Skip to main content

money & life

The Lost Art of Closing

Lesson 5 of 16

How to Identify and Pursue Your Dream Clients

Anthony Iannarino

The Lost Art of Closing

Anthony Iannarino

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

5. How to Identify and Pursue Your Dream Clients

Lesson Info

How to Identify and Pursue Your Dream Clients

There's a lot to cover in here. We're gonna talk about capturing leads, especially for the people at home who are creators and we're gonna talk about nurturing relationships, which I think is one of the most critical things that we need to do. So I want to start by talking about the opposite of dream clients, though, one of my favorite things to talk about, nightmare clients, (audience laughs) and if you haven't had one, just wait, you will. I remember my first nightmare client. They were spending about three and a half million dollars a year with my small company at the time and that was a lot of money to us, but they didn't pay their bills and when we asked them to pay their bills, they got really, really angry and hostile and they were horrible to all of the people that were on my team. I mean, they were just terrible people to work with, but they spent a lot of money and we like that. In sales, we're like, they're spending a lot of money, we're making a lot of money, but the experi...

ence with working with them was so bad. I call these people, it's like having a pet dragon. You don't really want a pet dragon because the person that feeds the dragon, you know? (audience laughs) You end up getting charred all the time and then you have to walk around behind your dragon, cleaning up, you know? You don't want to have to clean up after your dragon. They're terrible to work with and at one point, I went and asked them for the money that they owed us and I went to the CFO and I said you need to pay your bills. We are fronting your payroll and we need to recover the money so we can continue to do this and the CEO called me when I was in my car driving back and he said, "Never ask my people for money. "You work for me. "We don't work for you and we'll pay you "when we damn well feel like it." and I said "I apologize, maybe I wasn't clear. "If you don't pay us, we're gonna fire you." And he said, "you wouldn't dare." And I said "I'm five minutes from my office "and when I get there, I'm gonna fax you a letter giving you 30 day notice we're leaving." And he said "I dare you," and I said "see you in a few minutes." And then I called my CEO and I'm like, "I just fired our largest account," and she's like, "good, I hate them." (audience laughs) and I'm like, "but it's three and a half million dollars." She says we'll find another account. Don't worry about it. We can't have people treat us this way. So there's this group of people that spend a lot of money in your category, whatever it is you sell, but they're not nice people to work with. And I got a list of bullet points because I didn't want to forget all these things, to give you these things that you can think about. They almost always command the lowest price. There's no value you can create for them outside of price and that's what they're always focused on. How do I get a better deal? They'll literally change to save a few pennies, even though the cost of change is greater than the money they save, they still will change because they perceive price as being the only value that's worth doing anything about. They're full of difficult personalities and some of you are smiling 'cause you know which ones I'm talking about, right? You've had these clients. They're difficult just to be difficult. They're challenging personalities. They don't challenge you to be better or to create better value. They're just challenging on a very personal level. They attack you personally. Everything's your fault. They take no responsibility and the view that they have of us is that you are a vendor. You're not a strategic partner. You're not somebody who's a trusted advisor, you're a vendor and I'm gonna treat you like a vendor. I'm gonna make sure that you know you're a vendor and you're not somebody that's really important. They tend not to be too interested in changing on their side so if you haven't had this client, you will, but you can get them the result, but they would have to change in order to get it and they don't want to make those changes. They just want to swap out one person for another, one vendor for another and expect that they get a different result, even though they don't wanna do the heavy lifting on their end. So you pick up your end of the stick and their end of the stick is still on the ground. It just doesn't work. They gotta pick up their end of the stick. Some of you are nodding because you're like "I know that client exactly." Anything that gets done is blamed on you. No matter what happens, no matter what the result, it's your fault because you're the vendor, even if it's their fault. They pay their bills late. They're horrible with communication. A lot of the communication ends up being very personal. If you haven't had that at some point, you get it. And they're adversarial instead of collaborative. They're the exact opposite of what it takes to produce results. When you're adversarial and you're arguing over what kind of changes to make instead of how do we make them, you've got a relationship that isn't gonna work well long term and you're not gonna be able to produce that result. So, even though they spend a lot of money and even though, if you have a sales force or you are a salesperson and you're watching this, you've got this list, and you're like, "but they spend the most in the category in my territory." They're still not a dream client for you. It doesn't matter how much money they spend. It's are we gonna be able