social selling

Did Anthony Iannarino Ruin My Life?

I was sitting in a chair in his office, overlooking the Columbus skyline last Saturday.  I had probably pestered him long enough and he agreed to meet me just so I would leave him alone.  Maybe he didn’t think I would take him up on a Saturday morning meeting?

But for Anthony, his day was almost half over since he gets up at 5am every day.  A decision he made over 10 years when he was about my age.  He says this habit, to set the alarm clock at 5am was one of the single most important decisions he made to transition into who he is today.  That 5am wake up call started the clock for Anthony to work on himself.  That time, from 5am to when he went to the office of the staffing company he ran with his family, was when Anthony developed the habit of writing.  The habit that would build him a massive following, a successful coaching and speaking business and a 2 book deal, of which the first, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, sold 10,000 copies it’s first week.  “If you sell 9,000 books total, they will say it’s a good book, “ he tells me.

“How did you do that?”

“Never underestimate the power of taking massive action.”

This would be the first of several nuggets of wisdom I would glean from Iannarino during our 90 minutes.  Which by the way is 60 minutes more than I had on his calendar.  But that’s one of the best things I learned about Anthony, he loves to give.  He gives away probably 99% of everything he writes.  He encourages me to do the same.  “There really isn’t a lot that hasn’t already been written.  Keep in mind even though there are a lot of people that know more than you, there are a lot of people that know less than you.  That’s your audience.”

He’s right.  There is no magic formula or hack that will work forever.  Every sales book out there is just someone else’s spin on similar topics.  But it’s that perspective that people will pay for.

I’ve started writing over the past year doing as Anthony has mentioned.  I’m still waiting for the day that someone comes along and tells me I’m full of shit.  “If that doesn’t happen, you aren’t doing your job.”

We talked about a lot of personal stuff; childhood, politics, religion.

“What are your politics?” He asked me.  The question caught me off guard.  “I lean libertarian”, I said.  “What about religion?”  I chuckle.  “Non-practicing.”

“Ok, he says.  You didn’t just come up with those beliefs.  You were infected with them.  Your parents, family, friends, coworkers all combined helped you develop that belief system.”

“If you take one thing away from this conversation, I want it to be this…figure out the beliefs that are going to make you more successful and get infected by those.”

Mic drop.

We talked about my career progression to date.  How I started out selling books door to door, how I started making decent money in my late 20’s and then plateaued the past couple of years.  And how I sought out and hired sales coaches to fill gaps and grew my income this year.  “Not bad,” he said.  “But you still don’t know what you are capable of yet.  I can tell.”

At this point, I am convinced that he, Carole Mahoney and Rick Roberge all talked about me before this meeting.

This is why I think the way he writes his book is so important.  Mindset comes before Skill set.  It’s not an accident the way it’s arranged.  In a future post I will be writing about my observations on this.  I think its the real reason salespeople don’t hit the goals.  I’ve gotten better at developing a growth mindset over the past year.  Overcoming some key weaknesses in my Sales DNA has contributed greatly.  Getting back to the fundamentals.

He starts setting up his cameras and mics.  “I’m doing a podcast today.  I always tape it for B-roll.”

“So you aren’t going to like this”, he says.  “It’s probably going to ruin your life.”

“It sounds like you made good money this year.  But you made your bosses rich.  You need to stop making other people rich, make yourself rich instead.”

He continues, “You’ve figured out how to get to this point.  Most people never get that far.  It’s not a huge leap for you to get to the next level (this is a paraphrase, we actually talked dollar amounts).”  “You can make a lot more out there (motions to the skyline).”

Are you rolling your eyes yet?  Are you saying “Money isn’t everything” under your breath.  Ok, it’s not.  Until it is.  The more I have talked with people who either make a lot of money or just have it, you start to see that they don’t idealize the idea of money.  It’s more about the choices.  The freedom.  It’s a tool.

“It’s time to start thinking about what’s next.  You don’t need to know, you don’t need to have it figured out, but just start thinking about it.”

He told me a great story.  After writing for a while, he started getting people asking him if he would coach.  He said no until he finally said yes.  He had no idea what to charge, so he threw out a number that he thought was “audacious.”  “$100/hr, he smiled.  I went to Chicago and closed a $2M deal for them with a 20% profit margin.  I got $1600.”  Now to even get him to walk in the front door, you will need to pony up and order of magnitude greater.  The point is, he didn’t have it figured out at first.

