Anthony Iannarino is the author or multiple best-selling sales books and one of the best sales thinkers I know. Check him out at TheSalesBlog.com. In today’s episode, Anthony and I talk about what the Next Normal for sellers will look like and how to prepare for it. Join us to dive into what it means to sell with a purpose. And why that is so relevant today. As a BONUS, we talk about radical steps we can take to dramatically improve sales manager performance
Andy Paul: Anthony. Welcome back to the show.
Anthony Iannarino: It’s good to be back. How many times have I been on?
Andy Paul: Well, I’m thinking you’re probably five at least.
Anthony Iannarino: It’s gotta be four or five by now.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Sort of like Saturday Night Live and you get like five to get a blazer or something with some, we’ll send you one.
Anthony Iannarino: I’ll take a blazer. That sounds nice.
Andy Paul: The Sales Enablement Blazer. Of course it has to have my name emblazoned all over it, but yeah.
Anthony Iannarino: Can you put it on the inside?
Andy Paul: It’s on the back. It’s like a back tatoo. So where are you sheltering in place?
Anthony Iannarino: I am sheltering at home in Westerville, Ohio, and have been for maybe 60 ish days.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I counted seven weeks for us here in New York City. Seven weeks.
Anthony Iannarino: It’s a long time.
Andy Paul: Yes, lost track of much of the time. We sort of talked about this before we started recording, is I don’t know about you, but we’re working all the time.
Anthony Iannarino: Right. Well, we can now, I mean, the technology allows us to do things that would have been difficult in the past, and they’re not all that difficult to do now, so that we have going for us. Is that the technology allows us to continue to connect with people like this or over video. It’s just much better. My father who’s 76, FaceTimes me every night now. Because he’s bored out of his mind and is isolated.
Andy Paul: Right. I’ve, I’ve watched everything I can on Netflix. Be my entertainment. Well, let’s talk about something sort of following up on that theme is, is, you wrote recently that it’s time to get back to work. So what did you mean by that?
Anthony Iannarino: Well, I, I think that if you work in sales and if you believe that in good times, your job is to go out and help people get better results. Then you have to believe that in bad times you have a duty and a responsibility and an obligation and a charge to keep that says, if, if I can help you, when times are good.
Then I have to be even more valuable in times that are turbulent and where there’s an economic crisis and a global pandemic. And I think it’s time for us to go back and lead. And I know that the economy is going to tank. beyond anything we’ve ever seen, probably in the history of humanity in Q2, but it doesn’t have to be worse than it’s going to be because we sit on the sidelines and decide why I don’t want to bother people right now.
I know they’re really anxious. I know that they’re fearful. And I continue to try to make a point about the difference between empathy and compassion. Empathy means, you know, I’ve walked a mile in your shoes and I understand what you feel like. But compassion is recognizing that your shoes are 3d sizes too small, and then getting you a pair of shoes that actually fit.
So the difference between empathy and compassion in my mind is one of them is theoretical and the other is action oriented. And right now it’s time for salespeople. And I’m not saying that sales is the engine and that the other parts of the company don’t matter and all that other stuff. But we do tend to be on the beginning edge of economic activity for the companies that we work for.
And we help improve the economics of the companies that hire us and buy from us. So if we want to do our part for me, I think the charge for us to keep this to work on the economy. So we’ve got health care workers, including family members from you that are on the frontline of the virus part. We’re not qualified, nor do we understand what we could even do to make a contribution in that world.
But on the second front, the economic front, that’s where we live already. I mean, that’s where we can go and make a difference. And that’s what people should be thinking about is how do I go help my clients turn their business around and recover? Because the only way your business is going to recover, if you help your clients recover their business, that’s just the order that it’s always gone in.
And it’s time for us to get back to work and start doing that.
Andy Paul: Well, I think the thing that I really liked about that is for me, the trick of this idea of selling with a purpose. Sometimes you need a purpose, we all need a purpose to animate our efforts, but for all sellers, pretty much these days. There is this purpose that you talked about is, yeah, we’re sort of a leading edge indicator, not a lagging indicator. A leading edge indicator of economic activity, is we can help people like help our customers get back on their feet.
