The Sales Blog http://thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino Sat, 25 Oct 2014 01:58:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Difficult Conversations Are Growth Opportunities http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/24/difficult-conversations-are-growth-opportunities/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/24/difficult-conversations-are-growth-opportunities/#respond Sat, 25 Oct 2014 01:58:17 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47187 Difficult Conversations Are Growth Opportunities is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Difficult Conversations Are Growth Opportunities is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino No one wants to have difficult conversations. It is hard to deal with situations when emotions are high and people are upset. But these conversations are crucial to your success, and difficult conversations offer you an opportunity to grow [...]]]>

Difficult Conversations Are Growth Opportunities is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

No one wants to have difficult conversations. It is hard to deal with situations when emotions are high and people are upset. But these conversations are crucial to your success, and difficult conversations offer you an opportunity to grow personally and professionally.

From time to time, no matter how good your company is, you are going to have problems executing and delivering for your clients. You aren’t going to have a lot of people fight you to lead the conversations with your clients about your failing and your plan to turn things around. But dealing with these issues is what builds your client’s trust and confidence in you. Hiding from issues destroys trust and confidence.

You and your dream client are struggling to produce the outcomes you sold. They’re disappointed and angry? Jot down your talking points and action plans, and get face-to-face (the sooner the better). Client has a serious complaint and wants to rip someone’s face off? Make your face the first they see, and let it be known that you were side-by-side with them when they needed you.

As a manager or leader, you are going to have to have difficult conversations with the people you lead. Sometimes those conversations will be about their performance, and they will sometimes be unpleasant. As a leader, you have to engage in these uncomfortable conversations. It’s a part of your role that you can’t abdicate.

One of the people you are responsible isn’t performing? Have the difficult and very real conversation about their performance issue, even though the conversation isn’t going to be very much fun. Another person has personal issues that are impacting their life? You really don’t want to deal with it because it’s messy. Have the conversation even if it fills you with dread.

It’s important that you learn to have effective, difficult conversations. The better results you need are on the other side of those conversations. The more you learn to deal with situations and conversations when emotions are running hot and stakes are high, the more prepared you will be to deal with other difficult conversations.

Difficult conversations are growth opportunities.

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The Leadership Playbook: Leadership Takes Courage http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/23/the-leadership-playbook-leadership-takes-courage/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/23/the-leadership-playbook-leadership-takes-courage/#respond Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:00:53 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47180 The Leadership Playbook: Leadership Takes Courage is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

The Leadership Playbook: Leadership Takes Courage is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino Leadership takes courage. The Courage To Say No: A leader needs to the courage to say no. You will have a lot of people from different quarters who want to do things that they believe in. They are [...]]]>

The Leadership Playbook: Leadership Takes Courage is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Leadership takes courage.

The Courage To Say No: A leader needs to the courage to say no. You will have a lot of people from different quarters who want to do things that they believe in. They are good people with good intentions. But some of what they want won’t be the right thing to do or it won’t be the right time to do it. Leadership requires an ability and a willingness to say no.

The Courage to Say Yes: You also need the courage to say yes. Some ideas will be so outrageous and out-of-the-box that, upon first glance, you’ll want to say no. You won’t understand the idea, and you won’t see how it fits. It takes courage to open your mind and consider something new, especially when it doesn’t look like what you already know and believe. But this is where innovation and breakthrough ideas start. Sometimes you to have the courage to say yes.

The Courage to Stay the Course: Change can be a sexy idea to a leader, especially to a new leader. But oftentimes change isn’t what’s necessary. Sometimes what is necessary is leadership and execution. A leader needs the courage to say no to change for change’s sake. It takes courage to admit that execution is the real issue and to double down on what’s right.

The Courage to Change Direction: Sacred cows. History. We’ve always done it this way. A leader needs the courage to change directions, even when she changes the identity of the business. When what you are doing is no longer the right thing to do, you have to make serious change. You can’t protect the status quo, because doing so endangers your enterprise. You can’t protect the sacred cows. Real change takes immense courage.

