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Anthony Iannarino
Updated: 2 hours 23 min ago

Donald Miller on Why Building a Storybrand Motivates Buying Decisions – Episode #97

Wed, 2017-12-13 17:29

One of the most influential books in Anthony’s life in recent years has been Donald Miller’s, “ A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.” Since the publication of that book, Donald has written another, this time oriented toward business. In this conversation, Anthony chats with Donald about his newest book, “Building a Storybrand” in an effort to unpack exactly what it means to be a Storybrand, how it impacts the way a company relates to its prospects and customers, and the way it leads to success like nothing else.

Donald Miller on How Building a Storybrand Motivates Buying Decisions - on this episode Click To Tweet Building a Storybrand requires that you focus on your customer’s story, not yours

Many companies position their marketing around the benefits and features of their product or service. But companies that understand what it means to be a Storybrand take another approach. They focus on their customer’s journey, the story that is happening in the lives of those they serve. They do so in an effort to not only connect with their customers on a personal level but also to express that they understand them and care about the challenges they face in life. It’s at that point that they have become empathetic in their customer’s eyes, and as a result become a brand the customer is eager to follow. Find out more about how you can position your company and your sales endeavors around this concept of being a Storybrand.

The customer is the hero of the story. Your brand isn’t. Companies that get that and communicate it effectively are poised for success

In this conversation, Anthony and his guests, Donald Miller highlight a number of examples of companies that have effectively made their customer the hero of the story. It may sound like an odd approach but it has resulted in amazing brand loyalty and sales for the companies that get it right. Donald Miller explains what it means to be a Storybrand, how companies can move in that direction, and why communicating in a way that demonstrates empathy for the customer is powerful over the long haul. Don’t miss this episode.

The customer is the hero of the story. Your brand isn’t. Companies that get that and communicate it effectively are poised for success - Donald MillerClick To Tweet People don’t buy the best products and services, they buy the ones they can understand the fastest

One of the most important aspects of marketing that applies to business, politics, or any endeavor that is trying to affect popular opinion, is that in order for a message to be communicated effectively it has to be communicated in a way that enables the listener to understand it with the least amount of effort. In this conersation, Donald Miller points out how President Donald Trump did that effectively in his election campaign and how many brands are doing the same thing to great success. It’s an art form as much as it is a tactic and on this episode of In The Arena, Donald explains how to do it.

Brands that participate in their customer’s transformation achieve enormous success in the marketplace

Every sales professional desires to be part of a company that achieves enormous success in their Marketplace. It’s one of the signs of personal achievement that we all strive for. The brands that accomplish that to the greatest degree are the ones that participate in the transformation their customers experience that comes from using their products or services. What does it mean to actually participate in that transformation? On this episode, Donald Miller highlights the difference between participation and observation, and gives some practical tips about how to become a Storybrand, a company that focuses on the customer’s story to build brand loyalty.

Brands that participate in their customer’s transformation achieve enormous success in the marketplace - Donald MillerClick To Tweet Outline of this great episode
  • The impact Donald’s book “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” has had on Anthony and why it’s so powerful
  • Why Donald chose to write a business book and how he came to do it
  • The premise that the customer is the hero, not your brand – why it matters
  • What are we trying to do by branding with stories in the first place
  • What is an aspirational identity and why is it important?
  • Why the U.S. is the place with a greater focus on personal improvement
  • How you can get Donald’s free bonus after purchasing the book
Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

iPad add featuring a clip of Robin Williams’ voice from “Dead Poet’s Society

The theme song “Into the Arena” is written and produced by Chris Sernel. You can find it on Soundcloud

Connect with Anthony

Website: www.TheSalesBlog.com

Youtube: www.Youtube.com/Iannarino

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Twitter: https://twitter.com/iannarino

Google Plus: https://plus.google.com/+SAnthonyIannarino

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/iannarino

Tweets you can use to share this episode Building a #Storybrand requires that you focus on your #customer’s story, not yours @DonaldMiller - on this episode #sales #marketingClick To Tweet People don’t buy the best products and services, they buy the ones they can understand the fastest - Donald MillerClick To Tweet

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Why You Can’t Negative Sell Against Your Competitor

Wed, 2017-12-13 14:00

To be honest, I forgot how bad a salesperson looks (and sounds) when they negative sell against a specific competitor, particularly the one their prospective client is currently using. Having just experienced it for the first time in a long time, I am reminded of why you don’t sell this way.

The negativity towards a client that you hope creates a compelling reason to change instead does quite the opposite, repelling your dream client away from you, especially if you are argumentative. It also reduces any chance you have of being a trusted advisor.

