war. You couldn’t have any kind of emotional response to that because you’re a rational creature and you’re going to be stoic.

 

If you were an epicurean, you’re going to eat and drink and party because you believe that’s the good life so that what’s you believe and that’s what you do.

 

I think you need one for sales too. And for a long time, people were offered the philosophy of close them. That was a close them. So your job is to do something to somebody. And it doesn’t serve people anymore, if it ever did serve them as well as it could have.

 

And I could make a case that if you have an ice box and your grandparents had an ice box and I come along and say, “I have a refrigerator,” I might have to work really hard on you to get you to say yes to something because you don’t know how much better it’s going to be because it’s brand new.

 

But for most of us now, the better position to hold is the philosophy that says, “This isn’t something I’m doing to someone. It’s something I’m doing for them and with them to their benefit.” And the benefits that accrued to you really come from how well you serve other people.

 

And listen, I’m not god. I do pay attention to the rules as I see them written down. And apparently, the rule in this universe is the more you create value for other people, the more value that accrues to you. And the more you care about other people, the more they care about you. And the deeper the relationship you have with them, the deeper the relationship they have with you.

 

So I don’t make any of the laws of the universe. I just write them down and try to share them with people so they don’t hurt themselves and so they don’t take more time to do the things that they could do if they would just stop thinking, “I want this thing,” and decide, “Let me see what they want and help them get it.” And then as Zig Ziglar said, “You can have anything you want if you just help enough other people get what they want.” And that’s still true today.

 

Kody Bateman: So what you send out is what comes back to you. Powerful law of attraction principle. It is a universal law and that’s kind of what you’ve been talking about.

 

So let’s talk a little bit about how we can – how our listeners can get a copy of your book. So we’ve got The Lost Art of Closing. For our YouTube folks, I’m just putting this up on the screen so you can see it.

 

We also have the yellow book, Eat Their Lunch, which is your latest. This is talking about competition. I actually wanted to get into this a little bit but we’re a little bit short on time. Actually, I’m going to. I got to ask one question.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Sure.

 

Kody Bateman: In this, when I first saw this, Eat Their Lunch: Winning Customers Away from Your Competition. It’s interesting because in my line of work, on occasion, we have companies that spin off of us and they offer similar services to us. And the first thing they notoriously do is they try to steal customers away by saying not so nice things about us. So when I first read this, I’m like, “Oh come on! So what? Are you going to get in this book and tell us that it’s all about eating their lunch and going and kicking their butt and stuff like that?” But you kind of set the record straight pretty quick in there.

 

What is your philosophy about what competitors should say and should not say about their competition?

 

Anthony Iannarino: This is the right way to do it. So I’m going to just give it to people here so they know how to do it. You say, “Listen, they’re a good company. They do really good work in a whole bunch of cases. We have friends there. And they do a very good business. We have wildly different ideas about what the right solution looks like for some of our clients. And if it would be OK with you, I’d like to share with you how we’re different and where we’re different and see if those differences make it worthwhile for you to work with us.” I mean that’s it.

 

I’m not going to say anything bad about them because all I’m trying to do is say, “I don’t really have any greater value to create so I’m just going to say they suck and we’re great.”

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah.

 

Anthony Iannarino: Well, they don’t suck, number one. And you’re probably not all that different. But where you are different, if it makes a difference, that’s what you’re trying to get to talk about anyway.

 

Kody Bateman: Well, and when you do that, you kind of lose credibility. And you mention that in your book is that you don’t – you never want to talk bad about anybody whether it’s competition or not. You just don’t want to talk. Negativity reaps negativity. That’s just all there is to it. So listen, we’re all in this together and competition is a wonderful thing. It makes products and services better. And people are out there making a living doing good stuff. So I think respect is a very important thing. And what you send out comes back to you. So if you respect your competition, you’re going to gain respect from anybody that you’re talking to. So common sense stuff, really common sense stuff.

 

Anthony Iannarino: I’m in Ohio and a rival football team is Michigan and I thought Michigan was going to really beat Ohio State up this year because Michigan looks really, really good. And then their fullbacker with their halfback got on television and said, “We’re going to kill these guys. They’re terrible. We’re going to beat them.” And I’m like, “Ugh!”

 

Kody Bateman: Uh-uh. Darn it!

 

Anthony Iannarino: You never say anything because what you give out, what you send out comes back. And now, you just – you violated the laws of karma, which is respect your competitor. Don’t underestimate your competitor. Decide to work on you because you have to be the one that creates greater value. So all you can really focus on is if you really want to win, create greater value than someone else. Don’t worry about what they do.

 

I’ve checked this too, Kody. And you can check it for yourself. Go to all your customers or competitors rather. Go to your competitors and say, “Please stop lying about us and please irrational pricing because it’s unfair.” And see if they decided they’re going to go along with your plan for them or not.

 

But there’s nothing you could say or do to change somebody who compete that way from competing that way. So what you do is you figure out how to have that conversation with your client earlier on the way I did and you differentiate and you let them come in and be negative and then be like, “Yeah, they don’t really have anything to say except the other guys are terrible. And that doesn’t really help us.”

 

Kody Bateman: Yeah. No question. Good work. Good work, my friend. There you have it, Anthony Iannarino, bestselling author of The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, The Lost Art of Closing, Eat Their Lunch. I’m sure you can get all of those on TheSalesBlog.com. You can get them there. Buy now!

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. Go to Amazon.

Kody Bateman: Go to Amazon as well. And just a reminder for everybody to – we got this upcoming OutBound Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. If you go to KodyBateman.com/OutBound, I think you guys have given us some kind of discount or something for our listeners if they want to attend that. I highly recommend that you do that. I love events like that where you can go with like-minded people and learn from incredible professionals like yourself.

So I appreciate you being on the show with us today, brother. Best luck to you throughout the year. I know you have a super busy schedule. And we’ll look forward to meet you here soon.

And for all of our listeners, we appreciate you taking the time to be on with us today. Stay tuned because we’re going to keep lining them up. We’re going to be talking about the importance of relationships, the power of human connection and how relationships are extremely important in today’s sales process. So take care, everybody. We’ll see you on another episode of Relationship Marketing with Kody B. Have a good one now.

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