Anthony Iannarino: That’s right. And I think that there’s a number of value propositions right now that are probably more important. For some of our clients, survival is the value proposition now. So how can you help me survive? Can you help me control my costs? Can you help me find profit? Can you help me generate more revenue? Can you help me with the strategic outcomes that are gonna allow me to survive? So that’s one of them. And then the second one is, you know, I think a lot of people want to get their business back to where it was and they want to make up this time that they lost. And I, I know that they’re looking for ideas about how do we recover faster.
How do we get back what we lost or try to, and I think if you’re paying attention to the stock market, which has been one day up the next day down, there’s been no guidance given beyond this quarter. So the first quarter guidance, but then second quarter, there’s no guidance. And everybody said, we’re giving us guidance for the rest of the year, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to recover their business.
They don’t want to recapture the revenue and that they’re not concerned about their stock price and investors and all those other things. So I think that the value proposition there is going to be strong for many of us to say, we can help you recover. And start getting you back where you were before this thing happened as fast as humanly possible. And that’s what a lot of business owners are going to want to hear.
Andy Paul: Especially, because they also are having that same conversation about how they engage with their customers. This is like a back-to-back conversation, right? To your point about, about the compassion is, is, yeah, I understand how this, how this feels, we’re feeling it too, but you have to go do the same thing to your customers. So we’re part of a chain here.
Anthony Iannarino: Right. And that chain is the economy. I think there’s three reactions, you know, all reptile brain driven. The first one is to decide to freeze and a lot of people when they get this level of stress and anxiety with this kind of a disruption, the first thing that they want to do is just freeze in place and don’t make any decisions that might make it worse in the future.
And when I don’t know what the future, it looks like every decision feels scary to me. So that’s one group of people that you have to help with their concerns because the worst thing that many of them could do would be to freeze. I mean, you have to start taking action on your own behalf.
The second thing is some people take flight. I mean, they, they just try to get away as far away from the problem as they can, because it’s so hard to make sense of. And of all the recessions I’ve been through, this is the hardest one to make sense of because we haven’t had one that was started by global pandemic. So this is a variable that we’re not used to normally we have a couple bad quarters and then we figure it out and we work our way back through, but this isn’t going to be true in this particular one. And then-
Andy Paul: This is not a predictable business cycle.
Anthony Iannarino: Yeah, this is not predictable. And, and, Taleb who are the Black Swan would say it was completely predictable because he did. But for most of us, it wasn’t predictable and certainly not the implications, that we’re experiencing now.
And the last group of people tend to be fighters. And when they get challenged by something like this, they just get very, very aggressive and start taking massive actions on their own behalf. And I think you just have to be aware that you’re going to run into different kinds of people that are in a different place.
And if you want to help them and serve them, then you have to pick them up where they are right now. They may not have already understood and accepted that this is happening. They might still be denying it or wishing it was going to go away. But ultimately you pick them up where they are and you serve them the best that you can based on where they are, you know, psychologically, emotionally and financially.
Andy Paul: Yeah, and I think that’s a great frame to talk about it. Is you have to be in the same timeframe as the buyer. And I think that’s a great way to look at it. I forget whose book I read that in, but. Yeah, it’s a great mindset. Right? Where are you in time? Not everyone is synced up. You need to understand where the buyer is at that point.
Anthony Iannarino: That’s exactly right. And they’re going to be all over the place for a little while. Okay.
Andy Paul: Yeah. And unfortunately, My comment about predictability. It was really not that we couldn’t predict this is going to happen. I agree with, I think we, given that lack of attention, we paid to these things is fairly predictable there’s going to be a pandemic, but the predictability compared to a business cycle. Yeah. You’d give certain stimulus. You have a fairly good sense that yeah. It’s going to end in a certain period of time. We’re here. It’s not so quite so clear.
Anthony Iannarino: I think it’s clear that a therapeutic and without a vaccine, it goes on for longer than we want it to.
Andy Paul: Having impact on the business, as long as it’s doing that.