Congratulations. You’re Small.

It would be difficult to look smaller. By pointing out your competitor’s flaws (or what you perceive to be flaws), you are creating a situation where you look small. You believe that for you to create and win an opportunity, you have to attack your competitor. This makes them look like they are equal—or better—than you. It may also cause your prospective client to feel that they need to defend their partner since you are willing to attack them without them being there to defend themselves.

Negative is Negative

Talking smack about your competitor makes you sound negative. And negative is negative.

The way to undo a competitor is to say positive things about them, and then differentiate yourself in a few areas where you have different beliefs or different approaches. If you were a professional, you would sound like one. If you are petty, childish, and have to go negative, then you are those things.

If you want to be consultative, going negative isn’t going to get you there. If you want to be a trusted advisor, you just made the trust part more difficult, and you offered no advice, no counsel, just sour grapes.

You don’t benefit from doing a direct negative sell against your competitors by attacking them in front of your prospective client. This is poor form, and it means that you don’t have the means to choose a more effective approach. In all things, be professional. More still, be someone that people want to do business with.

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Don’t Be an Order Taker

Tue, 2017-12-12 16:27

Don’t believe that because your bottom-feeder competitor sells by having the lowest (or a lower) price means being competitive requires you to match or beat their price. This is not selling; it is the opposite of selling. Selling is the creation of value worth paying for, not helping your prospective clients take money out of their solution and underinvest (if the investment they are making now could produce the result they needed, it would already be doing so).

Don’t believe that your product is the sum total of the value you create, believing that it needs to be so good as to eliminate all competition. This is the approach of someone who struggles to sell because they don’t create enough value to be a large part of the value proposition. Avoiding being a value creator and hoping the product does the work of selling is also the opposite selling.

Don’t believe or behave as if marketing is supposed to generate your leads and that those leads are supposed to be “ready-to-buy.” The idea that marketing is going to cause your dream clients to beat a path to your door is expecting too much from their effort, and it is completely unrealistic. There is no reason to suspect that you should succeed in sales by sitting back and waiting for deals to come to you through someone else’s efforts.

There is a difference between being likable and the need to be liked. Your dream client needs someone with the chops to help them produce better results, and that means candor and the willingness to engage with the difficult parts of helping people change. The need to be liked manifests as fear and avoidance of difficult issues. This too is the behavior of an order-taker.

You cannot be both an order-taker and value creator. You must pick a lane here. The decision to engage in what is difficult makes selling easier. A decision to avoid it means you are irrelevant.

The post Don’t Be an Order Taker appeared first on The Sales Blog.

If You Asked Over Email, You Did Not Ask

Mon, 2017-12-11 14:00

A reader of this blog wrote to me to ask how he could increase the number of appointments he was acquiring through his prospecting efforts. He is struggling, and he is intent on improving his results, and he is looking for ways to do so. This is smart. If what you are doing isn’t working, you need to make adjustments.

To gain some context, I asked this reader how many asks he has made to date. He told me that he has asked for a meeting 17 times, and then he added that all of these requests were made by email.

No Ask

It is unfair to suggest that the content of your ask over email isn’t right or that it won’t produce a meeting. That is expecting something of the medium that the medium isn’t capable of producing (with rare exceptions). Email gives conflict-adverse people with sales titles hope that they can succeed without having to interrupt people, and it is often their preferred form of rejection because then they do not have to hear it verbalized.

An email request for a meeting is the same as not having asked for a meeting at all unless you know the person and you are following up on a call and a voicemail.

You are a stranger. Your dream client doesn’t know you. Your message requesting an appointment is not very different from spam, a message from a stranger to ask for something. Because the “growth hacker” types have decided to automate prospecting, the choice of email to ask for an appointment is diminished further now that everyone realizes these emails have been completely automated. Your email is suspect, if it is not deleted with extreme prejudice.

In a world where everyone is zagging, you should zig. In a world where human interactions are being automated, being human creates a competitive mismatch and asymmetry that creates an advantage.

You Ask for a Meeting

If you are going to ask for a meeting, then you do the asking. You are not your dream client’s pen pal. Get out from behind the screen and pick up the phone and call the person you are asking for a meeting and ask them. When you hear “no,” resolve that person’s concern, promise to trade more in value than the time you are requesting, and ask again for the meeting.

If you don’t hear the “no” response with your own ears, then you did not make an ask. Unless you can hear your email being deleted.

The post If You Asked Over Email, You Did Not Ask appeared first on The Sales Blog.