to do the kind of work that we're capable of and I describe dream clients as a client that you can create breathtaking, earth shattering, jaw dropping value for and who are gonna allow you to keep some of that value so that you can deliver those kinds of results. That's a dream client. I'll tell you a little bit more about them. A dream client is absolutely willing to invest in better results and when you say you can get a better result, but you'll need to invest more money, they're like, okay, how do we make that investment? How do we get this result? The result's worth more than the money, which means they understand the difference between price and cost, which we'll talk about. They're extremely loyal, so we had a question about a competitive displacement. It's how do I go in and displace somebody by talking about my product? Very difficult to displace somebody with product alone because they're loyal to the people that work with them and you get the benefit to this too. So we hate it. I've called on this account for seven years. They're never going to change. They're so loyal, but then when you win them, they're so loyal, you get to keep them for seven years. That's what you want. I had a client once that I won, literally after seven years and the stakeholder was so loyal, I told everybody on my team she will have to die for us to win this business. Fortunately, she didn't have to die. She just had to get a new job and within two weeks of her getting a new job, we had the business. We were right for them the whole time, but she was so loyal, she wasn't gonna change because I came in and said I can do better. Yeah, but these are my people. So you want this relationship. That's why dream clients are so valuable. You can keep them for a long time. They're super collaborative. They will work with you in every case. How do we do this? How do we get better? Those are the personality types where you end up doing your very best work and when we're selling, it doesn't even feel like selling anymore. It feels like I'm consulting and I'm doing work helping produce a result and it's the part where we like what we do. They don't believe that you're a supplier or a vendor or a preferred vendor or preferred supplier. They go, this is our strategic partner. And that's how you know. That's how you know you've got that role is they look at you through this lens to say they're part of our team. Then they're a dream client. They make changes on their side and they take responsibility when it's their fault that something goes wrong. And I had one client that was such a dream client. My company did something wrong and I had to call the Vice President of the company and say, "we made a major mistake here. "It's our fault. "We should've done something different." and he said, "nah, we have a stake in this too. "we're at fault." and I said, "um, with all due respect, it's 100% our fault. "you have no fault in this." and he said, "yeah, but as a good partner, we probably should've been aware of it "and done something too." and I said, "okay, I promise you this is 100% my fault "and I'm fixing this." Yeah, but I'm still gonna talk to my team to see what we can do to help you. That's a dream client. You're like how good is this relationship that he's trying to find a way to take responsibility when there wasn't any and I'm telling him there's not any, but he's like how do we collaborate? What do we do to be better, and it's the easiest call. And I said I'm gonna need to do this and I need you to call your team and tell them we're doing it and he said, "I'll make the call for you right now." They pay their bills. Anybody who spends a lot of money and doesn't pay their bills is not your dream client and you have some of those. You find them and they tend to have excellent communication. We're able to look at the issue and not the people involved in it and that's how you know somebody's a mature business person. They're not focused on any individual in that mistake. They're focused on how do we create the better result? What do we do about it? So they don't tend to blame people. And there's no reason to spend a lot of time pursuing nightmare clients because ultimately, when you win one, you can't get rid of them fast enough and they take time away from your real dream clients. They take time away from prospecting. They take time away from the clients that you should be meeting with to create greater value and you're wasting it on people who are going to take all of the time and energy from you and your team without you getting the benefit of that. And that's why you want to focus on dream clients. I'm gonna give you a number. If you're at home and you're playing there, you can stay with us on this. I like the number 60 dream clients. And I like it for a reason. It's because you don't have to be very good at math. You can just say 60 divided by four weeks is 15. 15 dream clients that I can contact during the week and I'll show you how that works and if I have nothing else to do and I only call three of those 15, I can do that in 30 minutes in the morning. Probably less than that 'cause I'm gonna go to voicemail and I can make sure that I touch that every single month without fail. So I don't have to be a nuisance, but I do have to be persistent and nurture them over time and 60 is a good number because the math works out really well and three calls a day. Any rep can make three calls a day. It's not hard to do. You can send three follow up emails. It's very easy, but you should have a list of the clients that you want, that you're gonna pursue over time and you're gonna have a professional persistence. That's what a dream client is about and if you're B to C, you can still have dream clients and people may come into your world as a creator and they may fill