The Sales Blog http://thesalesblog.com S. Anthony Iannarino Tue, 30 Sep 2014 10:31:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Why You Aren’t Buried With Work http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/29/why-you-arent-buried-with-work/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/29/why-you-arent-buried-with-work/#respond Tue, 30 Sep 2014 01:00:18 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47031 Why You Aren’t Buried With Work is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Why You Aren’t Buried With Work is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino There is a reason you aren’t buried with work that others are. The first rule to getting out of a hole is to stop digging. Some people I know have more work than they can handle. They really want [...]]]>

Why You Aren’t Buried With Work is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

There is a reason you aren’t buried with work that others are. The first rule to getting out of a hole is to stop digging. Some people I know have more work than they can handle. They really want to stop digging, but they can’t. They say “yes” to everything, and they are buried.

But more people have too little work, and they are struggling. The first rule for getting into the hole to begin with is to start digging. You have the shovel. You have the time. But the work doesn’t take care of itself.

First Things First

Famed management guru, Peter Drucker, once said: “A business exists to create a customer.” I can’t find any evidence that he ever said, “The reason a business exists is to wait around for people who don’t know you or what you to do to beat a path to your door.”

How do you create customers (or clients)? It starts with marketing. If you aren’t marketing, then how will anyone know who you are, why you exist, or how you create value? How will they know that they have the exact challenges for which you can provide the solution?

Once you have awareness, you have to spend your time selling to your prospective clients, or what I call “dream clients.” You have to actively engage with them and gain commitments that create opportunities.

But too many sales organizations, entrepreneurs, and business people believe that their job is only to offer whatever it is that they sell. So what should be their “first thing” is often their “last thing.” In some cases, sales and marketing is “no thing.”

Take Care of the Funnel and the Funnel Takes Care of You

Look, if you take care of the funnel, the funnel will take care of you. If you invest your time and energy in sales and marketing first, and by that I mean make it your priority, you will have enough opportunities to build and grow a business.

If you neglect the funnel, then the funnel has no way of taking care of you. You are always going to be desperate for business, and you are always going to struggle to get to the point that your business can sustain itself or grow (this is why I am, and always have been, a top of the funnel guy).

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The Leadership Playbook: Too Direct or Too Empathetic http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/28/the-leadership-playbook-too-direct-or-too-empathetic/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/28/the-leadership-playbook-too-direct-or-too-empathetic/#respond Mon, 29 Sep 2014 01:27:19 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47023 The Leadership Playbook: Too Direct or Too Empathetic is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

The Leadership Playbook: Too Direct or Too Empathetic is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino Leaders need to make effective choices about their approach when they interact with the people they lead. The measure of a leader is taken by how well the leader can match the approach to the situation. Too Self-Directed [...]]]>

The Leadership Playbook: Too Direct or Too Empathetic is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Leaders need to make effective choices about their approach when they interact with the people they lead. The measure of a leader is taken by how well the leader can match the approach to the situation.

Too Self-Directed

Some leaders believe that they need to be very self-directed to be effective. Self-directed can come across as self-oriented, selfish, and oblivious to what the other person needs or the constraints with which they are struggling. I’ve met some leaders who pride themselves on their self-directed approach. And sometimes it is exactly the right approach. This is especially true when the leader is protecting the culture they’ve built, or when they are dealing with a legal or moral issue. There are some issues that are non-negotiable.

But unless you have the relationship that allows for self-directed communication, every time you are self-directed when it is unnecessary takes a little something out of your moral leadership. When you are unnecessarily direct and short with people–even if it’s because you are short on time and under pressure–you are making a withdraw from your relationship.

If you’ve ever seen a coach on the sideline during a game, you’ve no doubt seen them grab a player and light them up when they are trying to make a point, rev them up, or change their state. If your approach is always high negative energy, then when you really need to call on that approach, it won’t mean anything. You will have worn out the approach.

Too Empathetic

Other leaders believe that they always need to be patient and empathetic. There is no doubt that as a default approach, this is a pretty good choice. But it isn’t always the right approach. Sometimes, to make your point felt, you need to be impatient and demanding. Serious issues may need a serious, unrelenting response.