Why It Matters That You Are Likable

Sun, 2017-12-10 18:13

I know that there are still voices suggesting that sales has changed, that relationships don’t matter, that you are being measured only by the value you create as measured by economic outcomes. There are some who suggest that you need not be likable to win deals, you need only create greater value.

This is largely incorrect, as it leaves out the fact that you are now a very large part of the value proposition, as well as eliminating the high probability that there are others who create equal or greater value without being unlikable. But before you decide whether or not it matters that you are likable, let’s look at what might make you unlikable.

You are self-oriented: Here is the biggest thing you might do that makes you unlikable: you are selfish. You project that what is important to you is you, that you are not other-oriented. The more you make people believe that any deal is about you before it is about them, these same people will look elsewhere for a solution. Human beings are not rational; they rationalize.

You are not a good listener: The very best way to make sure people know that you don’t care about them is to refuse to listen. It’s tough for people to like people who won’t listen and who have to dominate a conversation. There are people who are exceptionally good at listening, and they generate strong feelings in others because they give them the gift of their attention.

You are a challenging personality: There is no value in being a person that is difficult to get along with. A person who chooses conflict over collaboration because they lack skillful abilities to dialog opens the door to a competitor who is easier to get along with. Those who deal with difficult conversations don’t create additional friction unnecessarily.

Your values are misaligned: Fit is a big deal. Are you one of us? Do you share our values? Can you operate in line with what we believe to be good and right and true? When you don’t fit, you don’t fit. Who you are matters more than what you know and what you do.

You don’t value other people’s opinions: One reason people will have trouble liking you is that your opinions are so strong—and expressed as if they are a final truth—that you leave no room for anyone else’s thoughts, ideas, or opinions. Being arrogant and making other people feel bad about themselves makes one unlikable. If you have to be the smartest person in the room, if you need to be right, then you are not going to be liked, and others who are better at valuing others will easily flank you.

You are no fun to be around: To work with you, I have to imagine what that will be like throughout our interactions. Then I have to project myself into the future and determine what that experience is going to be like once I buy from you. If I don’t like working with you now, I am going to have a tough time committing to a long-term relationship where I have to deal with you over a long period of time. Least of all, I will not want to be contractually obligated to do so.

No matter how much value you create, if your prospective client is going to have to work with you for a period of time, they are going to make the decision to buy from you in part on how willing they are to work with you.

Whenever you read anything that suggests one thing is more important than some other thing, recognize that you are being provided with a false dichotomy, a mutually-exclusive choice. Most decisions are multi-factorial, and that means that a lot of things are important, and many variations may be acceptable or unacceptable. More still, you may create great value and be unlikeable while a competitor creates equal value and is someone that people want to do business with.

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How I Know Your Deal Is Going to Push

Sat, 2017-12-09 14:00

Inevitably, some of your deals are going to push. Blame it on the non-linearity of the sales process in practice (as opposed to the theoretical sales process that moves smoothly from target to execution without so much as a pause or a backward step). Place the blame where you like, here is how I know your deal is going to push.

It’s Not the Client’s Date: Here it is in the very first spot. Your client did not provide you with a date by which they would like to begin executing your solution. You chose the date, or more accurately, entered some random sequence of numbers into your CRM. If I were to call your client now and tell them you intend to show up with a contract next Tuesday, as per your entry, would they be surprised? Would you be concerned about me making that call? Where there is no commitment to a start date, your deal is going to push.

No Commitment to Change: If there is one of the ten commitments in The Lost Art of Closing (my second book), it is the Commitment to Change. You can have a whole bunch of meetings that feel just like the meetings you would have if you were pursuing a deal with-out there being a deal. People will have a meeting with you, explore change, and review your proposal and pricing without ever having made the commitment to change. If you haven’t asked them if they are committed to changing, your deal is going to push (or more likely, it will die).
A Pattern of Unkept Commitments: If you want to know if your client intends to keep their commitments, look at their track record. Have they kept all of the commitments that they have made up until this point? Or have they made commitments without keeping them and instead caused you to give chase over voicemail and email? If they haven’t kept commitments up until now, why would they start with the Commitment to Decide?

You Don’t Know Who Is Deciding: If you don’t know who is actually making the decision, then your deal is extremely likely to push. If your contact is going to present to their leadership team on your behalf, a leadership team that has never met you, look for the push. If you don’t know who can say yes, it’s a push.

You Missed Commitments: There are 10 commitments you need in a sale, especially a B2B sale. You can find them all here, and if you want a deeper dive, you can pick up the book at www.thelostartofclosing.com. For example, if you skipped building consensus or resolving concerns, you left major openings for bad things to happen, the kind of things that end in a deal being pushed.