out some sort of a form. Maybe you have some sort of a lead capture. And then you can get somebody into the relationship and you can identify this is a person who likes what I do and they care about what I do and you can start to make a list of those people to say over time, I want to develop relationships with this group of people. That's what we do when we're selling and we're at our very best is we determine what our targets are and then we pursue them. One of my favorite videos of Zig Ziglar, which somebody mentioned to me today is Zig, who was the best. He had a group of people like this in a room and he was talking to them about archery and he said in a few minutes, I could have each of you beat the gold medalist in archery from the Olympics and he says here's what we'd have to do. You'd have to learn how to pull the bow back exactly right. You'd have to learn how to target. You'd have to learn how to release it when it was exactly right and he goes through all these things and then he says and then we would have to blindfold the Olympic gold medalist and his point is this. If you can't see the target, you can't hit the target and if you can see it and you know clearly what you're going after, that's what you tend to get. So you find these dream clients and you put your focus and your energy and your time against winning those because that makes a difference for you and it makes a difference for them. That's where we spend our time. If you're a creator and you have some sort of elite magnet. I'll show you mine. You go to my free resources page on the blog. I'm gonna capture your information 'cause I wanna see who you are. And you give me information and if you are a dream client, I can reach out to you and say you're somebody that I might be able to create value for. Can we explore change? What were you looking for when you came here? It's the same for creators that when people come into your world, they're looking for something. And so you can look at them and say how do I serve these people? And we'll talk about you can proactively go out and introduce yourself to them and begin that relationship and start nurturing people. So let's talk about nurturing relationships and to do this we have to get into probably something a little bit complex, but also very important and I've tried to make it as simple as I possibly can. It's what I call level four value creation. And this is how you show up and nurture relationships from a place of being a peer, from being strategic, from being a trusted advisor, for being consultative. If you want to be all of those things and every salesperson says those words, I wanna be consultative. Okay, this is the bar, though. If you say I want to consultative, I'm gonna have to have you get over a very high bar. So let's talk about how you do that. The first level of value is the value in your product. So the person at home that asked the question about how do I displace somebody with a product, the reason that that's so difficult is that everybody has a good product or service now. It's not that hard to do, to have a good product. What happens, though, is you're undifferentiated and you don't generate a lot of loyalty in the product by yourself in B to B specifically. In B to C, you can have some very, very loyal people when you have a product that's this good. In most of our worlds, though, that's not true. So when you enter the conversation from this side and you're like I have a good product, people are like, "yeah, we have a good product too." Meh, I don't care. You're not that interesting. For a long time, sales organizations have moved up and every one of these levels actually includes a level that came before it. So at level two, I still have a good product, but now I have good service and good support, which basically for most of us in B to B means when you install this, you're gonna get a bunch of problems because that's what we do is we make new problems for you to solve your old problems, right? People with complex solutions are nodding like, yes, that's what we do exactly, and then we say but don't worry. We've got outstanding service and support and we're gonna take care of the problems that we create as we change for you and they're like okay, that's helpful. So at least you're gonna be here to help me. So this is experience. It's really good for B to C. The Starbucks that I drive through every morning knows my order specifically and the only reason it's Starbucks is 'cause we don't have Philz, like you have in San Francisco or it would be Philz, but if I change my order, it throws everybody. They're like, "wait, wait, "you get a venti dark roast with room. "what are you getting? "what changed? "is this your new order?" And they're trying to figure it out and they're so good at experience. I was in London, England last week and I went to a Starbucks right across the street from my hotel and there was a Polish immigrant working behind the counter and the first day I ordered a venti Americano, which is the closest I could get to what I want and the second day, I ordered it and when I walked in the third day, he said, "venti Americano with room," He knew the order. In two days, he figured it out. I was impressed with that experience, but that's what they're trying to create so you'll pay five dollars for a coffee. That's the experience and I said how many people come through here every morning that you know their order? And he said 54, 54 regulars, I know all their orders and it took him two days to know mine and he placed the order. That's great. Doesn't solve B to B problems, so the experience means I'm really solving the problems that I created. So better, but not enough. So we've moved up one more level, level three, and this means I can get you tangible business results. So