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The Lost Art of Closing

Lesson 1 of 16

Class Introduction

Anthony Iannarino

The Lost Art of Closing

Anthony Iannarino

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Thanks so much for being here. I'm thrilled to be doing this at Creative Live for a couple reasons. One I am a creative. I'm a writer and I can't not right. So people ask how do you write this blog everyday? I can't not write. It's what I am. It's what I do and I want to serve creatives here too that are online watching this now. This is my audience though B2B people and you're hardcore so we're going to talk about sales. The challenge that we're going to have today is making sure that we serve the B2B audience and the B2C audience so that creatives can learn how to sell. And so that they can make more money and take better care of themselves and their families. So we've got a big agenda today and I want to walk you through a little bit of what we're going to cover. We're going to start by talking about how buyers buy, what that process looks like and feels like for them. So that you get an understanding of what we're doing when we're selling and then we're going to talk about what a s...

ales process is. And this is not necessarily for you, if you sell all the time you know what a process is, but for creatives they may not know what we know when it comes to having a process and how that process serves you. Then we're going to identify our dream clients. One of my favorite things to talk about, because if you don't have targets. If you don't have a client that you really want where you can create massive value, then you're missing the whole point of selling in the first place because we're really here to serve people. That's what we do when we're at our best. We're going to talk about how we uncover what their needs are. So we're going to talk about discovery and diagnosis and how to think about that today. We're going to talk about negotiating and for creatives this is especially for you because you tend to undervalue yourself. They're right there inside that camera so I'm speaking directly to them, when you see me look over there. We're going to talk about how you ask for business. How you have the confidence to act as a peer and to guide people in the decisions that they make. It's so important right now. And we're gonna talk about what it means to be a value creator. But before we do that we have to talk about selling generally. This was the most Italian looking kid I could find on Shutterstock when I went to get a stock photograph. And I give you this picture because just like each and everyone of you and those of you watching at home as a small child I dreamed of being a salesperson. That was my greatest wish. I was hoping I could have a quota. I was hoping that I could make cold calls. I really wanted people to hang up on me, and I wanted people that I was trying to help to resist me with all the effort that they could, right? And you're laughing and you're smiling because no one ever dreams about being a salesperson, right? It's just not something that you think about as a kid. You want to be a police officer or a firefighter or a nurse or a doctor or one of those things. And your parents definitely don't say I hope you grow up to be in sales. They never say that to you. And so when you go home and you're like, mom, dad, I'm a sales person, like where did we go wrong? That's not true, but I did have a dream when I was a kid, and I want to just share this story with you because like you I never thought about being in sales. It wasn't what my dream was. My dream was to front a hair metal band. Don't laugh at that. That's a true story. When I was about 15 I saw Def Leppard. It was July 6th, 1982 on the Pyromania Tour. They weren't much older than I was at the time. And I saw this band and they had so much fun and I thought, that has got to be the greatest gig on earth, to be in a rock and roll band. And I fell in love with music and I started going to a lot of concerts. By 1984, I'd seen just about everybody, but I took my girlfriend to see White Snake and they were opening up for Quiet Riot. So you have to be old enough to know what that means, but if you are then you know what it means. So I was standing there watching David Coverdale sing. And I noticed that my girlfriend was looking at David Coverdale with a particular look that made me uncomfortable. And I recognized at that moment that she was thinking about sleeping with David Coverdale. And being observant I looked around and I recognized all the women in this whole place were thinking about sleeping with David Coverdale. And then I knew what my purpose was in life. I found out very quickly. I called my brother the next day and I said, we're starting a rock and roll band immediately, if not sooner. This is the most urgent thing we have to do in our lives. So we put this band together. These are actual pictures of how I spent the late 80' and and early 90's, fronting a hair metal band. And we started to be able to fill the biggest clubs in Columbus Ohio. We'd get a thousand people out a night. We would put on a good show and the band started to travel around. We were doing really well, but being susceptible to suggestions by beautiful women I had a girlfriend at the time who said you're really good at this you should move to Los Angeles. And that's all the thought that I gave that. I didn't think any more of it. I got in the car drove the Los Angeles, but I needed a job and the only thing I knew how to do was temporary staffing. So I went in and I found a large staffing company called Alston and I asked for a job and they gave me the job interviewing candidates. That's what my whole job was. And I had one of these events that happens in your life where you don't want it to happen. It's terrible thing when it happens to you but I got a new manager. Have you ever had a new manager? Yeah it's terrible right? Because what are they gonna do? They're going to find out what you're doing wrong. They're going to ask you to change. And it doesn't matter how well you're doing, they have opinions. My manager came in though and he wen into an office and he locked himself away for 30 days and never spoke to me. We had the absolute best relationship, we were ever going to have at that point in my mind. You don't talk to me. I don't talk to you. Everything's great, but about 30 days later, he came to my desk when I was alone in the office and he said, what do salespeople do? I never thought of the question. I said they call on companies and they win new business. And I was pretty proud of that answer. He was disgusted with that answer. It was not the call of the question the question was what do our salespeople do? So he restated the question that way. And I said they're out making calls. You know they're doing their thing. I don't know. These are the only friends I have in L.A. I'm not ratting anybody out. That's not gonna happen, so he leaves and he goes back into his office, for another 30 days and I'm happy again because now our relationship is back to what I think it should be. But he comes back 30 days later and he hands me a stack of reports and he says, whose accounts are these? And I look at the accounts and they're all mine. And he said how did you, actually meaning how did this guy, win these accounts. And it didn't make any sense to him. He's looking at somebody who should not be able to do this. He's got three people in the field who are not doing it and I'm winning accounts. And I said, I look at where people worked, I call those companies. I ask them if I can meet with them. Some of them say yes. I ask them if they have problems. Some of them do. I ask them if I can help. Some of them ask for my help. And then they become my clients. He goes, that is beautiful. I love that answer. What I want you to do is cut your hair and go into full-time outside sales. That's what he said. That's not what I heard though. What I heard was different. What I heard was, I want you to cut your hair and become a psychopathic ax murderer and go an a killing spree in the