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Anthony Iannarino
Updated: 1 hour 7 min ago

Where Do Your Deals Come From?

Fri, 2018-02-16 18:56

Here is what I want you to do today. I want you to log into your CRM and pull your total pipeline. Once you have the complete list of every opportunity you are currently working, I want you to note the method of prospecting that created that opportunity.

There isn’t much disagreement around the idea that a warm referral is the very best way to acquire a new client. Count all of the opportunities you are working on now that were referred to you by an existing client. This may, in fact, be the warmest lead ever, but my guess is that you don’t have any in your pipeline right now.

Count all the opportunities that came to you from the client researching your company and reaching out to ask for your help.  It is unlikely you’ll have any. This will be true despite the consistent reminder that your clients are allegedly searching the internet and already through their buying process when they reach out to you, a fact that, if true, would be producing more opportunities.

Bundle together the opportunities that came from networking events, trade shows, and conferences. In some industries, this list will look pretty good. For most, however, it won’t amount to anything at all.

Next look to see how many of the opportunities in your existing pipeline came from an inbound lead. For many—if not most of you—that number will be small, and many of them will have small dollars attached to them. This is the nature or of lead generation now that quantity is valued more than quality, a downloaded white paper making one a qualified lead.

Now, count all the opportunities that you created through your own effort, splitting them into two categories. In the first category, count the opportunities that were created by you calling the client to ask them for a meeting. In the second category count the meetings you generated using LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, or YouTube.

How many of your opportunities came to you without you having to make much of an effort? How many of them did you have to work to create and what work did you have to do to create those opportunities? I suspect you will find that most of your opportunities required you to do some form of outbound prospecting and that it took effort on your part—particularly for the larger, more valuable opportunities.

All of these methods of creating opportunities are good and valid, even if some industries do better in some categories than others. It is important to know where your opportunities come from and put your effort where it generates the most return. If something doesn’t work for you, you should not in any way rely on that method of creating new opportunities.

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Why You Should Start with Why Change, Not Why Us

Thu, 2018-02-15 23:36

The reason many salespeople are happy to start a presentation with their company’s history, their locations, their board of directors, their investors, and the logos of clients they’ve won is because they believe, mistakenly, that this establishes their credibility. They believe that they can borrow the success of the company to make them credible. This, however, tends to have the very opposite effect.

Instead of recognizing you as someone with business acumen, situational knowledge, and a point of view about their business and their future, you show yourself to be someone who believes that the value you create is found in sharing the same information that they might find in a brochure your company produces. Instead of sharing your ideas about at the intersection of your industry and your client’s industry, you start the conversation with who you are and why other people have bought from you in the past—none of which has anything to do with why you are sitting in front of your prospective client.

I don’t know who originally offered this advice to writers, but it goes like this: “Someone needs to bleed in the first line.” If you are introducing yourself and your company to your client, you are doing discovery work, and discovery work is now about helping a client discover something about themselves, namely, why they should do something different. The more time it takes you to start that conversation, the less interested your client will be in what you have to say.

One decision-maker entered a room and said, “Tell me about you and your company.” I told him that would be the least interesting conversation we could have. He pushed back, saying, “I want to hear about you and your company.” I parried, replying, “Okay, let me tell you what we are thinking about right now as it pertains to what you’re doing and what we think will need to change.” I shared my insights, and he was engaged with me for the next hour and fifteen minutes. When he left the room, his peers said, “He’s never lasted more than ten minutes in a meeting with a salesperson.

Here again is a gentle but firm reminder, you need to possess the advice that would make one a trusted advisor, should that be your goal. Get you some chops!

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How to Make Your Dream Client Want to Meet with You

Wed, 2018-02-14 20:51

It is difficult for salespeople to command their prospective client’s time. This is a symptom; it is not the disease. This means that the things that you might do to alleviate the symptom are not likely a cure. The cure would have to eliminate the disease.

Using brute force to gain an appointment by banging away on someone using the telephone or email is one way to try to overcome the symptoms and gain the commitment of time. Automating those communications only moves the brute force approach to technology while the underlying illness is not addressed. Granted, this sometimes works, but don’t let that allow you to pretend that you addressed the underlying problem. It has done no such thing.

Some people recommend taking a more passive view of prospecting, and so believe that the cure is to hang around on social media, interacting and engaging with people in hopes of someone raising their hand and asking you for a meeting. Many who recommend this as the cure have no idea how much more difficult and time-consuming content marketing is when compared to more traditional approaches. They also mistakenly believe that salespeople are content creators and are permitted to post public content in the same way that a person who works for themselves. These folks think that fishing is a better approach than hunting, even though the pond is understocked and overcrowded. This, too, leaves the disease alone to fester.

To treat the disease, you must have something of greater value than the time you are asking your dream client to give you, you must have something so valuable that your dream client would literally pay you for their time, as that is what they are really doing. If your 20-minute meeting doesn’t cause your dream client to discover something about themselves, something that is worth 1,000 times more than the time they gave you, then they are right to refuse your meeting.