I've got a good product, I've got good service, you're actually gonna get results. I'm gonna show you how they're better. It's gonna be objective. There's greater profit. All the problems that you have have gone away, whatever the case may be. So I still have all the prior attributes, but what happens here is we've all sold at that level for so long that now we're commoditized at level three. You've got a spreadsheet that shows ROI, I've got a spreadsheet that shows ROI and you know what that's like. Like, what do you do with two spreadsheets? You give them to the purchasing guy and he goes okay, I'll find the bottom line here. This has a lower price point, so I'm gonna choose this one because all things being equal, we go to price, right? That's how it works. So level three now is not enough. But what I recognized about 10 years ago is that there's a group of salespeople and a group of sales organizations that get it, that you really want to enter the conversation from the other side. You want to come in as a four and so the questions that I normally get are how do I grow from a one and create all this value so that I can get to a four? You can't 'cause when you come in and say, I have a product and those features and benefits, they go I know exactly what to do with you. Call my purchasing guy. He buys commodities. That's what happens and if you show up and say I wanna solve your existing dissatisfaction, which is level three, they're like, "yeah, I'm not really interested "in changing right now," which we've heard, right? I'm not really interested in changing right now. So when you come in as four, you're coming in saying I can help you see a future that you're not aware of and I'm gonna talk about four trends and I'm gonna give somebody a different lens to look through because they have this lens that they're looking at the world through, that's shaped by all their experiences, everything that they do, how they're working their business now and I'm gonna just come in and swap that out and say here's a new lens and I'm gonna talk about four trends or five trends or six things that should be compelling them to change. And I wanna speak directly to the creatives for just a minute on this, so I'm gonna speak over here. You know more than the people that buy from you and if you're a wedding photographer, you know the decisions that brides and grooms make together that cause them not to get the pictures or the videos that they want. You've seen hundreds of weddings and they're gonna have one, or in some cases three or four but not many more than that. So you know a lot more about how to get what they want and how to give them the experience that when they put it on Facebook, all their friends are gonna be envious because you made decisions. They don't know that and if you're a videographer or a graphic designer, they don't know that the fonts that they've chosen when they come to you with a project are fonts that would've been really, really sexy in 1973, but in 2018, don't work anymore or that they have to create everything for web, so you have this knowledge, and this is what makes you a strategic partner. I can help you envision and create a future because I understand how to get you strategic outcomes. Not just the outcome of a return on investment, but an outcome that says this is how to move this business or this person into the future. That's how we do this. So this is level four and the difficulty here is that it's hard to create level four value. You actually have to be up here. You have to be a trusted advisor. You have to be willing to occupy that role and we'll talk about how to do that because it's very personal to you as an individual. You get to decide what level you play at. What happens, though, when you come in from the other side, you don't sound or look like anybody else. You come in and say I wanna talk to you about four trends that are gonna impact your business and I'm not gonna talk to you about my company. Now, they're like okay, where are we? What's happening here? I'm used to seeing- Who are you? I'm not used to seeing this. So now you've established that you're gonna create a greater level of value. You can't say that, you have to show that. You actually have to have that conversation with people to say this is how you should think about your business. This is how you should think about these challenges. This is how you should think about these trends and now I have this insight and so there's a disparity of information. I have greater information than you have and if you don't have greater information than your client or your perspective client, then you have a problem because if you're the same as having an internet webpage, if that's all you have is the features and benefits, I can just go to the webpage. Then you get disintermediated and somebody comes along and says you don't create enough value. I'll just start buying this on the web. Who has an Amazon Prime account? Yeah, everybody because there's a lot of things that we don't need any insight to buy. I have razors show up. I just have a monthly thing. I'm not going to the store anymore. Amazon will drop it off. Do you have Amazon Prime Now? Yes, one. My daughter found out I had- three. My daughter found out I had Amazon Prime Now and she said would it be okay if I ordered a couple things and now we almost have a daily delivery of makeup coming to the house and I'm like who is buying all this makeup like I don't know 'cause they'll deliver it to you now. It's a transaction for her. There's not a lot of thought that goes into this. She wants new makeup, it shows up. In the B to B world, if you look like a transaction, you get treated like a transaction. That's what happens, but if you look like a peer and a trusted advisor and you show up with