Anthony Iannarino: For some period.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Interesting. We just had a conversation with chief data science, at Revenue.io, who’s our sponsor here and, yeah, they collect data from millions of phone calls and they found that, call connection rates with buyers are actually up during this, this COVID period in the work from home. And, I thought that was sort of an interesting thing is that it’s like, well, obviously we’re just hypothesizing about why that may be the case, but maybe, and this is true at all levels of titles, actually that they were C-level VPs, Director, so on. Someone is like, now’s a good time to connect. Cause people want to talk.
Anthony Iannarino: Well, it’s, it’s probably multifactorial. I mean, normally it is when you hear some insight like that, but my guess is. I’m at home and I might have a different kind of calendar than I had if I was in an actual office. Number one. And number two, I might be interested in hearing your perspective and learning about what I might be able to do to recover faster and bring my business back and to understand what other choices people are making.
And I think that most, really, really good executive leaders that I know are curious about what they don’t know, and they know that they know that there’s a part of the information that’s available, that they know that they don’t know. So. They they’re looking for this. Where, where am I gonna find perspective?
Where am I going to find some resource that could help me through this and they’re searching. So I think that that would make sense to me that they’re going to engage with more salespeople because they might be able to find the help that they need. And isn’t that just true for us in good times and in bad.
And when they, they start looking for help, they’re looking for somebody, that’s got the ideas that are valuable to them. And we have them most of the time, this one’s a little trickier, but I think when you just think about how do you help people recover, that that answers the question for you. As soon as you have a good theory about that, you’ve got a reason to call.
Andy Paul: And on top of that is to the point you’ve made before, rather than being paralyzed and sitting on your hands is actually, even if the customer’s timeframe is not immediate, if they’re already looking for answers for when they’re ready to move, if you’re making that connection, if you’re building that connection, building a credibility, it’s another reason to make sure you’re calling.
Anthony Iannarino: I’ve been telling people that I think that you make the call now. You engage in the early conversation, recognizing that it may be weeks or months before your prospective client or your client can take action. And it’s simply just because there’s still a lot of things that they have to work out, you know, their businesses struggling or their businesses losing revenue.
And they’ve got people furloughed or laid off or buildings closed. And you still want to go and be proactive and be the one that helps them think about their future. Even if it’s a few months before that opportunity shows up for you. I mean, and that’s true in good times and bad too. Like you’re always calling on your dream clients.
You’re always trying to take them away from your competitor. And this is a time where you can have a, the same sort of view. It might be awhile, but it’s still the right thing to do because the right thing to do is always the right thing to do.
Andy Paul: always the right thing to do. And not do it it’s sort of to engage in a form of market timing. If you will draw that analogy to investing, right.
Anthony Iannarino: Well, the market timing seems to have been very prevalent with email marketers. Like they’ve taken total advantage of this and I don’t know how many more, coronavirus resources I need.
Andy Paul: Yeah, no, I think that, that, yeah, probably after the first few weeks, people are probably pretty Corona-ed out. It’s like, yeah, if you had had a field sales team, you had to transition pretty quickly. Right. And, if you’re still sitting here two months into it and wondering how you’re gonna transition your field team to inside, you’ve got bigger problems.
Anthony Iannarino: And if you have an inside team and they’re in a bullpen together, you have another problem.
Andy Paul: Well, it’s been an interesting transition for, you know, companies that are taking their bullpen. Because the hardest thing I think for people’s are underestimated how oftentimes how much energy and knowledge and insight the team shares, especially in a high growth company, and a lot of excitement, and then suddenly disperse people. It’s a big challenge for managers to sort of maintain that, that sense of togetherness, the spirit, the camaraderie, the exchange of ideas using Slack or whatever, even no matter how good of tools you have.
Anthony Iannarino: I don’t think there’s any substitute for that. I’ve thought this for a long time, what a disservice we do when we take salespeople and they’ve never been around other salespeople, especially really good salespeople, and they’ve not been around people that have really good language and the depth of understanding to have really powerful client conversations, and we put them at home by themselves. And I I’ve always been concerned about that because one of the things that allows the sales person to get better faster is just being around other really good sales people. And listening to them have client conversations and they pick up the language and they pick up the concepts.