Empathy and patience can sometime be the wrong response. Being empathetic at the wrong time can cause people to believe that a serious issue isn’t a big deal. It can lead people to believe that they aren’t really accountable for change when they have a serious behavioral issue or when they aren’t producing results. But worst of all, when it is your only approach, you are a pushover, and you can just as easily lose your moral authority.

Some people and some situations call for patience and empathy. Some call for coaching and an approach that fosters learning. Sometimes you need to explain yourself carefully. But other people and situations call for a more self-directed approach.

A great leader will have a range of approaches they can use for different people in different situations. All of those approaches must include some consideration of the person and the relationship, lest your approach subtract from your moral authority.

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The Hustler’s Playbook: Luck Loves a Hustler http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/27/the-hustlers-playbook-luck-loves-a-hustler/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/27/the-hustlers-playbook-luck-loves-a-hustler/#respond Sun, 28 Sep 2014 00:31:44 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47019 The Hustler’s Playbook: Luck Loves a Hustler is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

The Hustler’s Playbook: Luck Loves a Hustler is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino The hustler never sits around waiting for their lucky break. The hustler goes out and engages with the world, and in doing so, creates new opportunities. To the non-hustler, it looks like the hustler got lucky. But [...]]]>

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

The hustler never sits around waiting for their lucky break. The hustler goes out and engages with the world, and in doing so, creates new opportunities. To the non-hustler, it looks like the hustler got lucky. But the hustler knows that luck won’t sit on your couch and watch television with you.

Luck loves a hustler. Luck follows the hustler around like it is their shadow.

The hustler is always engaged with their world. They’re involved in work projects, personal projects, community projects, charitable projects, and just about anything else they find interesting or useful. Because the hustler is out in the world, they make a lot of connections, and they bump into a lot of opportunities.

A hustler will say, “Yeah, it was lucky I said ‘yes’ to this one thing because I met so and so and we got to talking.”

The non-hustler doesn’t put themselves out into the world, at least not enough to make a difference. Because they aren’t involved enough, they never create an opening for luck to step in. The non-hustler would like to win the lottery, but they never buy a ticket.

But bumping into opportunities isn’t enough. The hustler acts on those opportunities. The hustler says “no” to a lot of small things so they can focus on bigger things. This doesn’t mean they say “no” to everything. The hustler says “yes” to things that look like opportunities. They say “yes” to projects where they will learn new things and meet new people. They say “yes” to business ideas where they can create value and capture some of that value. They say “yes” to growth opportunities, even when it makes them uncomfortable.

Every once in a while, luck decides the hustler is hustling enough and some initiative the hustler is involved in takes off.

The non-hustler doesn’t see many opportunities because they aren’t around to see them. When they do see opportunities, they don’t grab them. Luck doesn’t hate the non-hustler. She just can’t find him.

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Sometimes You Have to Stand Alone http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/26/sometimes-you-have-to-stand-alone/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/26/sometimes-you-have-to-stand-alone/#respond Sat, 27 Sep 2014 02:26:57 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47011 Sometimes You Have to Stand Alone is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Sometimes You Have to Stand Alone is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino There will be times that you have to stand up for what is right, and doing so means you will have to stand alone. Stand anyway. Sometimes standing up for yourself means that you will have to stand alone, [...]]]>

Sometimes You Have to Stand Alone is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

There will be times that you have to stand up for what is right, and doing so means you will have to stand alone. Stand anyway.

Sometimes standing up for yourself means that you will have to stand alone, too. No matter much how much it feels like you need someone to stand with you, no matter how afraid you may be, stand alone, come what may.

It’s never easy to stand alone, but there will times when you have to stand alone to protect those who cannot stand for themselves.

No matter what people think of you, no matter what they say about you behind your back, and even if you become the target of their fears (and bullying, anger, resentment, and all other forms of violence are all a form of fear at their core), stand alone anyway.

You will never regret standing up for what is right, for what you believe, or for those who can’t stand for themselves. Real character is a rare commodity, and is worth whatever price you pay.

But know this: those who stand alone often turn around to find that there are many standing behind them.

[Note: I am proud of you two. And I always have your backs.]