insight, you look like a peer and then people start to take you seriously. There's been a lot of conversation about relationships and I said that earlier and I think that, probably the best example I can give you of that is Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson, who wrote The Challenger Sale, wrote a blog post when the book came out, called Selling is Not About Relationships and if you look at the cover of the book, you'll see Brent Adamson and Nick Toman's name, so they know we've had a lot of conversations about Challenger and I believe that the model of challenging with an insight is right, but they put out a hyperbolic blog post that said Selling is not about relationships and there were hundreds of comments basically all them with some sort of version of so apparently you've never sold before because anybody who's sold knows if I could have the relationship or not have the relationship, I'll have the relationship and so the idea of having an insight and being strategic and being a trusted advisor and being a peer and also having a relationship are not mutually exclusive. You can have both of those at the same time and in fact, you want both of them at the same time because you want the maximum preference to work with you and not somebody else and relationships are how we do that. So my view of this, in part because if you do what I do, it's the law that you have to have a two by two block like this. They will throw you right out if you don't have- if you can't demonstrate that you can do two continuums like this, you can't do it. One is relationship value, one's economic value. And you want the maximum of both, so what you're trying to do is drive to the top right corner. If you're just level one and you're transactional, you're a vendor and you're gonna get treated like a vendor. You're always gonna end up with purchasing. Everybody's gonna talk about your price, but if you're a little bit better and you have a better relationship, you could be a supplier. Not a lot of economic value, but I like you and so the point that Matt Dixon and Brent Adamson were making with Challenger is if we're just friends, we're just bros, we're just hanging, you don't create enough value for me anymore. So the economic part now matters more than it ever has and so now, to get to level three where you have maximum economic value, but the relationship isn't maybe what it could be, maybe you're a preferred vendor 'cause you produce results. It's nice, it's better than one or two, but the job is to get to four and that's to say I've got the best relationship because I have economic value and I know how to work with people and I'm preferred because I know how to come in and build consensus and because I'm operating through this lens in the lost art of closing where I'm asking for these commitments. I'm having these conversations and that's what gets you to this point where you're at level four. That's where you're trying to play. The bar is very high here, but when you're there, it's the easiest place to operate. Right now, the war going on is for mindshare. Who owns the lens that your prospective client is looking through and I'm gonna give you a couple ideas about this. This is a framework for B to B and B to C. You can do this in a whole bunch of ways and I'll try to describe it to you in a few. The way that I think about nurturing a relationship is I think about prospecting and the creation of opportunities being a campaign. It's not a one time thing where I'm gonna call somebody and I'm gonna disappear, which is why I chose that finite number 60. So what happens is at the very beginning, I have to start indoctrinating them into my world, which is let me change the lens and if you're on my newsletter, now you know why, 'cause I've been indoctrinating you with ideas. I keep sending you ideas every week 'cause I'm swapping out your lens and pretty soon, you're like, hey, this lens looks pretty good. It's a different way to look at something and I keep giving you those. It's an introduction. I like a phone call first, when I'm prospecting 'cause I want to make an ask, but then I'm gonna have some content that serves me and the first is why do I have to change at all? That's the first question. It's not why should I choose you. It's why do I have to change at all? I don't want to change. Human beings don't really want to change until they're either very inspired or very desperate, which is why about, we're at March 22nd today, most of you don't remember what your New Year's resolution is, right? Because we forgot about that a long time ago. This is the question that causes people to move into the funnel. Like, I'm now engaged with you, why? Because I believe I have to change. But human beings are skeptical. You're sending me this because you're gonna try to sell me something, I know that. So I need other things. I need proof providers. When I say 11,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every day, I can show you that and I can also give you facts and figures. I can download a spreadsheet from the Census Bureau and show it to you so you can see that it's real. Now it's not my opinion anymore, it's a fact and I'm sharing that with you because I want you to look at the world through a very, very different lens and one that's gonna allow you to change. After that, we're gonna do some development. We're gonna continue to share the kind of ideas that cause people to recognize that there are choices available to them and over time, we're gonna deepen that relationship. Always coming back and asking and then always giving no ask content, where I'm giving you something just because I want to give you something so that you think about it better, whether you buy from me or not because I'm occupying the space of trusted advisor