And they see it modeled for them. And so when they can see at work, they can pick it up. And I, I worry about the next generation. I don’t know what age group that is right now, but if they are, let’s call it the, they live in the post Corona world or something like that. And they don’t have a chance to be in a bullpen and sit around senior salespeople that have really good chops and a depth of understanding they’re being deprived of that early on. And my experience is if you get that early on, you end up being a really good salesperson because you’ve got it very early and it’s harder to pick up on your own. I mean, you can do a lot of reading and a lot listening to things like this and you can study, but some of it just transfers by sitting next to somebody. And, I’m sorry about talking about transmission sitting next to somebody as well. The wrong way to describe that right now, Andy, you get.
Andy Paul: That’s why people were working home. I thought somebody had asked me about this, this, you know, and I disagree entirely, but this is the new normal, I think people are going to be anxious to get back together for the very reasons you talked about. In sales, being in the bullpen, yeah. That’s way more fun than working on your own.
Anthony Iannarino: Way more fun. I, I reject the idea that this is a new normal, it’s a, it’s a temporary normal, there’s no doubt that we have months, maybe 18 months, something like that, but we are going to get back together and hold people’s hands and, and, hug people and show up at big events where there’s a thousand or more people we’re going to do those things.
It’s going to be a little while, but we’ll get back to that. We never go backwards as a species. You know, know, I have a lot of people, all I know who are conspiracy theorists about vaccines and things like that. And I have to remind them like, you’ve got 18 vaccines. Why do you think you didn’t get the mumps or the measles or polio or tuberculosis? We, we solve these and we’ll solve this one too.
Andy Paul: Speaking as a person who’s oldest brother was one of the last cohorts to contract polio, yeah, vaccines are very important.
This show., you know, we talk about sales enablement, which, which I think is to a point you were just making is as much about self enablement in many respects, you know, in terms of what I’m prepared to do to extend my, my expiration date as a seller, some of which, you know, comes from being in a bullpen with people and exchanging ideas and insights and so on, but also things I can, can do on my own.
So, and this is not about, Hey, this is what you should be doing during the shutdown questions. Right. Just in general, in your mind, what what’s, what’s missing in the equation in terms of what individuals should be doing, sort of the individual contributors, to enable themselves to solve.
Anthony Iannarino: I wrote, I’ve, I’ve written three books and you’ve been nice enough to have me on this. Every time I’ve written a book, I’m writing another book. I’m not, I’m not pitching that yet, Andy, but soon. he first book I wrote was called the only sales guide you’ll ever need and a terribly unfortunate title for a guy with a three book deal.
Andy Paul: I think I gave you a hard time about that.
Anthony Iannarino: I think you did. And I appreciated it cause it’s funny, but the, That that book was about how do you become somebody who people want to buy from? And that that’s the first question that a sales person should ask themselves. And it’s very hard for a new sales person that doesn’t have the right mindset early on to recognize that your sales results are individual.
And the reason that we have a top 20% and a bottom 80% is because some people are better at it than other people. And a lot of it is because of the type of person they are and their character traits and their discipline and their attitude, and their ability to communicate certain things in certain ways.
And the ability to hold themselves up accountable, more than their client will hold them accountable. But when you start to see that and you recognize when people say, well, I lost this deal because my price was higher than my competitor. Yeah. Well, the top five guys on your team has the same pricing structure that you have, so, or you have, and then they say, well, it’s my manager, my ma well, you have the same manager that that guy has. Why is he doing so much better?
And it’s really incumbent upon you. If you want to be great at anything, not just sales, but to take a good look and assess yourself and say, Am I doing the things that I need to do? Am I becoming the kind of person that people are going to want to buy from? Because I’m high insight, high business-acumen disciplined, I’m credible, I’m reliable, I’m trustworthy. I have a sense of intimacy where I understand your business and what it is that you need well enough that I can make. good, decisions on your behalf, or to give you the advice and the counsel that you need to make those decisions. So I think it starts with, you have to develop yourself as a human being, in addition to figuring out what the sales skills are that you need to be successful in that role. But I would put the character traits and what I called mindset at the beginning, because if you get that part, right, it’s a lot easier to begin with.
