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Anthony Iannarino
Updated: 17 min 33 sec ago

How I Decide Who To Interview for Sales Roles

3 hours 47 min ago

Web-based advertising platforms provide you applicants by allowing them to find jobs they’d be interested in, and they make it easy for a candidate to send you their resume by simply clicking a link. This tends to increase the number of candidates that reply to your posted position while simultaneously reducing the overall quality; many people without the right skills will apply based only on the advertised compensation.

I start with three segments of candidates.

A-List Candidates

If a candidate has industry-related experience and a strong sales history, they make the A-List. Understanding the industry is an indication that they know how things work, that they have experience in having business discussions around the industry, and that they have contacts that may allow speed to results (even though this isn’t always true).

B-List Candidates

If a candidate doesn’t have the requisite industry experience, but has the sales history, they make it into the second stack. Sales skills are transferable, especially if the sales person has been trained, coached, and developed by their prior organizations.

If you have the ability to teach and train a salesperson in your industry, there are excellent candidates that possess the mindset and the skill set necessary to succeed. It is a mistake not to consider candidates from this group. It’s a bigger mistake to trade industry experience for the attributes that allow someone to succeed, but that is the most common mistake people make when hiring. What feels like a shortcut is often a dead end.

C- List Candidates

This is the stack of resumes from people who lack industry experience and also have no experience in sales.

Unless you are prepared to train salespeople from scratch, and unless you have the training and development resources to train people with absolutely no experience, this list isn’t the right place to hire from. It is a mistake, and it is wrong to hire salespeople with no experience if you cannot train, coach, and develop them. It is unfair to them, and it is why so many young people sour on sales.

The 20-Minute Meet and Greet

I never interview a candidate from any list without first doing a 20-minute phone interview. There is no reason to commit to spending an hour with someone who is clearly wrong for you and your company. Your time is best reserved for people who appear to be a good fit.

It helps to consider the best candidates from your A-List and your B-List for these 20-minute interviews. You don’t want to overlook a potential future star because they don’t have industry experience. You also don’t want to hire someone who is a project if you have an A-List candidate available.

Hiring isn’t easy, and it is better to see more people than fewer. This strategy allows you to look at more candidates, and build a pool of those who are likely the best fit.

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An Inordinate Investment in Yourself – Episode 126

Mon, 2017-05-22 14:00

There is no better advice than the admonition to make an inordinate investment in yourself. You are the only real asset you will ever have, and the value you create is generated by your growth.

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Are Buyers Really Better Educated?

Mon, 2017-05-22 03:00

How did you learn what you know? Not facts and figures, not data, but the things your really know and believe. How did you learn what you prefer and why you prefer it?

Did you do deep research? Was it from reading information on the internet? Did you get most of your education through social media?

Right now, you are supposed to believe that your dream clients are completely educated. You are supposed to believe that they are on the internet educating themselves about your industry, perhaps your company, and that they are in possession of the expertise necessary to make you irrelevant. Expertise gained through research made possible by the internet.


Sure, there are some people in some companies researching their challenges and who might be able to help them, in some industries more than others, as is always the case. But for the most part, there isn’t a lot of evidence of salespeople losing their relevance, mostly because information is not insight, data is not wisdom, and marketing is not caring.

But, let’s explore your experience.

When you call on a client, are they intimately aware of all the reasons that they should change what they are doing now? Do you run across more people who need to change and aren’t aware or resistant to that change? Do you have a point of view about that change that is far different than your dream clients?

Do your prospective clients understand how they need to think about the changes they need to make, the trade-offs they need to consider, and the risks associated with their decisions?

When you are face to face with your dream clients, is most of what they believe and share based on something they read on the internet, or is it mostly based on the experience they have had buying what you sell from someone else—and trying and failing to get the results they really need?

If you sell flat screen televisions and cameras, your customers have done their homework. They have information parity, and in some cases, their knowledge may exceed yours. In complex, strategic, business-to-business sales, your prospective client isn’t likely to know what you know, and they choose partners who are experts in their field so they don’t need to be subject matter experts in every category of product or service they buy.  Assuming that your dream client has hours and hours to research the things they purchase is to underestimate how much work they have to do and just how lean many organizations are now.

Research doesn’t likely account for very much of the education your dream clients have acquired. They’ve acquired much of their education by buying what you sell from the sales organizations that served them before you.

You are here reading a blog post. Think about what you know and believe about sales and selling. Is most of what you believe based on your research, or is most of what you know and believe based on your actual experience?

If you have information parity with your dream client, that is a decision that you have made, and not because your dream clients spend their days researching your category.

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The Only Three Choices for Underperformers – Episode 127

Sun, 2017-05-21 19:00

There are only three choices for underperforming employees. Retrain, re-assign, or remove. Here is how to think about these choices.