and peer. That's the spot that I'm holding now and if you keep reading and you keep looking at this, then pretty soon, you're like these people know things. They know things that we don't know. They look at it in a different way than we do. That's the beginning of this process. And then in the fourth quarter, maybe, I mature this relationship and give them deeper content and spend more time trying to get them on the telephone or get a face to face meeting and I want to show you what this looks like mechanically. I want to show you what the mechanics look like. In my group A, which is 15 clients, 'cause we're dividing 60 by four weeks. I'm gonna send them an email on Monday. I'm gonna do Tuesday another three, Wednesday another three and so on down the line 'til I get 15. And then week two, I'm gonna bring in group B. I'm gonna do the same thing to them, but then I'm gonna call group A. That's it. And I'll show you week three. Even though I could take you through 13 weeks, I won't, but you get the idea, right? Maybe I send a package or because Michelle's here, maybe I do a LinkedIn Inmail. Maybe I give you a piece of social content. Maybe I connect with you on Twitter and send you a note there and say this is a link that I think is worth your time and attention. What I want to help you understand in this is that campaigns are extremely proactive. It's not like prospecting where I make one call and then I put it on my calendar to call again in a year. It's I'm gonna pursue this person professionally for a period of time to make sure that if there's something there that we need to do together, that we can do that. It's professional. It's not professional to call somebody once and then call again two quarters from now. That does not indicate that you really want their business or that you're serious about it or that you have something to say that's worth listening to. All this time, you're seeing this stuff come in, it's do I really want to meet with this person? And the more that you have content that speaks to them and their challenges, the easier for them to say yes. And then it's intentional. Most of us in sales, myself included for a long time, I was sporadic enough to use a phone book. I just call some numbers and I'll call some different numbers and you find out that you get sporadic results when you take sporadic action. Sometimes something happened and other times it didn't. But if you're intentional and you've set your mind on certain targets and they're your dream clients and you're really trying to serve them and you continue to nurture them over time, eventually, they come around and you end up with a perspective client and you end up with a deal. This is the way that it generally works, so I wanna tell you regardless of what you saw here, don't worry about the medium at all. It doesn't matter what the medium is. You can mix it up and in fact, mixing it up is great. They see you on LinkedIn, they see you in another place, you start showing up everywhere, that's really good. Worry instead about the consistency. How consistent is my messaging? How consistently am I deploying the energy against a campaign like this? And then we'll go back to the first principle we talked about today, fast is slow and slow is fast. So if you want this process to work, you should've already started it, but you just got here, so you didn't know, but now you know. So you start working on this and you put the plan in place and you start taking action and eventually, you start to have more conversations with those targets. When you find out they're not a dream client and you have the conversation, you take them off the list and you replace it. When you win the business, you take it off the list, you replace it and you just go from quarter to quarter, changing. This is how you nurture your dream clients and we are at time for Q and A. Anybody in the audience have any questions? So Anthony, as I look at this process and I guess to really position yourself as sales professionals, strategic partner, it would seem like it really requires a lot more upfront investment of time to research your client, their industry, to really be able to provide that kind of insight and strategic value. Can you comment on that in terms of how a sales professional manages their time and their inclination to get right to the phone maybe too quick to start calling clients before they're fully prepared? There's two kinds of situations that I tend to see and so one is the researcher and they love the research and so they're gonna research the client, they're gonna make one call and then later on, to make the next call, probably 90 days later, they research the client again because what if something changed in their world? Of course something changed in their world. Do you have a compelling reason that you should be calling them at all and they just do, I make my research and then I make one call and then I do some more research and then I make one more call and they make almost no calls 'cause the research prevents them from having to dial. You're smiling, you know this story, right? It doesn't end well. The story does not have a happy ending. It's a salesperson that doesn't have a lot of opportunities 'cause they're doing all this research. You do one really good session of research on a particular client. So 60's a big number to have to research because I want three or four stakeholders to have the right titles. I'm gonna go out to LinkedIn, I'm gonna print off their PDF and I'm gonna attach the PDF document in or whatever your CRM is so I don't have to go back and look at that person again 'cause it's all right there in front of me and then I'm gonna make my list of and I'm gonna actually gonna execute against it. So you do have to do more research at the beginning. I