Andy Paul: Yeah. I think the lot of sellers just don’t understand that the first question they have to answer for the buyer is why you and to your point, and it’s why you not, why your company, why you, and this speaks to everything. You’ve talked about character, values, acumen, you know, all the things that you can bring to help them make the decision why they want to buy from you
Anthony Iannarino: I can tell how, how, successful a salesperson’s going to be early on by how they answer those kinds of questions about, well, why did I lose? My manager didn’t give me the help. My pricing was wrong. My competitor did this thing and it’s always external. And then the people who grow really fast are the people who say, if I could do that over again, I recognize this and I wouldn’t do it this way.
I would do this completely different. I should have. Should have done this differently. And then, because they’re willing to look at themselves and evaluate the decisions that they made, they can make new choices in the future. But if you believe it’s external, then you don’t believe that you have any fault in your loss, but you will certainly be willing to take credit for your wins, and you can’t get better that way.
Andy Paul: No you’re at a dead end at that point. You lack the intellectual humility to acknowledge the fact there’s still things you can learn.
Anthony Iannarino: Right. And thankfully I have a lot to be, humble about when it comes in that regard. Like it’s hard to know a lot of things. So you, you have to work really hard and it takes time and experience. And that’s the part that I think for people, if they want to get better at it, start with yourself.
Andy Paul: Yeah, but the interesting question is because. Yeah, here just recently, I talked to someone saying yeah, about the time and experience, but, but it can’t all just be time and experience. Right. You also don’t invest. I mean, I know you’re an avid reader. You got to read, you got to, you know, actually have to educate yourself beyond just experience.
Anthony Iannarino: I sent an email out this morning about a course that I delivered, and I was just reflecting on what I read early on. And the first thing I read that I changed immediately after reading, it was Spin Selling. And the only part that mattered to me in that book was getting an advance, the commitment to move forward.
Immediately after reading that selling slowed down for me. I mean, I could, I could see what was going on in front of me because I knew I was trying to get a commitment and I knew what that next commitment had to be. And then I read major account sales strategy also by Rakim and a better book in a more important book than Spin Selling in my opinion, immediately, I don’t know if I paid $22 for that book and it takes four hours to read. It’s not a very big book. But I immediately started winning multi-year multimillion dollar deals after reading that book. And it was because I just took action on what I read in that book. And then, Mohan Calsef, Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play. I know, you know, that, that work, after I read that, I realized you can actually be candid and just deal with whatever the client puts in front of you in real time, without any fear or any concern about the repercussions, you can just go ahead and engage in it right then and there and have the conversation. It was completely liberating to read that book and do, to decide, well, I know what they’re concerned about so why don’t I just try to address that concern from them. Instead of trying to find some way around it? Why not just go straight through it? And my results got better immediately. And the reading books, the taking courses, the listening to a podcast like this, you get one insight here that one insight can change your life and it can change your income. And it can change the, your level of success as a salesperson, but you have to be willing to manage yourself first and say, there’s a lot for me to still learn and then become a lifelong learner.
Andy Paul: Right. I love the quote, I’m sure you’ve heard, from Benjamin Franklin, “Experience is a dear teacher, but only full learn from no other.”
Anthony Iannarino: And the great thing about that is, and it’s sales. You get to see everybody else’s mistakes and you get to talk to them about it. If you’re willing to. And if you’re bold enough to say, this is how I lost that deal, then you don’t have to lose it the next time. And if, if somebody loses and they tell you, this is how I lost, then you’ve got a hint as to what you can do different, but you should constantly be working on how do I get better?
Andy Paul: Yeah. I mean, I remember early days when I was in the field listening to tapes, right. And Zig Ziglar tapes and reading Tom Hopkins book, when it first came out, Mastering the Art of Selling and all those things that yeah. Supplemented everything you’d learned, experienced based. So it’s, and I, I thought the two great teachers for me is that reading, and my customers.
Anthony Iannarino: Yeah.