Look at the first eight slides in your slide deck. If your marketing firm loves it because it tells your story, you are riddled with this disease, and you should immediately seek help.

Learn more on Trading Value in The Lost Art of Closing.

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The Care and Feeding of Your Pet Dragon

Tue, 2018-02-13 15:34

A dragon doesn’t make for a very good pet. They require care and feeding, and because of their size, their appetite is immense. When feeding a dragon, the one who is providing the food often finds themselves at great risk of being burned. After all, the dragon is, in fact, a dragon, and the one providing the food isn’t too different than the food itself.

More still, cleaning up after a dragon isn’t a great joy either. Their messes are awful, and going around behind them trying to take care of destruction they leave in their wake is a never-ending task. It’s also a thankless task, with the dragon showing no appreciation for the work you are doing on its behalf.

But hey, you wanted the dragon and worked hard to acquire it. You took the dragon from its prior owner, exerting a lot of effort to wrench it away from them. The dragon is more effort than it is worth, but because you worked so hard to bring it home, it’s embarrassing to admit that the dragon isn’t making that great of a pet.

At some point, you realize that a dragon doesn’t make a very good pet. The best thing you can do with a dragon is to unchain yourself from it and release it into the wild where it can take care of itself until it finds someone else foolish enough to believe that a dragon would make a good pet.

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Defeating Your Confirmation Bias

Mon, 2018-02-12 18:35

We seek information that confirms our existing beliefs while avoiding information that conflicts with what we believe to be true. This confirmation bias is a governor on your growth as well as your ability to take another person’s perspective, a good part of what makes up emotional intelligence, or empathy. Most of the time we don’t recognize that we eliminate the ideas and beliefs that make us uncomfortable, stunting our growth and making us less effective than we might be otherwise.

One of the benefits of law school is that you must prepare to argue both sides of a case. You are taught to look at the issue from both sides, taking the opposing view into account. This is a good starting point for overcoming your confirmation bias.

Let’s say you have some affinity for a particular political belief. You spend time on Facebook arguing with other people with conflicting views (sadly, and mostly to your detriment, as no minds are changed – surely not your own). You scour the Internet seeking information that confirms you are correct and allows you to prove the other person’s opinion is incorrect. Getting past your confirmation bias would begin with understanding why someone else believes what they believe and what truth is contained in their viewpoint . Instead of looking at only what confirms your view, you would look at what conflicts with it to gain a greater understanding and greater knowledge.

Maybe you believe the old prospecting methods are dead, that no one should pick up the phone and interrupt another human being at work, and that sales should only begin with inbound marketing, where a prospect expresses the desire to have you help them do something different. So, you search the internet for evidence that you are right, that you shouldn’t have to dial the phone, and that your leads should come to you ready to buy. This may be what you want to be true because it would make selling easier. Defeating your confirmation bias would require that you explore other objective facts, subjective experiences, and opinions that might, like the example of political beliefs, expose you to some truth that might benefit you by deepening your understanding.

When another belief or opinion or objective piece of data causes you to feel uncomfortable because it conflicts with what you believe, that information is worth exploring. The more uncomfortable something makes you, the greater opportunity there is for growth, development, and understanding other people’s perspectives.

What if what you know is only a partial truth? What if there are other partial truths that might provide you with a greater perspective?

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The Power in Calling the Bottom

Mon, 2018-02-12 03:28

Last week I was in Puerto Rico speaking to a group of CEOs and business leaders from around the island on behalf of Abarca Health. The island is still recovering from Hurricane Maria and things seem to be getting back to normal, but there is still much work to be done. One of the business leaders I met said something to me that I wrote down. He said, “This is the bottom.”

The statement struck me because of its truth. That truth contains the same truth as a Native American rain dance. The rain dance always works because those who dance do so until it rains. The bottom is only the bottom if you make it the bottom, if you do something to get up off the floor.

By calling it the bottom, you cut yourself off from going any lower, whether that means lower revenue, lower profit, or a lower standard for yourself. You draw a line in the sand that says, “come what may, this will not be allowed to get any worse, and instead, I will make it better.” If you are at the bottom, the only way you can go is up.

There are things that matter a great deal to turning your situation around. The first is your mindset. You have to believe you have reached the lowest point and that you are now moving in a better direction. You have to take action to make your future better, refusing to stay down. You need a stubbornness, a pigheadedness that allows you to persist in your efforts long enough for your actions to take hold and progress to be made. And you have to accept that one comes before two, and let that one step be enough to sustain you while you work on taking another. That progress moves you up, and from there, you can move even higher.

What strikes me most about “calling the bottom,” is that you can make the decision to call your current state the bottom, accepting that it is now your lowest point, no matter how well things are going, and you can follow this same recipe to reach even higher heights.

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