Late in 2015 we started producing a bi-weekly radio program called Sales Pipeline Radio, which runs live every other Thursday at 1:00 p.m. Pacific, moving soon to 11:30 a.m. Pacific. It’s just 30 minutes long, fast-paced and full of actionable advice, best practices and more for B2B sales & marketing professionals.
We’ve already featured some great guests and have a line up of awesome content and special guests into 2016. Our very first guest was Funnelholic author and Topo co-founder Craig Rosenberg. Next we had Mike Weinberg, incredible writer, speaker, author, followed by Conrad Bayer, CEO & Founder of Tellwise. Recent Guests: Jim Keenan; Joanne Black; Aaron Ross; Josiane Feigon, Meagen Eisenberg, and Trish Bertuzzi.
We cover a wide range of topics, with a focus on sales development and inside sales priorities heading into and throughout the year. We’ll publish similar highlights here for upcoming episodes. You can listen to full recordings of past shows at SalesPipelineRadio.com and subscribe on iTunes.
We were thrilled this last time to be able to talk to Anthony Iannarino. Listen in or read our conversation below:
Matt: Thanks so much for those of you who are joining us live on the Sales Lead Management Radio Network. We are live every Thursday at 2:30 Eastern, 11:30 Pacific. And for those of you have found us on the podcast, thanks so much for joining in. Really humbled by the number of people that are finding us and listening in, and downloading new episodes every week. You can find us on iTunes Store and on Google Play, and then, of course, on salespipelineradio.com on demand, every episode that we’ve ever produced, and ever will produce on salespipelineradio.com.
We feature, every week, some of the best and brightest minds in sales and marketing. New ideas, new perspectives, and really, really excited today, for our guest. He’s one of my favorite sales speakers, one of my favorite sales authors.
As a marketing guy, Paul, I spend most of my time reading sales books and sales blogs. I continue to learn new things in marketing, in terms of what we do for marketing, what we do with our clients. But I think great marketers need to understand sales better, so I spend a lot of time reading sales books. Someone asked me earlier this week, I was on someone else’s podcast, and they asked me, “What are two books that have had the biggest impact for you in 2017, so two of the best books you’ve read?” And they didn’t qualify that Paul, so they didn’t say, does it have to be sales and marketing, they just said two of the best books and the first one I gave them was a book called Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling.
Paul: Of course.
Matt: If you like grilling, if you looking cook meat and other things outside, this book is amazing. It’s sort of a cross between a great grilling barbecue and a scientific book.
Paul: If they could see your office, you actually have like awards or sauces or other things up on the shelves. Every time I see you on Skype, I see various paraphernalia with barbecuing.
Matt: This is a very much meat friendly, barbecue friendly show. But this guy, I think his name is Bob but he goes by Meathead, Meathead Goldwyn. He wrote this book with a physicist and food scientist from Boston University and if you like grilling, if you like smoking meat, it’s one of the best books you’ve read. It doesn’t just give you recipes, it tells you why it works. It really helps you kind of do new things. So Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling. That was number one. The second book, the one that immediately came to mind for one of the best books I’ve read so far this year is The Lost Art of Closing, which is the second book published by our guest today, Anthony Iannarino.
Anthony, thanks so much for joining us.
Anthony: I came in second place to Meathead?
Matt: It was more the set up. If I had given Meathead second, then I think I would have interrupted the flow of your great insight, so no disrespect at all, for sure.
Anthony: How it got second to the Bible though, I mean if people understood your love for barbecue, they would know. This is a high honor.
Matt: Not a love for barbecue, but also seriously, this is a really good book. But so is The Lost Art of Closing, so is your first book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need. You’ve been blogging literally every day for years. My first question to you is, as a blogger, as someone who is already has established themselves as one of the preeminent thought leaders, writers, speakers, in the sales space, why did you choose to diversity from the blog into full on books?
Anthony: I didn’t think I needed to and honestly I didn’t want to. I just had so many people pressuring me and asking me, “When are you going to write a book, when can we have a book?” And I always pushed back on that, I’m like, ‘Well I have, right now, I just checked last week and I have something like 3,200 blog posts and I’m thinking, how do you need anymore content on this? How is it even possible? Whatever I’ve thought is already written down. But there’s something about the artifact of a book and actually having something physical and tangible, that people want it, so I had publishers reach out and ask for it and I didn’t really like anything that they had to say, so I decided to publish myself.