Andy Paul: I felt like my customers taught me how to sell as much as anything else. I may have very distinct memories of three or four or five deals early in my career where the customer just laid it out for me.
Anthony Iannarino: I’ve not only had that, I’ve also had them teach me their business and and help me understand how I was supposed to create value for them. They’re great teachers.
Andy Paul: So I’ve got kind of a wild question for you. This is a topic I’ve been thinking alot about recently is can we just- we spend so much time and effort working with salespeople, but comparatively managers gets our short shrift when it comes to training. I interviewed a guests last week was saying that on average, a manager, and this is not specific to sales, but receives their first training at age 42. And this guy named Peter Economy, it was running a book is a writer for Inc Magazine and has written a book on first time managers. Think about that. So I just probably think is, okay, we spend all this effort sort of talking about sales and sellers, but we still have this problem. I believe that we, we don’t really know how to coach performance. Right. Like I know you’re a big football fan. I’m a big soccer fan. I like football too. But I mean, I think. You know, the coaching staffs have changed so much in the last 15, 20 years where there’s much more emphasis on how do we help these individuals get better? Down nutrition, performance, fitness, skills. We’ve got specialized coaches that help all that. And yet we’re still sort of structured in the way we manage sales and the way we’re for the last a hundred years. I mean, what if we stop training sales people just focused on training the managers.
Anthony Iannarino: We get a lot better, faster. Well, yeah, but you have to remember the starting point of that conversation is almost every sales manager has a battlefield promotion, right. That this person left, guess what your next up, in all they know is what they learned from their managers before. And that manager didn’t have a great manager that had been trained before that. And so all they know is, I mean, I’m going to be hyperbolic here. It’s not all they know, but. A lot of it is more activity is better. And I can’t help you with your effectiveness when you speak to coaching, I can’t help you with the effectiveness because nobody ever really spent a lot of time helping me be effective.
So I’ll just ask you to do more and some people will rise and do well. And that’s great. And then other people won’t and the sales manager’s not prepared to give them the type of coaching that they need to do that. And so my next book is a leadership book. And there’s a coaching framework to it because you do have to have every player on your team, give you their best performance.
And if you don’t know how to coach them and you don’t care about them individually, and you don’t recognize that your job as a leader is to make each person capable of giving you the very best performance. And holding them accountable to that, then you’re, you’re leaving a lot of results, you know, on the cutting room floor.
I mean, you’re just not going to get it from them if you can’t do that. I think if, if you want to find the root cause of most challenges and I’ll share this with you, I had a, a person who called me two weeks ago and said, my salesforce is terrible. I just got here and I picked them up and they haven’t been trained.
And I said, well, that’s not why they’re terrible. And she said, why are the terrible? And I said, because their manager didn’t hold them accountable for being better. The manager didn’t account the hold them accountable for doing the right thing day to day. And they did what was expected of them, which was not much.
And that’s why they’re waiting for RFPs and believing that an RFP is an actual opportunity. And so you can’t blame them. Yeah. We’re poorly led. So if they’re poorly led, it’s not their fault. You got to give them a better leader.
Andy Paul: Exactly. But in addition to the leadership, why do we still expect though the VP of sales or CRO or sales director or whatever, that there will be these master of all trades, right? So, or Jack of all trades, you know, that there are an effective performance coach that, you know, they’re a motivator that they’re, you know, a good manager that, you know, their laundry list of things that we expect them to be, where when you look at other performance activities like sports, we have very specialized coaches for each of those functions.
Anthony Iannarino: It’s because we hired them and put them in a role of leader. And just like we do with sales, we assume that they know what that means and what they’re supposed to do, even though they don’t.
Andy Paul: So where are we feeling? Why aren’t CEOs recognizing, but yeah, we’re just started getting by, on sales or maybe hitting our targets. But if we really treated this like a performance sport, maybe we get better performance across the board and we can grow even faster.
Anthony Iannarino: Of course we can. And it is an individual sport in a lot of ways. I know that there’s a lot of team selling now and that’s really important, but the team’s made up of individuals. And the better the individual is the better their performances. And I struggle with this because my view of the Sandy is that they don’t know how to improve their performance.