I’ve recently talked to a few people that have read something I’ve written and told me it resonated with them.  Reps, my age, younger and older that have told me that something I put in the universe helped them.  So while I don’t have this grand plan for my blog, it’s doing all I want it to do now, help people.  It helps me too.  I learn better by teaching others.  I’ve created a reference library that I can go back to and remind myself how I handled a certain situation when it reappears.  And, I’m creating a way to engage with prospective buyers that maybe want to understand how I think before they decide am I worth talking to? (Which by the way, is what social selling really is.)

We’ve all heard that you become the average of the 5 people you surround yourself with.  But do we believe it?  I’d like to think I boosted my average slightly during this 90 minutes.  But did Anthony Iannarino ruin my life?  Was it really his intention?  Or did he just want to get me thinking?  Maybe he looked at me and saw his 37 year old self again?

So what beliefs are you infecting yourself with?  Are they making you better?  Are they developing your mindset to enable your success?  I asked Anthony for a couple books, to my surprise, neither were sales books.  “That’s boring”, he said.  Which at first I thought was odd for an author of bestselling sales book.  Then he elaborated, “If you really want to unlock your mind you need to understand how the mind works.”

So add The Lucifer Principle and Kosmic Consciousness to your list.  And while you are at it, add Passages.  It was recommended to me by Rick Roberge about a year before I hired him and Carole for sales coaching.

Posted by douglas.michaelc@gmail.com

Try Starting a Conversation Before Starting a Sales Conversation

IMG_1815.PNG

The above quote was from an email that Rick Roberge sent me. 

150%?  I know, I know, but Rick’s been grumpy lately so I didn’t feel like arguing.  But he’s right.  Social Selling in particular seems to be a particularly divisive topic these days.  I’ve been in some sort of sales capacity my entire career, which admittedly isn’t that long, so I know I still have a lot left to master.  If you read this post, you know that I’ve knocked on doors.  I’ve cold called, cold emailed, networked; but the idea of using social media to generate leads has been new to me.  I’ve made all the excuses: 1) I don’t have time. 2) Mine is a complex B2B sale, I’m different. 3) My prospects aren’t on social media….

The idea of using another channel to start conversations is appealing to me, but I don’t want to do it the way it’s been done to me.  You accept a LinkedIn request, only to get “the pitch” moments later.  Or you get an Inmail from someone you have never talked to before and it’s about 6 paragraphs long and all about them and their product.

Has this ever happened to you?

I decided this week I was ready to start using LinkedIn for prospecting, and I’d like to share one of my success stories with you.

Came across Jon, Director of Remediation at Possible Dream Client and sent him this message:
Jon, I was surfing LinkedIn and noticed that we are connected to a lot of the same people, including _______. When I looked at your profile, I was going to ask him to introduce me, but then figured I would just reach out directly. I wonder if you have ever seen this article:https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/could-answers-questions-costing-you-3m-michael-douglas Mike

He replied:

I typically will accept invitations if the person asking works in the environmental industry, does not necessarily mean I have worked with that person on a project in the past. Jon

To which I said:
Jon, understood. I am protective of my network as well which is why I wouldn’t ask you to connect unless we found some common ground first. Did the article not resonate with you?
His response:
In some ways yes in other ways no. Tracking remediation projects in the same manner as capital project is a bigger issue that timing and turn around on invoices. Jon 555-555-5555
So I said:
Great point Jon on the difference between remediation projects and capital projects. I noticed you included your number in the last reply. Does that mean you would be okay with starting a conversation offline?
And he said:
You can call me on Friday if you want I am pretty open then. Jon

I talked to Jon on Friday as he suggested.  We had  a short 15 minute call that resulted in a lunch meeting on the calendar in a couple weeks.

So why did this work?  I think a few reasons.  1) I didn’t talk about me or my company, not once.  2) I gave first.  I had an article that I had written, that I thought, based on his role, he might find value in.  3) I tried to start a conversation before starting a sales conversation.

This last point has been a challenge for me I admit, but one that I have started to overcome over the last year.  I used to think that my product, was the way to start a conversation, it was the value that my customers paid me for.  I realize now the importance and the value of perspective.  That’s what our customers pay us for, how we think about problems in their world and help them solve them.

Do you think my outreach to Jon would have worked if I didn’t provide him a piece of content to show him how I think?  I doubt it.

Are there problems that you have solved for your customers that you could write about?  What would happened if you shared those with potential customers?  Are you providing value through social media or is it just another avenue to spam?  Are your dream clients out there waiting to hear from you in a way other than a voicemail or an email?

Posted by douglas.michaelc@gmail.com