Portfolio tweeted me and asked why I hadn’t written a book and then asked for a conversation and they thought they did have a value prop and they ended up being a really good partner and they’ve helped me do what I really wanted to do, was write the first book. Sort of say, who you are matters more than what you do. Then the second book, what you do really matters too and it’s important to understand where we are in a world where the sales process and the buying process is completely non-linear now and we’re disaligned and it takes a different type of approach. In my opinion, no one has touched this content with anything relevant to me, to be sales people in our lifetime, so I just felt like it had to be written.
Matt: I would agree with you and I want to talk a little more about that. Your first book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, I mean not only an amazing title, but it really is comprehensive. You cover a lot of different areas in that book around sales, around marketing, around personal development. What made you choose Closing as the second book? Because all the different topics that you’ve covered on your blog, all the different areas you cover in the first book. For this book to go specific into Closing, what was the impetus there?
Anthony: Just watching sales people struggle so much and trying to manage the process and then watching their sales managers and sales leaders wonder why, “Why can’t we forecast right? Why can’t we get deals done in the time frame that we think we’re supposed to be getting them done.” And I don’t think anyone has really recognized the amount of change that we’ve really had when it comes to what’s going on inside the buyer’s world.
You and I have worked together at CEBM, they started talking a lot about this with Challenger customer on just how many stakeholders there are. So if you were to look at the buying journey from a marketer’s perspective, we’re going to have a number of boxes that start at the left side of the slide and at the right side, with them buying or repurchasing or something. On the sales process, we would start out with target on the left and end up with closing in a one lost at the other end. And that’s a nice way to look at it, but it really moves more like targeting, discovery, collaboration, more discovery, consensus, totally off the rails all the way back to discovery.
It’s about determining what commitments have to come next and why and being able to help the customer to commit to doing the things that they need to do to truly make change on their side. As much as I watch this go on, I couldn’t help but thinking about when Rackham Rotes’ Spin Selling and he talked about the advance, which is the only thing I’ve ever seen him write about. Every great rep that they studied with 34,000 sales calls got some commitment to move the deal forward and the people who struggled got what he called a continuation. That book changed my life, only because of just that section. When I started making sales calls after reading that book, I had my calendar open on the client’s desk when I met with them, knowing I’m just going to get a commitment at the end of this.
Whatever the commitment is that moves us forward. But before The Lost Art of Closing, no one had really written down what all those advances look like and after working and writing for so long and working with different groups, I just recognized that this tends to be what they look like. These tend to be the These tend to be the challenge you have in gaining those commitments and I put that guide together because I think it’s going to be instrumental in helping people sell now, when the world’s completely changed in any closing that you would have gotten in the past would have only hurt you.
Matt: We’re talking today on Sales Pipeline Radio with Anthony Iannarino, the author of the new book, The Lost Art of Closing, Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales. I want to talk a little bit about a couple of those commitments. If you’re familiar with Anthony, you know where to find him on a daily basis. I would highly encourage you sales and marketing leaders and listening, check out thesalesblog.com, you’ll get his daily blog post, you’ll get his regular video update, you’ll get access to his books. Just a ton of great insights out there. I encourage you to check it out.
So you cover in this book, Ten Commitments That Drive Sales. You’ve got a chapter identified for each of these. Are these in order or priority? I mean, you start with time, commitment for time, which I know you talk a lot in your blog about what proactive management of time, but for people who are new to this topic, are there one of these commitments that they start over others?
Anthony: You’re going to go through all of them. I laid it out in somewhat of a linear chronological fashion, even though you can go back and forth between these commitments, depending on what’s going on inside the conversation that you’re having with a client. I’ll tell you the big one tends to be the commitment to change and we do a really good job when we book an appointment of trying to do discovery work. I think that’s changed dramatically. Mostly, we’re not trying to discover as much about the client as we’re now trying to help them discover some reason to do something different to make better results inside their own company. But when we do that, we have a lot of conversations without really asking the client, “It sounds like you have some strong opinions about what needs to be done, it sounds like you have a vision. Is this the right thing for us to be working on together and do we have the support of your organization in making this kind of disrupted change?” And you have to have that conversation at some point, and one of the things that you’ll notice in pipelines is there are a lot of deals where there’s been no action taken for a long time and in some cases…I tell one story in the book, a true story. I saw a deal in the pipeline that was 1,741 days old and I challenged the sales leader that if that was a child, it would be starting kindergarten. And it’s not a deal, because it’s already all grown up and on it’s way to school. They never made a commitment for change and no one asked for that commitment, so they continued to have nice meetings but nobody ever did anything and so we have to ask for that and we have to understand that’s really what we’re doing, we’re helping someone make change inside their business.