They’ve not been trained to be a performance improvement person. They’re a manager. So I’m responsible for making sure that the pipeline is updated, that our forecast is right and 7,400 other things that don’t have anything to do with the individual’s performance. And when I say, you know, these things, three people didn’t make their goal because they didn’t do this thing or that thing, the manager and the leader still responsible for that.
So there’s no way out that except for, they have to become people. I mean, if you want the best performance, Andy, I don’t know what sports you played or if you played any, when you were young, I think you soccer. Okay. So the best coach or teacher you had when you were playing soccer, did not come to you and say, Andy, I’ve recognized that you’re a mediocre talent and I’m not willing to invest any time or energy into you because you’ll never be good at anything. And I’ll leave you alone if you leave me alone. And we’ll just both try to stay out of trouble. How’s that sound?
Andy Paul: That’s my first sales training class.
Anthony Iannarino: I was trying to be hyperbolic, but it turns out I was just telling a story that you already know, but yeah, well that might’ve been true in 1970 or something, but, yeah, it certainly being, Let’s say having a good cognitive intelligence is helpful now isn’t it. As sales has gotten harder, the best leader you ever have is the one that sees something in you that you don’t see in you and then tells you that they expect more from you and that you have to live up to your potential and it makes you uncomfortable and it makes you angry and it makes you upset and unhappy.
But then later on, you’re like, that’s the best leader I ever had because they actually looked inside and saw something in me that I couldn’t see and then help me activate that to become something that I am now that I wouldn’t have been without them. Isn’t that always true?
Andy Paul: Oh, yeah. I mean, I tell the story of when I was first getting into this business, you and I are in, that I wanted to hire a public speaking coach. And I talked to a number and narrowed it down to two and, and chose this one. Patricia Fripp, who is a well known coach, for speakers and, the other person that I was the finalist asked, well, why did you choosem Patricia? I said, because she scared me. You’re going to expect more. It’s going to be hard. so yeah, you gotta walk toward that. Not away from it. Pretty much true all the time. Yeah. All right. So last question for you is, is, and we’ve touched on this a little bit, but been asking number of peoples is, most of those, it’s a series of questions. So the first one is what do you think sales will look like in two or three years? What’s the next normal?
Anthony Iannarino: So the long arc is trending in one direction and it’s been trending in this direction for as long as you and I I’ve been playing this game, Andy, and that is a greater value creation. So you have to be more consultative. You have to have deeper insight. You’ve got to have much greater accountability, and you’re going to have to look and sound like somebody who belongs on my team. So I think, I think the more transactional you are. And the more that you believe that your product is what people are trying to buy or your service or your solution or whatever it is, the harder it’s going to be to sell. And the more that you understand that you’re supposed to help people get better outcomes and you focus on strategic outcomes, the better you’re going to do.
But I think it’s just going in that direction without any chance of turning around specifically, because if all you can do is the same thing that an Amazon page does, I can just go to Amazon.
Andy Paul: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you, and I’ve talked about this in the past. And another conversation we’ve got to have is about the requirement for business acumen and sellers, which, you know, companies don’t teach. You expect people to sort of learn this on their own. But yeah, I think the S the, of, I call it financial illiteracy business literacy we have among sellers is a major problem.
Anthony Iannarino: I’m trying to cure it by telling them to just pay for a subscription to Sirius XM. And when you get up in the morning, Just watch or listen to Sqwak Box. I mean, just listen to CEOs, talking about their business, listen to them talk about what investors expect from them. Listen to them, talk about what they think the economy is going to do and why and how they’re making projections and decisions.
You can get a world-class MBA type education from just listening to CNBC. And there’ll be some politics there, which I try to avoid. But they won’t be like a Fox News or an MSNBC or CNN kind of politics. It’ll just be about, what’s the repercussions of the PPP legislation. That’s going to give all business people money and how much money in, in, what do you expect to happen when people get this money? And that’s all very, very useful, practical, tactical stuff that’s going on in real time. If you’re willing to pay attention to it.
