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The Lost Art of Closing

Lesson 6 of 16

Relationships that Create Opportunities

Anthony Iannarino

The Lost Art of Closing

Anthony Iannarino

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Lesson Info

6. Relationships that Create Opportunities

Lesson Info

Relationships that Create Opportunities

We're gonna talk specifically about the commitment for time because that is probably the most important thing that we have to do to create new opportunities. We're gonna talk about the commitment to explore change. And that's another thing that happens early in the process. We're gonna talk about how you open a relationship and we're gonna get tactical. I'll go back to the phone and talk about the four trends so that you get some idea of what a script might sound like and if you ask questions about it, I'll try to help you tailor that for you and your business if I can do that. I'll tell you what to say on the phone, what to say on voicemail, and what to say on an email. And that'll be super, super tactical 'cause I like tactical and practical stuff when I'm working with sales people. So you can put it to action right now and get a different result. So we'll start with the commitment for time. And what we're trying to do when we're asking someone for their time is to get them to agree ...

to some sort of a meeting where we can start having a conversation around change. That's what we're really trying to do. So it has to sound like that. That commitment has to sound different than what I used earlier as an example where I say, I'd like to stop by and introduce myself and my company. And when you say that, immediately that person has heard that so often they listen to that and they go, don't need to do that, I don't need to see what you do, I'm not interested, I'm not buying right now, I'm not compelled. No person woke up today in any part of the world that I'm aware of and said to themselves, I hope a salesperson calls so they can come out and tell me about themselves and their services 'cause that would make my day a wonderful event. No one says that. They don't think that. You're interrupting them most of the time when you're calling. So if you're gonna interrupt somebody, and it's fine to interrupt people when you have something to say and when you can create value for that individual, then it's okay to interrupt people. Other than that, you have to take a step back and say what am I asking them for? So the commitment for time ends up to be a difficult one because you can sound smarmy and self-oriented and pushy when you're pushing for this, and you don't really have anything of value to offer. So that's really where we're starting from. And I'll give you this language again because the commitment of time is a hard one to get and you need to be able to say something that sounds like this, and I'll say it again for you. And you'll be able to find this in resources too. I'd like to stop by and share with you. Those are important words. We've been told for a long time sharing is caring, sharing is nice, right? So I'm coming to share with you four trends that are gonna impact your business over the next 18 to 24 months. That's a short enough timeline that I have time to do something about it, and not so long that it's too far in the future. And does it have to be four trends? No. Could it be three? Sure. Could it be 27? No, that's too many. (audience laughs) you're gonna have to roll those up into a few things that work. Nobody has time for 27 items in this conversation. You need four kind of big ideas that cover the territory for them. That's what you're really looking for. And then you're gonna say, I'm also going to give you some of the questions that you're going to need to answer with your management team over the next 18 to 24 months. Which means there is already something of action to do here. There's a reason to have this meeting because there are questions that you may not know that you need to answer, but if you know you need to answer them and you know what to talk to your management team about, you can do something about this before something happens. And then I'm gonna leave them with some language to let them know that this is about them and not me. And I'm gonna say, I'll leave you with the slide deck and the questions, and even if there's not a next step for us, you're still gonna know what you might wanna do or start thinking about to get ahead of some of these trends and to make sure you're positioning your business for the future. That's a value prop. And the number one rule for getting any of these commitments is I have to trade enough value to deserve the commitment I'm asking for. I have to trade enough value. So when you say, I'd like to stop by and introduce myself and my services, that's not a lot of value for me on the other side. That's a low level of value. I'm gonna teach you how to think about your business and give you some insights that you may not be aware of, or if you are, you may not know what other people are doing and we can look at those together, that's worth talking about. That's something that I would give you my time for. But I won't do that if I don't see that there's value to be created in this case and for me. You need to trade me enough value. I'm giving you the one thing I can never get more of. My only finite non-renewable resource is my time. And so when you ask for that, that's a big ask. And if you leave it open-ended and say, I'd like to have a meeting with you, and somebody goes, I'm not giving you an hour. I'm not gonna give you an hour. Just 'cause Outlook allows you to schedule everything for an hour as the default doesn't mean that you need an hour-long meeting. 