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Where Have All the Mimics Gone? http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/25/where-have-all-the-mimics-gone/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/25/where-have-all-the-mimics-gone/#respond Fri, 26 Sep 2014 01:13:00 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47007 Where Have All the Mimics Gone? is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Where Have All the Mimics Gone? is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino Some of the best salespeople are mimics. They learn by observing calls of more experienced salespeople or their sales manager. They pay attention, and they make observations about what they are seeing and hearing. But they pay closest [...]]]>

Where Have All the Mimics Gone? is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Some of the best salespeople are mimics. They learn by observing calls of more experienced salespeople or their sales manager. They pay attention, and they make observations about what they are seeing and hearing. But they pay closest attention to what the more experienced salesperson says and how they say it. By listening and capturing good language, they learn to mimic that language, saying the right thing at the right time in the right way.

That good language works, and it helps the mimic produce better results than salespeople who don’t have a good model for effective language. But this transference of language isn’t happening much anymore.

Working From Home Isn’t Working

A lot of salespeople are working from home. And so are their managers. These work-from-home salespeople love the benefit of working from home, and their companies love the low overhead and the ability to place a rep in their territory. Everybody wins. Except when everybody loses.

The salesperson is deprived of the experience of working in a bullpen, surrounded by salespeople, and riding on calls. The salesperson misses the learning experience.

The sales manager is deprived of spending time with their salespeople. No good can come of this. Because their salespeople are working from home and missing the experiences they need to capture good language (and much more), they struggle to produce the results they need.

Their clients are deprived of the experience of working with a salesperson who know how to communicate the value they create.

It’s Not Enough

Web meetings aren’t enough. Group calls aren’t enough either. There is something about real life, face-to-face interactions with clients that deepens the learning.

You need to find ways to provide the experience of going on calls with experienced salespeople with excellent language. You need to help design the experiences that replicate that experience, as well as some opportunities for the sales team to practice the language.

I can’t tell you how many calls I’ve left and heard the salesperson riding with me say, “I thought it was great when you said,” and then repeat language that I used that they found compelling and useful. I did the same when I rode with some of the people I learned from.

How do you help transfer the ideas, the experiences, and the language to the salespeople who need it?

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I Assure You That Relationship Selling Is Alive and Well http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/24/i-assure-you-that-relationship-selling-is-alive-and-well/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/24/i-assure-you-that-relationship-selling-is-alive-and-well/#respond Thu, 25 Sep 2014 01:20:23 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=47000 I Assure You That Relationship Selling Is Alive and Well is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

I Assure You That Relationship Selling Is Alive and Well is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino I know many of the voices you hear regularly tell you that relationship selling is dead. I know they mean well, but the choice of words is all wrong. What people really mean when [...]]]>

I Assure You That Relationship Selling Is Alive and Well is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

I know many of the voices you hear regularly tell you that relationship selling is dead. I know they mean well, but the choice of words is all wrong. What people really mean when they say relationship selling is dead is that is order-taking, non-value-creating sales behaviors are no longer useful. Right now, there is nothing more important than your relationships, but you must create relationships of value (something I call Level 4 Value Creation™).

A great product is no longer enough to win the day. Everyone can now make a great product, and we are in such a creative period that even intellectual property rights aren’t enough to protect your lead.

Experience, and by that I mean differentiating on great service and support, is no longer enough to provide you with a competitive advantage. There are a lot of obstacles to providing a great experience, but anyone with the will to do so can easily replicate a great experience.

Business-to-business sales organizations differentiated on tangible business results, or return on investment,  for the last few decades. But now any sales organization can show you their spreadsheet analysis and estimated ROI. It’s no longer a differentiator, and you can argue all you want about the differences between your spreadsheet and your competitor’s.

Where does this leave us now? The first three levels of value are no longer enough. To differentiate yourself and your offering, you have to transcend those early levels of value while also including them. You have to get the 4th level where your relationship is the value.

You have to create more value, not only in your solution, but also during every client interaction. You have to care deeply about helping your client succeed, because your caring is the foundation of the trust that is the first part of “trusted advisor.” You have to be proactive in your delivery of value at every stage of the buyer’s journey and your sales process. And you have to be accountable for your results.

To reach Level 4, you have to provide insights based on your business acumen and your situational knowledge (or experience, if you prefer). You have to help your client build a future-oriented platform that allows them to grow and transcend their current results. And you have to operate like part of your client’s management by focusing your efforts on their most strategic outcomes.