Andy Paul: Yeah, I think that’s a great suggestion. I tell people, subscribe to the wall street journal. That’s how I learned when I first started my dad, one piece of advice, when I started my career as subscribed to the wall street journal.
Anthony Iannarino: I’m still subscriber now.
Andy Paul: You still am today. Yeah. Decades later. Read it online now, but, but nonetheless, right. It’s it’s you learn so much just going through that. It’s happening in business. And you know, if you’re in sales and you don’t know how to read a financial statement, you know, you can’t read a profit and loss, can’t read a business, a balance sheet. You got to fix that. You can’t understand who you’re selling to. If you don’t understand how they make money.
You’re you, you can listen to just about any earnings call. That you want to, if you’re listening or selling to a publicly traded company, you can read their filings and understand what they think the risks are and what they think they need to do to succeed. You just have to be curious. That’s the, my, my one sort of, area where I’m, I’m sort of disappointed with salespeople is like, you’re not curious about it.
If you were curious about it, you would understand that. What’s going on on CNBC Sqwak Box in the morning is exactly the same thing that you watch on Game of Thrones, just without swords.
Yeah. Well, yeah, well, that’s, that’s why I encourage people is when you, when you hear the term sales enablement, think about it and translate it into self enablement, right. How am I enabling myself to achieve these things?
Anthony Iannarino: That’s right.
Andy Paul: All right. Two last questions. Easy ones. What book are you reading right now?
Anthony Iannarino: Oh, I’m reading right now at this moment. I’m reading Umberto Echoes, War of the Rose, a fiction book that I never read, but, I’m a fan of his thinking. And, I decided to read that I just finished before that Wolf Hall. And before that The Splendid and the Vile by Eric Larson on Churchill’s first year as prime minister, right as Germany starts bombing them.
Andy Paul: That’s his newest one, right?
Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. Wonderful book for this time.
Andy Paul: Yeah. He’s a great storyteller. Gonna pick that one off and just read something about that. Alright. Last question. What’s the one habit you want to break?
Anthony Iannarino: Hmm. What habit do I want to break? I don’t know if I have a habit I want to break right now. Maybe I just like my habits, Aandy, I given up so many things like, I don’t look at social media on my phone, you know, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve gotten rid of so many things that I thought were detrimental to my focus. I’ll okay. So here’s the one I have one. It took me a minute to get to it. I write a blog post every single day. That’s not a habit that I want to break, but I do better when I have the content plan, designed a week ahead of time. Then when I wake up and start writing. I’m more efficient and more intentional if I spend time Saturday. So occasionally I miss Saturdays on putting a plan together. And then the rest of my week doesn’t feel good. So I need to break that habit of missing, the time that I need to put a content plan together,
Andy Paul: Good thing the Ohio State University is not playing football right now. So you have Saturdays free.
Anthony Iannarino: My Saturday might be free, but look, I’m telling you if, if we don’t have football, we riot. This is important.
Andy Paul: I guess, I guess. Yeah. I’m not a part of about football, but yeah. Soccer, the real football play with their feet.
Anthony Iannarino: Right.
Andy Paul: That one, that one. Yeah. I went into serious withdrawal when they stopped playing and very anxious for it to come back.
Anthony Iannarino: I’m anxious for everything to come back. I want to go to a place where they will bring me a steak and then come and pick the plate up and take it away from me.
Andy Paul: Yeah. I had that vision yesterday, but it was a big hamburger, but same thing.
Anthony Iannarino: Same thing.
Andy Paul: Yeah. All right, Anthony, as always fabulous talk with you, how can people connect with you and learn more about what you’re doing?
Anthony Iannarino: Best place to find me is thesalesblog.com and to sign up for the Sunday newsletter. That’s my best work every week,
Andy Paul: Yeah. Read your blog too. How many blog posts now?
Anthony Iannarino: 4,000.
Andy Paul: 4,000. Think about that 4,000. If you want a good source of probably well thought out reasonable, rationa advice about sales and success in sales, then check out Anthony’s blog. All right, Anthony. Thank you
Anthony Iannarino: to hear your voice, Andy.
Andy Paul: Likewise.