think we overdo it sometimes and I got this lesson when I made a sales call on PetSmart and I walked in and I said, here's what I know about you right now. These are you three biggest initiatives and this is what you're concerned about strategically in the direction of the company right now and this is where I think we can be of service. And he said where did you get that? And I said I read your chairman's letter and your annual reports for the last three years. He goes, we don't care about any of that here. Here's what I'm trying to do. I need to get the boxes right there over to there. That's what I'm trying to do. Can you help with that? And I said, I think I can. I had hours of research into something. Know your audience. So you have to do enough research that you're relevant. You have to have a point of view in something, but sometimes we overdo it. You need to know enough that you have some sort of point of view about it and some way that you can say this is really what should be compelling these people to change. That's not gonna change from week to week to week unless there's an event and something causes it to change, which you would see, you don't really need to do that much. So do enough that you've got a good line of thinking on it and then execute. That's the best advice I can give. I think it's about the cadence, right? Like everyone has their specific cadence, depending on what the size of prize is for their product or service, what market they're selling into and I had an a-ha moment just now, just thinking about I do all my selling on LinkedIn, on our Premier platform. Any reason? Because. Just one, yeah. Because I love what I sell, but I'm noticing I have my account plans for my strategic accounts. I'm liking, commenting and mailing, being relevant, timely, but I think I'm missing that other part of that cadence and it's not because... Maybe 'cause I've just felt like I've been successful, but I'm not closing at a rate that I'd like to be closing or serving to get to that. What do you think you're missing in the cadence? Phone calls, consistency. I think consistency's the key and we start to look at our business now and our forecasts in our last meeting and one of the things that came up was we're not doing enough. Well, why is that? It's because we just don't have that cadence. We have STR's, sales reps that do outbound for us, but we have to do it on our own. In order to be in a state of creating change, we have to be consistent. People are nodding around you, just so you know that. Yeah, but that's what I just took of that. You don't see them but they're like, yes, that's right. And it's just that one word. You do have to use the phone. The phone is still the fastest way and I'm a fan of LinkedIn and I've literally won a million dollar deal on an InMail and you know the story 'cause I've told it. I do, thank you. I do think that LinkedIn is, of all the social tools that you're gonna use, the best one. There's not, in my opinion, a second place in this particular category. It's mostly business people, getting to be a little bit like Facebook right now, but that's the content being delivered by us who are on the platform, but ultimately, I do think that you start with a call because I want people to know that I'm pursuing them. ANd my own particular cadence, for me personally, is I do three calls in a row before I ever start that campaign because I want you to know that you're being pursued and you can run, you might even be able to hide, but I'm in pursuit and I'm gonna get you eventually. And what happens is if you move three calls together closer together, a lot of times what people do is they'll say I'll make three calls or four calls over the course of a year. I'll just ignore you. I ignored Bob from a software company for 20 years now. Bob calls every quarter. Anthony, just calling to check in. See if anything's changed in your world. In 20 years, Bob? Has anything changed in my world? Everything's changed in my world. It's 20 years, but he has no insight. He has nothing to say. I spoke to a company where his headquarters was located and we were on a bus going to an event and we drove by the building and I just starting laughing out loud and people said why are you laughing? I'm like 'cause Bob is in there right now. (audience laughs) and he still has nothing- he's not noticed that anything's changed in my world. But if you push those calls together and you do three in a row, so you call, You leave a voicemail, you leave an email. We'll talk about this later on. I'll actually give you the mechanics for this too. And then you do it again and then you do it again. One of two things happens and mostly the second, not the first. The first thing is somebody says, Michelle, enough already. We're not gonna buy from you, okay. Very, very rare. Very rare. And fine when it happens too, okay. We live with it. We're in sales. The second thing that happens is you get, Michelle, I'm so sorry I haven't been avoiding you. We're just really busy here. How can I help you? And then you get to say, you know I was looking at how your people are using LinkedIn right now and I got a couple insights I want to share with you that I think I could help you create more new opportunities if that's interesting to you. Good, she's got an opinion on this. Do you have an opinion on LinkedIn? I do. A strong one? Yes. Yeah, exactly. So she's gonna use that to open up that relationship, but I would do the calls close enough that it causes somebody to say okay, I'm gonna take this call to find out what this person wants and mostly they're apologetic and they say I'm so sorry. I haven't been avoiding you. I'm just super busy here because people want to be professional. Make the calls.

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.