Greater Los Angeles area, because in my mind that's what sales people were. You are horrible, manipulative, persuasive people that make people buy things that they don't really need. And I said no way. You got me all wrong. I came here to front a hair metal band, not to be a salesperson. I'm not manipulative or pushy. I'm not self oriented like that. I can't do it. And he was a psychology major so he said, is that how you won all these accounts? That's a good question. I said no but I came out here to front a hair metal band, I'm not going to do this. And at some point in the conversation, he looked at me and he said, you work for me and you're going to do the job that I need you to do, not the job that you wanna do or I'll fire you. So you don't have to cut your hair all the way off, it's still Los Angeles, you can wear a pony tail. It's just can't touch your belt. You gotta get it up to here. So whenever I had a decision like this that I needed to make and I was under a great deal of pressure and stressed out I had this formula for figuring out how to make a good decision. You may want to write it down. It could help you out sometime. I would get my friends and go to a bar and then we would start drinking because nothing makes for better decisions than alcohol right? Isn't that true? At the bar we're drinking Foster's and we're hanging out and somebody comes up, grabs me, turns me around, and gives me a warm passionate kiss on the lips, and we're embracing in this bar and kissing each other, when I notice that I don't know the man kissing me and he notices he doesn't recognize me either, but he thought it was Anthony Kiedis from the Red Hot Chili Peppers who is one of his best friends and because of copyright I can't show you Anthony Kiedis, but there's a picture of him, that looks very much like that picture. And so we were both uncomfortable for a minute and it didn't work out between us. I'll just leave it at that. We gave it a run. It was a minute in time and that was it. But what happened to me at that time is I got this rationalization. I said wait a second, I look like everyone in L.A. I could cut my hair to shoulder length, go Black Crowes sort of length, and that will work. And I'll go give this thing a try, so I don't have to go back to Columbus, Ohio. So I went into outside sales. I became a horrible salesperson. I was much better when I wasn't told I was supposed to be selling. You recognize that. That that happens to people. You think you're doing something to someone. I was doing something for someone, so I became a terrible salesperson until my manager started to knock off the bad behaviors by criticizing me very harshly and explaining like no don't do that. And I got better. Within six months I won a 10 million dollar account. The largest account won on the western half of the United States that year. They loved me in the role. And I found out that I love sales and it was what I was supposed to be doing in the first place. And I would love to tell you that the story of the 10 million dollar win has a happy ending and I collected a massive commission check for it, but I didn't, because on October 25th, 1992, I woke up being strapped into the back of a van against my will. And I tried to break through the restraints, but I wasn't strong enough because I was already strapped down, when I came to and then I started to do what I do best is talk my way out of stuff. So I started talking my way out of it, saying listen I've done nothing wrong. You can't take me. I know what my rights are. And the paramedic said you're in an ambulance, we're paramedics, we're not taking you against your will and you had a grand mal seizure and we need to get you looked at. Probably one of my finest attributes is my pigheadedness. I'm just very determined individual. And I continued to fight. And so I continued to argue. I know my rights. You have to let me out of this van. And the paramedic turned to me and said, unfortunately you're right, you have no idea what you're talking about, but in California if you ask to get out of an ambulance we have to let you out. I got out of the ambulance, walked into my apartment, with the paramedics following me. They followed me and one of them said listen, he used some curse words to get my attention, he wasn't trying to threaten me, he was trying to get my attention because you're disoriented and he said, where have you been for the last 45 minutes? And I realized that that time I lost 45 minutes of my life. Neighbor came by, drove me to the hospital, just like on TV. Went into an MRI and a CAT scan and the doctors put all the charts on a light board and they said, you have cancer on the front right lobe of your brain and we're going to remove the front right half of your temporal lobe. And I said hang on. You're going a little fast for me. One I'm 25. I don't drink. I don't smoke. I don't do any drugs. I'm a vegan. I run five miles a day and I have brain cancer, and you're going to give me a lobotomy? And he said no, not a lobotomy, it's just a lobectomy. And I said, why didn't you say that if it's just a lobectomy we should just get started now right? It's only half a brain. I continued to push and I said, is there something else it could be? And he said it could be what's called an arterial venous malformation, which is a big group of arteries and veins that grows into a knot. And I had one right here and it was a very large one. Worst sales guys in the world, they're like let us cut your head open. It's going to be great. There's going to be a big crowd of people watching. We're going to use the videos to train doctors for years. And I'm like, would it be okay if I called my parents and let them know where I am and what's going on? Oh yeah yeah, sure, you could do that but we really want to get this on the books. I called home and found out that the best person in the world to remove an arteriovenous malformation is dr. John Tew. And the difference between God and Dr. John Tew is that God doesn't think he's Dr. John Tew. It takes a minute for you to catch up to that one doesn't it? You're like wait, okay. He's a very confident man and when you're going to have a brain surgery it's nice have a very confident person. I asked doctor Tew a couple questions. I said Doctor Tew, have you done many of these? And he said thousands. And not another word. And I said can you successfully remove this one? And he said yes. And not another word. But there was another doctor sitting next to him who's right at the edge of his chair, very anxious to talk to me, and he said, but before we do this what we want to do is take a tube all the way through your femoral artery up to your brain and we want to glue all those arteries and veins shut with an epoxy. And I said that doesn't sound like a very good idea, when you say epoxy that's not good. Have you done many of these? And he said well, we've only done four. But that's because this surgery isn't approved, so I'm again now stuck in a situation where I have to turn to doctor Tew and I say, if you're me do you let this guy glue your brain shut? And he said yes. He said you have two arteries coming out of your heart that carry blood into this and only one vein bringing it back. It's going to be a mess if we don't take care of this. So on November 9th I had a six-hour surgery where they glued the arteriovenous malformation shut and had an 11 hour surgery the next day, so I tell you all of this to get to the point. This is a picture of my actual brain and you can see the piece that's missing. So anytime while we're talking today you decided that there's something missing upstairs. I'll just refer you to slide number 11 to tell you there is in fact something missing upstairs, and we have physiological proof. When I came back to Columbus, Ohio to have that surgery, I was told after the surgery I wasn't going to be allowed to drive the car for two years, because they were afraid I was going to have another seizure. I went back to work in the family business and I grew the business from 3 million to 50 million dollars with a very small sales force and that's sort of how I ended up here.