If that sounds like a high hurdle to get over, it is. But that is the nature of relationships; they take an enormous investment. But selling is indeed about the relationship, and don’t let anybody tell you anything different.

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Are You Old School Enough http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/23/are-you-old-school-enough/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/23/are-you-old-school-enough/#respond Wed, 24 Sep 2014 01:28:44 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=46995 Are You Old School Enough is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Are You Old School Enough is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino Old School is getting to work early, setting yourself up for success, and hitting the ground running. Old School is treating people with courtesy and decency. Old School is being polite. It’s not interrupting someone when they are speaking. [...]]]>

Are You Old School Enough is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Old School is getting to work early, setting yourself up for success, and hitting the ground running.

Old School is treating people with courtesy and decency. Old School is being polite. It’s not interrupting someone when they are speaking.

Old School is doing more than is expected and going the extra mile. It’s keeping your word, contract or no contract.

Old School is being honest and candid. Old School is telling the truth and having the tough conversations.

Old School is defending what is right even when it is not popular.

Old School is saying thank you. Old School is sending a handwritten note or a thank you card.

Old School is remembering. What’s important. Birthdays. Other important dates. Old School is relationships.

Old School is a telephone call. Old School is a face-to-face, in real life. Old School is conversations.

Old School is doing the work that is expected of you without anybody having to tell you what needs done or verifying that you are doing it.

Old School is a shirt and tie. It’s shined shoes. It’s attention to detail. It’s believing that things matter, even in a world that doesn’t.

Old School is a sense of pride in a job well done.

Old School is wanting to make a contribution to something greater than yourself.

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Common Sales Objections: Interpreted and Translated. http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/22/common-sales-objections-interpreted-and-translated/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/22/common-sales-objections-interpreted-and-translated/#respond Tue, 23 Sep 2014 00:57:48 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=46991 Common Sales Objections: Interpreted and Translated. is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

Common Sales Objections: Interpreted and Translated. is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino I speak client. Here is a translation to the objections you heard and what they really mean. “I already have a provider.” Translated: “Listen, I am really busy and you have done nothing to convince me that you [...]]]>

Common Sales Objections: Interpreted and Translated. is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

I speak client. Here is a translation to the objections you heard and what they really mean.

“I already have a provider.”

Translated: “Listen, I am really busy and you have done nothing to convince me that you are worth my time. Even though I am not in love with my current provider, nothing you said makes me believe that you are their replacement.”

“That sounds interesting. Can you send me some information.”

Translated: “You don’t really sound too smart, so let’s just pretend that I am interested and that I am really going to carefully read and review that four-color glossy brochure you are going to send me. We both know I am going to throw it in the trash. And we both know you actually believe that I have somehow committed to something.”

“We need you to sign up on our vendor management site before we can talk to you.”

Translated: “Look, I don’t have time for you, and you’ve done nothing different from the last three salespeople who called me. Today! Here’s a little something to keep you busy, even though it will do absolutely nothing to move you closer to a deal. But at least you can tell your sales manager some silly story, right?

“Now’s not a good time. Can I ask you to call me back next quarter?”

Translated: “We both know how this works, don’t we? I pretend I am busy, even though I have plenty of time. You pretend like you are persistent, but instead of asking for an appointment again, you mark your calendar to call in 90 days. But you won’t call, and if you do you’ll take this same objection again every quarter.”

Yes, you still need to know how to overcome objections, especially when it comes to prospecting.

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The Leadership Playbook: Execute Before Change http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/21/the-leadership-playbook-execute-before-change/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/21/the-leadership-playbook-execute-before-change/#respond Mon, 22 Sep 2014 01:00:59 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=46980 The Leadership Playbook: Execute Before Change is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

The Leadership Playbook: Execute Before Change is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino New leaders often believe that they need to immediately make change. Some believe that the faster they change things the better their results. Other leaders believe the more they change things the better. Sometimes change is necessary, and [...]]]>

The Leadership Playbook: Execute Before Change is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

New leaders often believe that they need to immediately make change. Some believe that the faster they change things the better their results. Other leaders believe the more they change things the better. Sometimes change is necessary, and sometimes fast change is what’s needed. But more often, the reason the leader’s team isn’t producing the results of which they are capable is that they aren’t executing.