20 minutes is enough. If you're in this room and you're B2B you already know this, is it really 20 minutes? [Woman In Audience] No. Depends on how interesting you are, right? It could be four minutes. Or it could be an hour and 22 minutes, right? If you're interesting enough and you get into a conversation, they're not throwing you out of the office. That 20 minutes was so they felt confident that the commitment level was low enough that if you weren't creating value, they can get rid of you. But once you start creating value and you start getting into how to think about their business, people are gonna hang on to you for a long time. You'll be in a meeting for quite a while if you do that. We're gonna talk about voicemail too, and we're gonna talk about email. I wanted to get to one other thing here. I wanna tell you first in this meeting you're just opening up the conversation. You're not trying to pitch anybody, you're not selling anything at this point. We're just talking about let's explore change and see what makes sense. And so when I prompt you with something like, 11,000 baby boomers retiring, 4.3 million, and I ask you a question about that, I'm trying to provoke somebody to recognize that there's a gap between what they're doing and what they need to do. I'm trying to create a gap. And so when I say, what's your talent acquisition strategy to deal with 4.3 million people retiring and the new people coming in not having the same skill set, how are you gonna handle that? And they go, first off, we didn't know that. And second off, I don't think we have any strategy for this right now. Now we have an interesting conversation starter, right? 'Cause I opened up something. So the questions that we ask matter. We're trying to explore change. So what needs to be different? Why does it need to be different? How should it be different? What is gonna work for you? What results should you be seeking? And I wanna tell you for B2B, this means you have a point of view. It's not your product that's selling, it's your point of view. I believe this is better than that and here's why. In our experience, companies that do this get a better results than companies that do that. X is better than Y and here's why. When you can tell them that then you start to look like a peer and a trusted advisor. But I wanna tell you this, I'm gonna talk again to the home audience, some of whom are creators. In B2C this same thing is true. And I did a little bit of this before. If you're a wedding photographer, what is the state of the art in wedding photography, and how should I be thinking about that? I'm trying to get married one time and I need it to be perfect and special, and I need the video and the photos to look like that. If you're a graphic designer it's the same thing. What is going to compel people on the web to take action? What do your graphics need to look like? What does your website need to contain in order for you to bring people into your funnel and to come into your world? So whatever, if you're a technical writer, if that's your thing, if you're an editor, or if you're a graphic designer, if you're a photographer, in B2C you still have to have some new ideas to share with people and you have to have some perspective. You have to have some perspective that says of all the things that you could do, this would be the right thing to do and this would be the wrong thing to do. And if you don't have that perspective, then it's not easy for you to be relevant to other people. But to hold that position you do have to have something that you believe strongly. And if you believe it strongly and you can convey that to people, that confidence allows them to come into this conversation with us and decide to do something different, which is ultimately what we're after. So here's the second part. Now, this is just practical and tactical. I'm gonna start with the phone for Michelle, 'cause she's not gonna use the phone in all cases. You're gonna call somebody and you're basically gonna go through I wanna meet with you to share with you four trends, three trends, whatever it is, that are gonna impact your business. You're likely not going to get that person on the phone because it's hard to get people on the phone. So the more likely outcome that you're gonna get is a beep and a voicemail. That's generally what you're gonna get. So you have your script ready and it's gonna sound a lot like this when we get to voicemail. I'm gonna repeat what I was gonna say, I learned this from one of my best friends growing up, who's a total rogue and a scalawag, Robbie. I moved to Los Angeles and Robbie missed me. And I started