The post The Only Three Choices for Underperformers – Episode 127 appeared first on The Sales Blog.

New Graduates Should Start in Business In Sales – Episode 125

Sun, 2017-05-21 19:00

If you are a 2017 college graduate, let me pitch you to start your first job in business in a sales role.

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Blocking Time to Block Time – Episode 124

Sun, 2017-05-21 14:00

If you are going to block time, you are going to have to do the work necessary to block that time.

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Nothing Works All of the Time

Sun, 2017-05-21 03:53

A lot of salespeople seek the one right answer. They want to know what the right strategy is, so they can apply that strategy to every deal. They want to know what tactic works in some situation, in order to memorize that single tactic and use it exclusively. They want the one way to respond to some client concern, so that they are guaranteed success.

Unfortunately, there isn’t one right answer. Worse still, there are as many ways to get things wrong as there are ways to get things right.

In some cases, you want to lead with with your higher price. Boldly exclaiming that your price is going to be higher allows you to justify that higher price throughout the sales process, and it eliminates the sticker shock the first time your dream client sees your price on a spreadsheet—right next to your irrational competitor’s much lower price. It also shows your confidence that you are different and better. If your price is only marginally higher, this approach may not be necessary.

Sometimes you should lead with a bold point of view about what your prospective client needs to change now, and when they should act with urgency. There are times when it makes sense to lead with your message around change. There are other times, however, where you need to ask questions and do a more traditional discovery before you share your ideas, your insights, your experiences, and your challenge.

There are times when you should adhere to your sales process, meticulously marching through the process before you begin working with your dream client, even if they really need your help. Failing would cost both of you too much, and it may be too difficult to start again after failing. Other times, you should ask for an order and begin helping your prospective client right away, building the relationships and working through everything that really needs to be done as you serve them.

The strategy that should be used in one case may be wrong for the next. The language you use with some clients might be the exactly wrong one to use with another.

Sales is a complex, dynamic, human interaction, and as such, there isn’t one right approach. What works in one case isn’t guaranteed in another. This is why you need to study, develop yourself, and pay attention to what works and in what context. The real key to success is knowing when to try a certain approach, and when to do something different. That is only possible if you are paying attention and learning from every interaction.

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We Put This Project on Hold – Episode 123

Sat, 2017-05-20 19:00

A question from Vinod on why his prospects put opportunities on hold and ideas about how to be compelling and control the process.

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How to Get Chops – Episode 122

Sat, 2017-05-20 14:00

You need business acumen, situational knowledge, and an intellectual curiosity to propel your ability to create value for your clients. Here’s how to get some.

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Why You Must Plan Your Sales Calls

Sat, 2017-05-20 04:39

When you think about how much time you spend actually selling, it isn’t very much. I mean, really selling, you know, when you are sitting face-to-face with your prospective client engaged in a dialogue around change.

Look at your last week’s calendar. How much of your time was spent face-to-face (or ear-to-ear) with your prospective clients. Heck, add in the time you spent with your actual clients, and it still isn’t very much time. That means the time we spend with our prospects and clients is too valuable—and too rare—to not put a little thought into what we are going to do with that time.

Why, then, would you not spend 15 minutes preparing to be successful where and when it matters most of all? Why wouldn’t you design a plan to achieve the outcomes necessary to create and win opportunities, accomplishing what is necessary during each meeting to do so?

Value First

If you want to have a successful sales call, there isn’t a much better place to start than asking yourself what your prospective client needs from you at this stage of their process? What are they going to find most valuable?

Listen, you are not successful unless your dream client believes that spending time with you was of greater benefit to them than spending that time with someone else, or working on something else.

Create a Preference

No one talks about this. More still, no one wants to look at this issue, because it is a variable that isn’t easy to control or influence.

You are supposed to be creating a preference for you, your company, and your solution. You are supposed to sell in such a way that people would prefer to work with you over anyone else. You need to be known, liked, and trusted. You only two things to be a trusted advisor. (video)

And equally as important, you need to have the advice that makes you someone who can fill in the gaps of your prospective client’s knowledge and experience. Remember, you are vying for a position on your dream client’s team, and if they don’t choose you, there is a reason. Serving them where they are will give you a good start.

Control the Process

If you want to have an effective sales call, it has to do the work of creating enough value that you earn an absolute right to the next commitment. This means you need to know what commitment you need, and you have to help your dream client understand what she and her company are going to have to do make change in their organization.

Your buyer’s need your help in giving them the best advice and guidance on managing the process inside their company. Knowing how to manage that process makes you someone worth doing business with, and trading the value necessary to move forward improves the odds of gaining the next commitment, and it ensures success.

If you want to learn more about planning a sales call, you can watch a free 4-part video series here.