The Other 99%

Execution is difficult, time-consuming, political, and messy. Chances are, many (if not most) of the past initiatives were great ideas. It’s likely that those ideas, if well implemented, would have moved the organization forward towards its goals.

But somewhere along the way the train came off the tracks. The status quo won out. The team waited out their leader. The new shiny object grabbed someone’s attention (likely the leader), and one incomplete change initiative was replaced by the next.

There is no strategy, no opportunity, no initiative that can or will produce the results that are possible unless it is faithfully and religiously executed.

  • You adopted a new sales process. You announced it at the kickoff meeting to great applause and fanfare. But the salesforce went right back to doing what they’ve always done, and their sales managers went back to serving the organization instead of the sales force. Now, it’s business as usual.
  • You’ve chosen a new strategy. Instead of pursuing the low price, transactional space in your market, you’ve launched a suite of solutions designed to help you move to the smaller, more profitable segment of your market. But the time, money, resources, and compensation plan weren’t changed. Your sales and marketing teams still have the goals and the structure to support the old strategy. There is no change.

Execution or Change

Before you decide what you need to change to move your organization into the future you imagine for it, you need to first spend time ensuring that the real need isn’t simply greater execution on what has already been put in place. It’s likely that the last leaders didn’t produce the results they could have because of execution, not their strategy. Execution is likely change.

There is nothing wrong with making your greatest initiative execution on what is already in place. Your job as a leader is to make the changes necessary, not to make changes for change’s sake. You aren’t measured on the change you make, you are measured on the results you produce and the leaders you build.

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The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Value Themselves http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/20/the-hustlers-playbook-hustlers-value-themselves/ http://thesalesblog.com/blog/2014/09/20/the-hustlers-playbook-hustlers-value-themselves/#respond Sun, 21 Sep 2014 01:50:03 +0000 http://thesalesblog.com/?p=46973 The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Value Themselves is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino

The Hustler’s Playbook: Hustlers Value Themselves is a post from: The Sales Blog | S. Anthony Iannarino There is a psychological phenomenon called impostor syndrome. When someone manifests impostor syndrome, they feel that aren’t worthy of the position in which they find themselves. They run from success because they fear being found out. What if [...]]]>

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

There is a psychological phenomenon called impostor syndrome. When someone manifests impostor syndrome, they feel that aren’t worthy of the position in which they find themselves. They run from success because they fear being found out. What if they’re not really that good? What if someone finds out?

The Real Deal

Hustlers don’t have impostor syndrome. They never feel that they are undeserving of their position, their opportunities, their accolades, or their rewards. The simple reason hustlers don’t feel like an impostor is because they believe in themselves and their accomplishments. The hustler knows that it’s okay to take credit for what she’s done. She moves from one accomplishment to the next, never dismissing or diminishing her them.

The poor non-hustler isn’t an impostor, but they feel like one. A lot of non-hustlers struggle to value themselves and their accomplishments. They don’t believe that their story is good enough. They don’t believe their accomplishments are big enough. They compare themselves to others who have done more and instead of being inspired feel smaller. They don’t know that the person with whom they are comparing themselves is more like them than different.

Confidence in Who You Are

Hustlers look at their accomplishments and know that they create value. Because they value their accomplishments, they are confident in who they are. The confidence that comes from knowing who they are gives them confidence in what they do.

Confidence is why hustlers are impervious to failure. The hustler learns from everything they do and tries again and again.

Because the non-hustler doesn’t feel that their accomplishments are anything to speak of, they don’t feel confident in who they are or what they do. Where a hustler sees every accomplishment as the stepping-stone to the next, the non-hustler feels like an impostor, hoping not to be discovered.

The hustler promotes themselves and their accomplishments. The non-hustler hides from his accomplishments, hoping no one asks any questions or looks any deeper.

Your Self Worth

The reason hustlers achieve so much is because they have a high self-worth. Non-hustlers don’t value themselves enough, and their low self-worth is perhaps their greatest liability. Neither the hustler nor the non-hustler get what they deserve in life; both get exactly what they believe they deserve.

Hustlers value themselves, and so do other people. You are worth more.

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