There are so many factors outside of your control that could cause your deal to push, you need to make sure that you do everything that is in your control to ensure that it doesn’t.

The post How I Know Your Deal Is Going to Push appeared first on The Sales Blog.

Focus on Your Priorities and Eliminate Distractions – Episode 228

Fri, 2017-12-08 18:52

The most important thing you can do to improve you do to improve your results now is to focus on your few real priorities and eliminate distractions.

The post Focus on Your Priorities and Eliminate Distractions – Episode 228 appeared first on The Sales Blog.

Focus on Your Priorities and Eliminate Distractions – Episode 228

Fri, 2017-12-08 18:52

The most important thing you can do to improve you do to improve your results now is to focus on your few real priorities and eliminate distractions.

The post Focus on Your Priorities and Eliminate Distractions – Episode 228 appeared first on The Sales Blog.

Focus on Your Priorities and Eliminate Distractions – Episode 228

Fri, 2017-12-08 18:52

The most important thing you can do to improve you do to improve your results now is to focus on your few real priorities and eliminate distractions.

The post Focus on Your Priorities and Eliminate Distractions – Episode 228 appeared first on The Sales Blog.

Eliminating Your Minimally Acceptable Personal Standards

Fri, 2017-12-08 14:00

There is a certain quality and quantity of work that is minimally acceptable. Let’s equate this to a grade of C in school. Even though you pass the class, your grade suggests that you are doing just enough to get by, nothing more, nothing less. It’s a grade that suggests a lack of commitment, dispassion, and lack of direction.

Minimally acceptable is mediocrity. There is no growth available to those who choose to just scrape by, those who sit in the parking lot waiting until precisely 8:00 AM to start working, unwilling to put in an extra few minutes of work. Minimally acceptable is a withholding of value, the kind that would make a difference in results—even if it would require more effort, more energy, and more commitment on your part.

Even though you may be doing just enough, what is minimally acceptable to other people should not be minimally acceptable to you. There is no benefit, outside of comfort, for lowering your own personal standard to something less than what you are truly capable of. There is no reward for being mediocre, for trying to stay smack in the middle of the Gaussian distribution curve (what we know as a bell curve).

There is this popular idea right now that your company is supposed to supply you with purposeful, meaningful work. This idea is no doubt something far greater than “increase shareholder value.” But it is only half correct, and it requires the other half to make a whole. The other half is that your work has purpose and meaning only when you invest those things in your work. When your personal standard is excellence when the minimally acceptable is no longer acceptable to you, then your work becomes something different than your job, your profession becomes something different than your job title.

The rewards in all their forms accrue to those who give themselves over to something, insisting that their personal standard is the bar, refusing to withhold value, and refusing to do what is minimally acceptable.

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Activity Cures Activity Problems – Episode 227

Thu, 2017-12-07 19:57

Results in sales, or any other endeavor for that matter, are made up of activity and effectiveness. For many people, there effectiveness is just fine, it’s the activity that needs to improve. This is a little tough love for those of you that need it.

The post Activity Cures Activity Problems – Episode 227 appeared first on The Sales Blog.

Your Effort Exactly Matches Your Real Goals

Thu, 2017-12-07 14:00

There is a difference between wanting things and having goals that you are pursuing. For example, everyone wants more money. A small percentage are motivated enough by the idea to take action to produce more income. Everyone wants to be in excellent physical condition, but few are willing to invest their time and energy to do the work that produces that outcome.

When you look at the results that you are producing right now, your current level of effort is what is producing those results. If you put even less effort into the results you want, you will produce even less of them, true? And, naturally, if you put more effort into what you want, you will progress towards those things.

Your effort matches up precisely to your real goals.

The effort you put forth to have something is indication as to how badly you want it. Even if you say that you really, really, really want something, your effort exposes the truth. You are motivated enough to have exactly the result you have now, and you are comfortable.

More effort might make you uncomfortable, and you may have to give up what you know and believe to gain something different. You might have to double the time and energy, something that might also make you uncomfortable. Becoming the person that comes after the person you are not might be a scary thought, making you wonder if you will lose membership in your tribe.

When you want your goal badly enough to put forth the effort to achieve it, you will almost certainly attain that goal. Given enough time and a consistent application of effort, obstacles eventually give way. Those obstacles are what prevent all who merely “want” things from having them, and they are the proving grounds for those who achieve their goals.

Your effort tells the truth about your real goals. It’s okay if comfort is one of them, but where is the fun in that?

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