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The Evolution of Sales Mediums – Episode 121

Fri, 2017-05-19 19:00

Over our long human history, we have added mediums through which to buy, sell, and trade. We have not yet removed any of them, particularly the very earliest.

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Claire Diaz-Ortiz on The Mentoring Process And The Power of Mentoring – Episode #87

Fri, 2017-05-19 15:00

We’ve all heard of mentoring, but do we really understand what it is and how it can work powerfully in life and business? Claire Díaz-Ortiz is the co-author of “The One Minute Mentor” with Ken Blanchard and is In The Arena with Anthony on this episode to discuss the mentoring process, how to find a mentor, and how to benefit the most from a mentoring relationship. Claire is an author, speaker, and technology innovator who has been named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company. Claire was an early employee at Twitter, where she was hired to lead corporate social innovation. This episode is packed with powerful insights and tips, so be sure you take the time to listen.

Claire Diaz-Ortiz On The Mentoring Process And The Power Of Mentoring - Episode 87 Click To Tweet When should you seek out a mentor?

Mentors are not the last resort option or even like a coach. A mentor is a skilled person who you admire in particular areas who agrees to come alongside you to help you grow in that specific area. Once you understand that concept you discover that it’s possible to have a number of mentors at the same time, each one contributing to your life in a specific area. So when should you seek out a mentor? Whenever you have an area of your life that you would like specific help with. On this episode of In The Arena, Claire Diaz-Ortiz shares insights from her new book, “The One Minute Mentor.”

How can you find the best mentor for you?

There are hurdles to finding good mentors, simply because those who are successful enough to serve you well as a mentor will also be the people who are already in high demand. Begin looking for a mentor by identifying your specific area of need and then observing who is in your circle who is strong in that area. Once you have a list of candidates, refine your own understanding of your need so you will be able to approach mentor candidates with clarity and precision when it comes to describing exactly what you’re looking for. Find out more tips for locating and connecting with a great mentor on this episode, with Claire Diaz-Ortiz.

How can you find the best mentor for you?Click To Tweet Cross-generational mentoring is a powerful personal growth tool.

Much of the wisdom you lack at any given time in life is due to the fact that you simply don’t have the experience you need – yet. But there are others in your field who have already fought those battles. They’ve already crossed those bridges – and typically, they are going to be of a different generation than you. On this episode of In The Arena, Anthony chats with Claire Diaz-Ortiz, co-author of the new book, “The One Minute Mentor.” Anthony and Claire spend a good deal of their conversation talking about the benefits of cross-generational mentoring, so make sure you don’t miss their chat.

Honesty and vulnerability are vital to the mentoring process.

No mentoring relationship will reach its full potential if either the mentor or the mentee is unwilling – for any reason – to be transparent. It’s the real life struggles and difficulties of life that highlight the areas where we most need to grow. They are also the places where the greatest lessons are learned. When a mentor and mentee allow their mentoring process to be enriched by their own honesty, amazing benefits come to both of them. Find out how to implement a very clear and powerful mentoring process with your mentor, on this episode of In The Arena.

Honesty and vulnerability are vital to the mentoring processClick To Tweet Outline of this great episode
  • [0:44] Why mentoring and the art surrounding it are so fascinating to Anthony.
  • [3:13] Why Claire was so interested in writing this book.
  • [5:05] In what situations should you seek out a mentor, and how can you find one?
  • [12:56] The power of cross-generational mentoring.
  • [14:45] The mentee’s responsibility in the relationship.
  • [17:29] What is meant by 1 minute mentoring?
  • [22:48] Why mentoring relationships must include honesty and vulnerability.
  • [26:09] Claire’s predictions regarding the future of Twitter.
Resources & Links mentioned in this episode

One Minute Mentoring: How to Find and Work With a Mentor–And Why You’ll Benefit from Being One

Price: $13.36

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68 used & new available from $5.88

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

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Tweets you can use to share this episode When should you seek out a mentor?Click To Tweet Cross-generational mentoring is a powerful personal growth toolClick To Tweet


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Activity Cures Activity Problems – Episode 112

Fri, 2017-05-19 14:00

Poor results are almost always the result of too little activity. Greater activity cures low activity problems every time it is tried.

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Math Doesn’t Care

Fri, 2017-05-19 11:54

If you need to create 4 opportunities a month, each one worth $75,000, to be able to make your number.  If you don’t create those opportunities, you need 8 opportunities the next month. If you do better work the next month and put up two new opportunities worth $75,000 each, you are now carrying forward 6 opportunities into the very next month—in addition to the 4 you need to create to cover the month you’re in.

Math doesn’t care if you don’t really like prospecting, the creation of new opportunities. It doesn’t care if you don’t believe that you should have to cold call, nor does it care that marketing didn’t give you the leads you believe you need. Math does what it does.