The Courage to Stand Alone: Leadership is about direction and decisions. You have to determine the direction of your enterprise and you have to make the decisions, right or wrong. There will be times when you will have to stand alone. You may find yourself alone when you say no, when you say yes, when you decide to stay the course, and when you decide to change. But you are the leader, and you have to decide what is right.

Be courageous.

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Why Focus On the Top of the Funnel http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/22/why-focus-on-the-top-of-the-funnel/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/22/why-focus-on-the-top-of-the-funnel/#respond Thu, 23 Oct 2014 03:14:13 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47175 Why Focus On the Top of the Funnel is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Why Focus On the Top of the Funnel is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino There is no middle of the funnel or bottom of the funnel without the top of the sales funnel. Most of the challenges that sales organizations have in making their number stem from the fact that they [...]]]>

Why Focus On the Top of the Funnel is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

There is no middle of the funnel or bottom of the funnel without the top of the sales funnel. Most of the challenges that sales organizations have in making their number stem from the fact that they are weak at the top of the funnel. It’s not that they aren’t good salespeople, that they don’t have a good process, or that they lack the right methodologies. Most of the time what holds them back is not having enough opportunities (although I know there are exceptions, and I’ve seen some organizations with too many opportunities to effectively pursue them all).

The problems you experience in the middle of the funnel usually fall into one of two categories. The first class is non-opportunities. These are the “deals” that aren’t really opportunities at all. Maybe you mistake receptivity for a real compelling event that could cause your dream client to move. This problem is easily resolved; you push these non-opportunities down to target because they are really still leads. The second group is stalled opportunities. These opportunities are usually missing some of the commitments necessary to move them forward. These problems can be resolved, albeit not easily, with good coaching and big conversations with your dream clients.

The end of the funnel problems are usually around capturing value (or negotiating price) or dealing with legal issues and such. These issues can be difficult, but they’re normally easier to deal with than stalled deals.

But top of the funnel problems are far more pernicious. Without new opportunities coming into the funnel, you don’t have enough opportunities to make your number. So you’re reluctant to move non-opportunities back to targets; you feel that you can’t afford to. You can’t afford to to have a stuck deal because doing so means you miss your number. You get desperate about stalled deals. At the end of the funnel, you cave on price because you can’t afford to much back.

Think about how a funnel works. If you feed it in dribs and drabs you get dribs and drabs out of the other end. But if you keep a nice steady stream pouring into the funnel, you get a nice steady stream out of the skinny end.

Worry first—and most—about the top of the sales funnel.

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Never Lower Your Standards http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/21/never-lower-your-standards/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/21/never-lower-your-standards/#respond Wed, 22 Oct 2014 01:00:55 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47166 Never Lower Your Standards is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Never Lower Your Standards is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino [Note: This isn't for you. It's for someone else. Unless you or someone you know needs it. Then it's for you.] The people who love you the most expect the most of you. They want to see you become the [...]]]>

Never Lower Your Standards is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

[Note: This isn't for you. It's for someone else. Unless you or someone you know needs it. Then it's for you.]

The people who love you the most expect the most of you. They want to see you become the biggest, brightest, best version of yourself. They will sometimes hold you to a higher standard than you hold yourself. But they don’t hold you to that standard because they’re being judgemental, at least not in a way that is negative. They hold you to that standard because they see something in you that you don’t yet see. Or maybe they see something in you that you see but aren’t yet acting on.

The people who don’t really love you also don’t expect anything of you. Many of these people will have very low personal standards for themselves. The fact that their standards are low means they’re only comfortable with people who share their low standards (or people who are willing to lower their standards to join them). These people will never want you to become the biggest, best, brightest version of yourself. They fear that they will lose you, and they fear that the fact that you are so bright means that they are dim and insignificant by comparison. If you grow, you prove that it is possible, and those with low standards don’t want the responsibility of growing. Any attempt to escape the gravitational pull of people with low standards will be greeted with a harsh rebuke, and you will be criticized for believing that you are better than this group.