Matt: We’re going to have to take a break here in a couple of minutes, I completely agree with you on the commitment to change. We talk a lot about that in marketing, just getting that commitment to change, I think is one of the most important parts of the sales process and one of the hardest parts of the sales process and is equally a challenge to both sales and marketing.
We’re going to take a quick break and pay some bills. We’ll be right back with a lot more from Anthony Iannarino. We’re going to talk about his feelings on social selling, which I know he has a lot of great opinions about. I’m going to find out why, if you’re a marketer, you should be reading this book and you should be reading more sales books. We’ll be right back after a couple quick breaks. Sales Pipeline Radio.
Matt: Thanks again for joining us back here at Sales Pipeline Radio. If you like what you’re hearing, I definitely encourage you to check out our podcast to make sure you don’t miss a single episode and you can see all our past episodes on salespipelineradio.com. Coming up to finish out September, we’ve got next week, Liz Pearce, she is the CEO of Seattle start up LiquidPlanner, excited to hear from her. She is a marketer by trade. She joined the company as a marketing consultant and became the VP of marketing, then became the COO, then became the CEO. So I’m curious to get her perspective on marketing at a start up, but also how marketers can become leaders and not just of marketing, but of companies as well.
Then we got Adam Schoenfeld who is the co-founder and CEO of Siftrock. If you want a way to automatically process every single out of office reply you get from individual e-mails and bulk e-mails, have those all update your database, update your CRM, he’s the guy to talk to. We’re going to be talking about the new way of database management with Adam Schoenfeld here in a couple of weeks.
Right now, got a lot more with Anthony Iannarino. He’s the author of the aforementioned The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, as well as The Lost Art of Closing. We have a pretty mixed audience here on Sales Pipeline Radio, Anthony. We have sales leaders, we have sales front line reps, we have a lot of marketers. I can’t recommend every sales book I read to marketers, but I feel like just in going through these ten commitments and the way you’ve written the book, I feel like this is a really good book for marketers to read as well. Do you have a little bit of a pitch for the marketers listening to this, why they should read it and what they can benefit from, from reading The Lost Art of the Closing?
Anthony: I think probably the biggest change Matt, in the world of a marketer. For a long time our content was around products, so we were talking about features, benefits, spec sheets, sales sheets and things of that nature. But now, we’re coming in from a much higher place. We’re coming in CB, now Gardener guys would call Insight. We’re coming in with strategic ideas and now really we’re trying to embody this tradition of trusted advisor, which means we need trust and we need advice, it’s a two part recipe. Since you’re a cook and you like that kind of thing, I’m trying to find a metaphor to use for you here. We only need two things, we need trust and advice.
So the marketing content now needs to support a conversation about what’s going on in the buyer’s world that actually should be causing them to change right now and what are the decisions they’re going to have to make over the next call it, 12 or 24 months. Then what kind of things are they going to have to do internally to make that change. So it’s not only vital I have to change, but how should I be thinking about this change and that’s where we really, really need support.
Once we get that commitment to change, then we have to be able to design solutions and get incentives around that. Different people have different needs and we really need content to support a conversation with different groups of stakeholders who have different needs. When I’m talking to an end user stakeholder, I absolutely have to have product information and features and benefits, I have to have that. But as I move up in the organization, I need marketing content that supports a conversation around “Why do I make this investment?” ‘Because I’m going to bring in a financial person.’ I think their view, if they would look at this through, “How do we support a conversation where all of these commitments have to be made,” and things like the commitment to resolve concerns. When they start saying, “You know what? I’m not sure,” then we have to have content that supports “Here’s why this is a safe decision for you. Here’s why it’s risky, not to do this.” And I think it will change their view of how they support their teams that are actually client facing.
Matt: I like following you on a regular basis, you’re a great writer, your videos are fantastic and encourage people to check those out. You tend not to be a shiny object in the pan kind of guy, with the trends and fads that come through on a regular basis. You base your feedback and your advice on things I feel like are fairly universal. And I particularly appreciate your perspective, when things show up that I think would be the fad of the week, whether it be account based marketing or social selling or what not. I feel like social selling has been around for a little while at least in turn. Maybe it’s migrating in terms of how people describe it, but share a little bit of your perspective of how social media fits into the sales environment and how sales professionals, sales leaders, sales reps should be thinking correctly about socials as an integrated part of their sales approach.