Class Description

To close or not to close, that is the question: Whether it’s smarter to use pushy tricks for the final ask or forgo the hard sell for a softer approach. For people who work in sales, figuring out the best way to close the deal is a real conundrum.

Best-selling author, speaker and entrepreneur Anthony Iannarino has come up with an innovative approach to closing that’s geared toward the new technological and social realities of our time.

Instead of looking at closing as the hardest part of the sales process, Iannarino shows how it can be the easiest. The key is to lead your customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall, including getting them to commit to investing in the process, building consensus and resolving concerns.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Identify and pursue your dream clients.
  • Call prospective clients without being smarmy, pushy or self-centered.
  • Uncover your prospects’ needs.
  • Present your proposal and solution.
  • Differentiate yourself in a crowded market.
  • Talk about money without fear.
  • Avoid weak language that lacks confidence.
  • Negotiate so you can capture a fair share of the value you create.
  • Ask for more business and referrals.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Anthony Iannarino Presentation

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes


Debbie Burney

I took an entire work day off to attend this online course. It was so worth it!. I've read Anthony's books, and I've been applying his methods and adopting the mindset of being "other-oriented," and my success is taking off in a big way. Just about everything in this session is in his books in some form, sometimes exactly, but seeing Anthony live and hearing the passion and commitment to practicing what is in the books was exciting, motivating, and sticky. The combination of reading the books, working through the workbooks, reading the blog, and now, seeing it all live is powerful stuff! I highly recommend dedicating a day for this class.

Joanna Avigail Nasierowska

Incredible course, loved it! Thank you, great advice, great understanding of sales process, sharp, quick, easy to understand negotiation & selling process.

Stephen Layman

Anthony Iannarino is an excellent teacher. I have seen the concepts and principles that he teaches ring true in and my experience in B2B sales with large creative projects. For anyone seeking to sharpen their sales technique I would highly recommend this class.