Never, ever, ever lower your standards.

Hold yourself to a standard so high that no one else would dare to raise your standard. When the people who love you do attempt to raise your standard, know that this is because they see something in that you that you don’t yet see. Know that when people try to lower your standard, they are trying to do so for their own benefit, not yours.

Never, ever, ever lower your standards. Ever.

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If You Already Know Everything http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/20/if-you-already-know-everything/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/20/if-you-already-know-everything/#respond Tue, 21 Oct 2014 01:00:34 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47160 If You Already Know Everything is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

If You Already Know Everything is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino If you already know everything, you should already be producing the results that you want. You already know what beliefs are necessary to support you, and you profess to hold those beliefs as your own. You already know what [...]]]>

If You Already Know Everything is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

If you already know everything, you should already be producing the results that you want.

You already know what beliefs are necessary to support you, and you profess to hold those beliefs as your own.

You already know what actions you need to take. You know what must be done, and you know how to do it. You can have the project and action plans at your fingertips. You know what to do.

But knowing isn’t enough to produce results.

You can know what beliefs you need to hold to succeed and still not produce the results you want. You can study the people who are already producing results and identify the models. But until you hold those beliefs deep in the very fiber of your being, they aren’t your beliefs. Even an ounce of skepticism will prevent you producing results.

You can know what actions to take, and you can know how to take those actions. But knowing what to do and not doing it is the same as not knowing. It isn’t enough to know what to do. You need to couple the beliefs and the knowledge you hold with massive action.

No matter how much you know, if you’re not getting the results you want then you don’t hold the beliefs deeply enough to drive you take action. If you aren’t exactly where you want to be, or progressing towards it, you aren’t taking action (or enough action).

So what if you don’t what you need to know? What if you don’t have the beliefs that support the drive to produce the results you seek? Who is already producing the results you want and what do they believe? What if you don’t really know what actions you need to take? Who is already producing the results you need and what actions are they taking that produce those results?

Right now, what do you need to learn?

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It Isn’t Supposed to Be Easy http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/19/it-isnt-supposed-to-be-easy/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/19/it-isnt-supposed-to-be-easy/#respond Mon, 20 Oct 2014 01:00:19 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47155 It Isn’t Supposed to Be Easy is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

It Isn’t Supposed to Be Easy is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino If reaching your goals were easy, you wouldn’t appreciate the struggle. If it were easy to reach your goals, there would be no reason to chase them. They wouldn’t be goals; they’d just be something that you do. If [...]]]>

It Isn’t Supposed to Be Easy is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

If reaching your goals were easy, you wouldn’t appreciate the struggle.

If it were easy to reach your goals, there would be no reason to chase them. They wouldn’t be goals; they’d just be something that you do.

If it were easy to accomplish something worthwhile, then everyone would be doing the same. There wouldn’t be anything special about the accomplishment.

The fact that your goals stretch you, that they force you out of your comfort zone, that makes them worth experiencing. It’s these experiences that cause you to grow, to exceed your current boundaries and limits and become something more.

Even when you fail to reach your goal, you get the satisfaction of the struggle. You get to push against the way things are. You’re reminded that you are acting on the world; it’s not acting on you. Accomplishing the goal isn’t the thing anyway; it’s what you become through the struggle. It’s the rough and tumble parts when you feel like you are making no progress where you grow.

Remember, the struggle is not supposed to be easy. Nothing worthwhile ever is.