in sales, and I had to leave a lot of voicemails. But it was back at the time when there was actually a voicemail, you know, a little answering machine? And it had a little tape in it and the tape was about 20 minutes long. That should be enough to handle a lot of messages, unless you get a message from Robbie. And then when you get a message from Robbie, it can be plus or minus the 20 minutes. I mean, it's right in that neighborhood. So I would come home from work and there would be two beeps telling me that I had two messages and the first was Robbie. And there was no fast forward, so the way that it would work is Rob would decide to have his side of the conversation without me. And he would literally have the whole side of the conversation, so it would be, listen, I'm listening to the Montrose album, Paper Money, and I was thinking about you right now, and remember that time when we were out in your '72 Barracuda and we decided to cut school that day and then, and then he would just leave the whole story on there. And then he'd say, and I'm going out with this girl and I know you wanted to date her, but you're gone and so I asked her out and now, and the whole thing would just go on and on and on. And I'm like, how long is Robbie gonna talk? There's one more beep, it could be important, but I got to get through all of Robbie's answer, and I thought this was pretty interesting. So from now on when I leave a message I decided I'll just leave my whole side of the message, why not? He did and it worked beautiful. So I started calling people and saying, listen, Price, the reason I'm calling you is because I wanna share with you four trends. It's an executive briefing for people in your role. When we show it to people they're immediately drawn in and I'm gonna give you some insights about how you might think of your business. And I'm sorry I missed you today, but I would like to get on your calendar for 20 minutes, and I will call you again this same time next week. And I apologize for missing you. I'll also send you an email following this up. So if you need me for anything, you can let me know. I did not ask him to call me back. Why not? 'Cause he's not gonna call me back. That's a wish. And he's not calling me back. It's not his job to call me back either, is it? He doesn't have to call me back. I want his business, he doesn't want my business. So I'm gonna pursue him and I'm gonna let him know with a little bit of a threat, right? I'm calling you back next week. He's nodding at me and he's smiling, like this will be great. I can avoid you again next week. Fine, the next week I'm making the same pattern again. I'm making the phone call. I'm leaving the voicemail and I'm sending the email. What does the email say? The email says, Price, I'm so sorry I keep missing you. I very much wanna share this executive briefing with you, and everyone that I've shown it to so far has asked for the decks, so I'll bring you a copy of it printed so you'll have it at the end of that meeting. I will reach you at the same time next week. And if for any reason you need me before then, contact me directly on my cell phone whenever. And whatever time makes sense for you, I'll make it work on my calendar. Anthony, and that's it. I'm letting him know this isn't over. (audience members laugh) And we're still in a game here. Are you gonna take my meeting? Depends. Maybe. To get rid of you. Maybe, just to get rid of me. That will be fine. You're gonna find that's difficult to do, Price. We'll be together for a long time. Yeah, this is the pursuit. Tell them what value you're bringing them. Leave that on their voicemail so they know that you have something to say. How many sales people make the first call, say, I'd like to stop by and introduce myself and my services, get the voicemail and disappear? About 95% of them. So I can ignore you if that's what you do. If your my friend, Bob, from the software company, I know that all I have to do is wait till the end of the call 'cause he says the same thing every time, would it be okay if I checked back with you in a quarter? And I say, that would be lovely, Bob. [Woman In Audience] Or the kids. I've only allowed this to go on so long 'cause it's a great story. At some point Bob hopefully has something where he says, look, everything in your world has changed. You need to do something different, damn it. But he hasn't said that yet. He just continues to call. Most people go away though. But if you show that you're persistent and that you really want their business, and you really have something to offer, then people start to go, okay, I recognize that this is a different kind of person that I'm talking to, that most of the sales people where I say, no, I don't have time, I'm too busy, email me information, they go away. But by persisting and having a plan to nurture the relationships and then persist professionally over time, you end up getting those appointments. That's how it works. It's not your prospect's job to call you back. It's your job to have a professional pursuit plan so that you can nurture that relationship and then eventually win their business.

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.