Anthony: I started writing about this when social selling really got hot. And you’re right, I’m a principals and a fundamentals guy, so it’s very hard for me to buy into a fad because I tend to look for things that are deep truths, that last for a long time and fundamentals. So the first book, the best review I ever got on that book said there’s nothing new here. And I thought, thank God there’s nothing new, because I was trying to write a timeless book of principals. If there was something new, I would have really missed the mark. The idea that because we have a new medium and that medium is digital channels that they’ve described as social selling, for some reason the way that it was sold and positioned was all other mediums are now useless and that if you’re going to succeed in sales, there’s only one choice for you and that choice is digital. And it massively over promised on something that it couldn’t deliver and it started to decimate sales organizations and it still is. There’s so many people that’s been told that they no longer need to pick up the phone, they no longer need to ask for referrals and all the things that we’ve done historically, because social is supposed to replace all that. The people who have succeeded at the highest level using the social channels are one, content creators, of which I’m one and you’re one. But more so, the people who are the biggest supporters of social selling. I lovingly refer to the as the social media mafia, because they will put a hit out on anyone who says that you should still use the phone and you should still ask for referrals and you should still do everything else. So I think that the place for social selling is in nurturing relationships in front of an opportunity, of building mind share, of developing a brand and a presence so that people can go and look at you and you can share ideas that shape their thinking. But you still to pick up the phone and you still have to prospect and you still have to do the work necessary to actually create opportunities. So the part where you’re allowed to tweet a lot and spend some time in LinkedIn groups and wait for people to start beating a path to your door, I think that’s over now, which is why you really don’t hear a lot about social selling. They’ve moved on to account based marketing and digital transformation of sales. Because the social selling, the promise wasn’t there. So I think it’s just about at the end of its run. I’m already starting to see a lot of people that are proponents saying things like, “It was never about that, it was really about this” and they’re starting to change their tune quite a bit.
Matt: I got one more question for you Anthony and this is a question we ask all of our guests. You’re name comes up frequently when we ask this question. If there was a Mt. Rushmore of Sales, if there was something that would create a monument to some of the best thinkers, the people that you have learned the most from in sales over the years, doesn’t have to be four people, it can be however many, it could be one, it could be two, it could be four, but who would be on that mountain, from your perspective?
Anthony: I mean, the place of honor for me has to go to Neil Rackham. I mean, Neil Rackham, if anybody belongs there, it’s Neil. So I would put him first and foremost. I would probably have to put Mack Hanon there too. Not a lot of people remember Mack’s work and it’s really old now. It came out in 1970 and it was called Consultative Selling and it was really the first time anyone said your job is to create profit improvement plans and help your clients make more money. The book was prescriptive in that regard and it also was the first book that ever really dealt with how we deal with purchasing and how tactical they can be with us with a PICO system. I would put Mack there too. Those would probably be my two contributions.
Matt: Those are great, great additions and I encourage people to check out the books and resources from them, as well as definitely make your way over to thesalesblog.com, you’re going to find Anthony’s daily blogs, his daily videos, information about having him come speak to your sales team. He does a ton of keynotes. I feel very blessed that he’s with us today, because he’s criss-crossing the country on a regular basis, don’t know how he gets all this done.
But Anthony, I really appreciate your time, thanks again for joining us today.
Anthony: Thanks for having me.
Matt: If you like what you hear today with Anthony Iianarino, who is the author of the new book, The Lost Art of Closing and you want to share this with others on your team, having other people listen to it, be able to catch this on demand at salespipelineradio.com. In just a couple of days, we’ll have an edited transcript of highlights from this conversation up on our blog at heinzmarketing.com in just a little while as well.
Make sure you don’t miss another episode. Check out our podcast, make sure you’re registered and subscribe to that on iTunes store and Google Play. Lots of great episodes coming up over the next couple of weeks. For today we are out of time per my great producer, Paul. This is Matt Hines, thanks for joining us on Sales Pipeline Radio.
Paul: Well, you’ve been riding along with Matt Heinz on the Sales Pipeline, brought to you by Matt Heinz Marketing.