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The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Persevere http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/18/the-hustlers-playbook-hustlers-persevere/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/18/the-hustlers-playbook-hustlers-persevere/#respond Sun, 19 Oct 2014 01:47:06 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47151 The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Persevere is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Persevere is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino Hustlers persevere. The hustler is determined to achieve their goals. It doesn’t matter how difficult the goal is to obtain. It doesn’t matter how many obstacles they need to overcome to reach their goals. The hustler keeps at it, [...]]]>

The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Persevere is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Hustlers persevere. The hustler is determined to achieve their goals. It doesn’t matter how difficult the goal is to obtain. It doesn’t matter how many obstacles they need to overcome to reach their goals. The hustler keeps at it, chipping away, relentlessly taking action until they succeed.

The non-hustler most of all seeks comfort. If something makes them uncomfortable, they’ll do everything in their power to avoid it. If the primary tasks that would allow them to reach their goal is difficult, they’ll change their goal. Determination means you continue to try even when you make little progress. The non-hustler doesn’t like obstacles. Two or three significant obstacles breaks their will.

The hustler has intestinal fortitude. Intestinal fortitude is a combination of courage and endurance. Hustlers face their fears. They deal with pain (even though most of what we consider pain is only discomfort). They are willing to endure difficulties, setbacks, do-overs, rejection, being mocked by their peers, and even failure. But none of these seemingly negative occurrences ever dissuades them from continuing to pursue their dreams.

Non-hustlers lack intestinal fortitude. They aren’t willing to do what is necessary if it means facing their fears or dealing with pain. Where the hustler attached no negative meaning to the events they experience on their way to reaching their goals and finding success, the non-hustler attached only negative meaning. Difficult means impossible. Setbacks mean failure. Rejection is personal. Being mocked is being judged.

The hustler is resolute and committed to what’s important. The non-hustler is uncommitted and half-hearted in the few things they are willing to try.

Other hustlers recognize a brother or sister of the path when they see their determination, their willingness to persevere. The non-hustler sees someone who doesn’t know better, who should have long ago given up, and someone they can never understand.

If you really want what you profess to want, then you have to be willing to persevere, come what may. That’s what hustlers do. Nothing less is acceptable.

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7 Ideas About Creating Content http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/17/7-ideas-about-creating-content/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/17/7-ideas-about-creating-content/#respond Sat, 18 Oct 2014 01:18:35 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47144 7 Ideas About Creating Content is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

7 Ideas About Creating Content is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino All content isn’t created equal. The best content is helpful. The worst content is not helpful. You want to produce content that benefits people in some way, whether it is by entertaining them, educating them, persuading them, or inspiring them. [...]]]>

7 Ideas About Creating Content is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

  1. All content isn’t created equal. The best content is helpful. The worst content is not helpful. You want to produce content that benefits people in some way, whether it is by entertaining them, educating them, persuading them, or inspiring them. The very best content serves the consumer.
  2. Negative content may get you a bit of attention for a very short while, but it isn’t a long-term strategy. Over the longer term, the trail you are leaving behind you defines you, and a wake of negativity isn’t going to serve you. Trolls sometimes get attention, but they never develop and audience of their own.
  3. There are three strategies around content. You can be a creator and write, record (video or audio), or create some other way. The Internet runs on the work of creators. You can also be a synthesizer. We don’t make enough of this role, but people need someone to tie the pieces together and point them at the bigger themes. You can also be a curator, sharing the work of creators and synthesizers and pointing people at useful content.
  4. Any attempt at short cutting the process of gaining an audience works against you. If you title anything “And you won’t believe what happened next,” you will be known as someone with weak content and a willingness to sensationalize and overstate value. Over time, you will teach the audience you are trying to develop to ignore you. Guest posts might do a teeny bit to build your brand, but you need to do the real work yourself.
  5. Consistency counts. Consistent quality counts. Predictable publishing counts. It’s a sign of professionalism. If you write on Sundays, write on Sundays. If you publish daily, publish daily. If it’s three times a week, that’s what it is.
  6. Content works while you are sleeping. You aren’t creating content only for today. The content you create will be working for you years into the future. People underestimate the half-life of content and dramatically undervalue evergreen content. Your ideas are right for the people who need them, when they need them, and where they need them. Google brings people to the content they need when they need it. But only if you create it, synthesize it, or curate it.
  7. Your content, if you are a creator, gives people the experience of what it might be like to work with you. Your content gives them a clear idea of what you think, what you believe, and how you approach things. Producing the right content attracts your dream clients to you.