Math also doesn’t care if you are lazy. It doesn’t care that you aren’t willing to exercise the self-discipline necessary to manage yourself. Nor is it concerned that you like to be entertained, and that you love the novelty provided by the small screen of infinite distractions. Math works even if you don’t.

Math doesn’t care that you had every intention of doing good work, and that you really need to do well in your role. It isn’t even aware that you have any feelings whatsoever, good, bad, or indifferent. Math certainly doesn’t have any feelings.

It doesn’t care about your manager, the President, your irrational competitor, your equally irrational prospective client, your product challenges, or the fact that the Internet is disintermediating your industry. Math just goes right on being math, neutral in all issues, punishing some and rewarding others.

If it is difficult to create 4 opportunities in a month, then it isn’t any easier to create 10 in that same number of days.

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Be Agnostic to Prospecting Mediums – Episode 120

Thu, 2017-05-18 19:00

There are some who say you should only use social channels to prospect. You should be agnostic to mediums, and you should use every one available to you.

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Discipline Never Ends

Thu, 2017-05-18 03:31

If you’ve never read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People you need to do it. Covey talks early in the book about setting yourself up for “private victories.” That means you have to keep all of the disciplines that make you worth doing business with in the first place. You need to keep the commitments you make to yourself, first, and always.

If you say to yourself, “I’m going to prospect everyday for an hour,” do you keep that commitment? Because if you don’t keep the commitments to yourself, you are missing the fundamental discipline of all people who are successful in every human endeavor. The ability to get yourself to take action even though the reward may come in the future, possibly the distant future, is the one discipline that success requires.

In order to maintain the discipline required for the success you want, you need to understand the difference between discipline and goals. A discipline is something that you do religiously, and you keep this practice because it’s something you want to do forever. It may or may not be attached to a goal, but even if it has no goal you are going to continue to do it.

Some people exercise everyday. They aren’t doing it because they’re going to run a marathon. They do it because they want to maintain their good health. They aren’t willing to make concessions about exercise. It is a discipline.

In sales, some people make prospecting a discipline. They make prospecting calls every day. They block off one hour and dial 15 numbers every single day. They don’t have a goal as in, “I’m going to make 100 cold calls,” because when they made 100 cold calls they’d be finished. A discipline is something you do forever and ever with no reason to stop.

A goal is different. It has a beginning and an end. For instance, if you’re training for a marathon you do it religiously until that marathon is run. Afterwards, there is no reason to train anymore. Perhaps you create a new goal, like running a triathlon, which you will train for until that goal is met. Unlike having a goal, a discipline is not focused on achieving one thing; its entire point is that it exists in perpetuity.

Having personal discipline is more difficult in this technology driven world we inhabit. We have become trained to like instant gratification. We are accustomed to immediate access to everything. We are accustomed to wanting and receiving, and have a much more difficult time with the concept of working and waiting. The truth is that all truly successful people know is that success is never instant, and discipline never ends.

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On a Trip to Orlando – Episode 119

Wed, 2017-05-17 14:00

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It Cannot Be All About You

Wed, 2017-05-17 03:00

The reason sales has a negative connotation is specifically driven by a few historical behaviors. The first is a self orientation. The second follows the first closely, and that is a lack of influence and persuasiveness.

It’s all about you.

One of the things that made the sales process a negative one for the buyer, prospect, and customer was the salesperson’s self orientation. That self orientation often extended to the company who hired and trained the salespeople. That self orientation can be described as the desire to “sell someone.”

It was clear that selling was being done to the person buying, and never for them. It was very tactical, and the outcome was nothing more than the salesperson closing the deal. Tactics and behaviors that followed were built on the idea of winning. Listen, you are still supposed to win deals. But the way that you win is by helping your client, not by winning and allowing their win to be an afterthought.

There are still salespeople and sales organizations who are self oriented, and a number of pundits that suggest that a self orientation is necessary. That’s not true. People want to work with people who they believe have their best interests at heart, and who they believe can help them improve their results. Not someone who is trying to sell them.

Force is the choice of those who cannot persuade.

The bullying, badgering, argumentative approach to what would have at one time been called “objection handling” is the choice that you make if you lack real influence and the ability to persuade your prospective client.

Force is the choice of the weakling. Those with real power have the power of mind share and authority. They do not need to rely on force as a method to gain a commitment.

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The New Q and AI Format – Episode 118

Tue, 2017-05-16 19:00

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Detrimental Reliance on a Subject Matter Expert – Episode 117

Tue, 2017-05-16 14:00

If you need a SME forever, you can’t be a trusted advisor. It’s okay to need a subject matter expert, but as you work with them, you should learn their schtick well enough to be fluent and conversational.

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