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How Long Does It Take To Win? http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/16/how-long-does-it-take-to-win/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/16/how-long-does-it-take-to-win/#respond Fri, 17 Oct 2014 01:00:46 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47137 How Long Does It Take To Win? is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

How Long Does It Take To Win? is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino It takes time to nurture and develop your prospects. It isn’t easy to be known for the value you create or to prove you have ideas. The longer it takes you to prove you have the ideas [...]]]>

How Long Does It Take To Win? is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

It takes time to nurture and develop your prospects. It isn’t easy to be known for the value you create or to prove you have ideas. The longer it takes you to prove you have the ideas and the ability to help, the longer it takes to create and win an opportunity.

It takes time to work through the discovery process with your dream client once they agree to meet with you. Trying to spend less time working to understand your client’s needs–and helping them to understand them–only increases the time it will take you to win that opportunity. If you win it at all.

Rushing to present your solution in hopes of speeding things along actually slows the process of creating and winning an opportunity. It doesn’t mean that all the work that you should have completed up to that point doesn’t still need to be done. But it does mean that what you present isn’t going to be dialed in tight enough and that you aren’t likely to have the consensus you need.

You can sometimes find an opportunity at just the right time and acquire orders without following your sales process at all. That seems really fast. Until you actually start doing the work and realize that you and your new client didn’t do any of the work together that might have given you a reasonable opportunity to succeed together. Now what you won is at risk of being lost forever. The time you gained is now lost dealing with challenges you hadn’t anticipated.

You gain speed by having all the conversations and gaining all the commitments you need to create and win an opportunity. The sooner you have those conversations and the sooner you gain those commitments, the sooner you win your opportunity. Skipping stages to speed things along actually slows things down.

In all things with human beings, fast is slow and slow is fast. If you want faster results, do the work.

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What I Talked About at Dreamforce 2014 http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/15/what-i-talked-about-at-dreamforce-2014/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/10/15/what-i-talked-about-at-dreamforce-2014/#respond Thu, 16 Oct 2014 03:55:37 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47131 What I Talked About at Dreamforce 2014 is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

What I Talked About at Dreamforce 2014 is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino If you missed my speech at Dreamforce, here is what I said: I told the audience at Dreamforce that they have to create a higher level of value if they want their dream clients to find them [...]]]>

What I Talked About at Dreamforce 2014 is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

If you missed my speech at Dreamforce, here is what I said:

I told the audience at Dreamforce that they have to create a higher level of value if they want their dream clients to find them compelling. I told them creating a higher level of value is a differentiator. I showed them how to create Level 4 Value. Then I showed them a list of behaviors that make you transactional (every phone was lifted up to capture that single slide for future reference).

I explained how most salespeople (and as many sales organizations) don’t really understand their business strategy. Since they don’t know, they compete on price–even when that’s not their competitive advantage.

I shared with the salespeople, sales managers, and sales leaders that they have a moral imperative to create more value, as well as the equally important charge of capturing some of the value that they create as profit. That profit is what allows you to deliver the outcomes that you sell, and it allows you to innovate and create new, higher levels of value.

I shared the idea that many salespeople and sales organizations are allowing their dream clients to underinvest, never disabusing them of the big lie that they can produce the outcomes of better and faster while also being cheaper.

One person asked the question as to what they should do if their dream client doesn’t have the money. I told him that they do have the money. They have the money for everything that they believe is critically important, things that are tied to their strategic outcomes. But if I am wrong, he should help them with whatever budget they have and then build the future projects with them, delivering the outcomes they need over time.

Salesforce is doing a lot to build a great sales conference. I was honored to be a part of it, and thrilled to once again share the stage with my good friend, Mark Hunter.

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