088 How to Increase Sales Performance and Steal the Show During Pitches with Anthony Iannarino

088 How to Increase Sales Performance and Steal the Show During Pitches with Anthony Iannarino

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You sell boats.

Or maybe you don’t sell boats.

It doesn’t matter what you sell for the sake of this episode, but you certainly would love to increase your sales. International sales leader and author of a new book The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need Anthony Iannarino provides applicable tips to increase your performance.

Iannarino is a speaker, author, and entrepreneur. As a business leader, he is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a consulting firm focused on helping sales organizations grow.

In this episode we discuss how to:

  • Make the sale, achieve your objective, and be authentic the same time. (5:14)
  • Prepare for productive sales presentations. (22:55)
  • Identify what kind of personalities tend to be more successful in sales. (38:58)

Find out more about Anthony Iannarino and his upcoming events.

00:01 Michael Port: Welcome to Steal the Show with Michael Port. This is Michael. Today’s guest is Anthony Iannarino, and he’s a speaker, author, and entrepreneur. He’s the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy. And he also owns part of his family’s staffing business, a company he has grown from three million to 45 million with a, get this, a sales force of six people. Yeah. He teaches professional selling, persuasive marketing, and social media marketing at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. He also has a Law degree and he attended Harvard Business School completing their owner, president, manager, executive, education. He has worked for and spoken to global giants like Accenture, Abbott Laboratories, Net Jets, Toro, and CH Robinson. Anthony’s first book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, will be published by Portfolio Penguin Random, October 2016. What makes Anthony unique is that he still sells. He still owns sales organizations. He’s not someone who only knows theory, he’s actually also a practitioner. What’s up, Anthony?

01:16 Anthony Iannarino: Hey, how are you?

01:17 Michael Port: I’m great, how are you?

01:18 Anthony Iannarino: I’m wonderful.

01:19 Michael Port: Let’s talk about your son first.

01:22 Anthony Iannarino: Yeah.

01:24 Michael Port: Congratulations. He just got into college.

01:25 Anthony Iannarino: He did get into college and in part, thanks to Amy’s coaching. He is an actor, which I know resonates with you, and he spent the summer going through some training with Amy as well as doing some live classes here. And she helped him mostly get into Shakespeare. And so, he ended up doing a monologue from Hamlet and just blew everybody away. I mean, at 17 years old. First, he understands what he’s saying, so that’s surprising…

[chuckle]

01:56 Anthony Iannarino: To grown-ups that they’ve got a 17-year old kid in front of them who gets that. And then, just his ability to get into that character and to deliver the emotions moved everybody that saw him. So, that was instrumental.

02:10 Michael Port: Oh, that’s fantastic. That’s so great to hear. And you, of course, have a new book coming out on October 16th, I think.

02:18 Anthony Iannarino: 11th.

02:19 Michael Port: October 11th.

02:20 Anthony Iannarino: Always a Tuesday.

02:22 Michael Port: Yeah, you know that’s true, always a Tuesday. I don’t know why.

02:25 Anthony Iannarino: I don’t either.

02:26 Michael Port: My books have always come out on Tuesdays also. It’s The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need.

02:31 Anthony Iannarino: That’s kind of an arrogant title, isn’t it?

02:32 Michael Port: Yeah, I know, but I like it. I do. So, I actually wanna talk about sales a lot today if that’s okay.

02:39 Anthony Iannarino: I love it.

02:40 Michael Port: Figuring you’re the expert on this. Years ago, I wrote a book on sales, but I don’t know. [chuckle] You, my friend, are the one that should be teaching sales. And I wanna address it because as Shakespeare said, “All the world’s a stage.”

03:00 Anthony Iannarino: True.

03:01 Michael Port: And sales presentations are called presentations for a reason. And sales professionals often get a bad rep, they get a bad rep as being phony, or fake, or pushy. And the phony or fake are the two words that concern me most because we don’t buy from people that are phony or fake, and people often think that performance is phony or fake, and performance is not about fake behavior. Performance is manufactured, is authentic behavior in a manufactured environment. And these sales presentations are manufactured. You know, there’s five people sitting at a table, you’re on the other side of the table, and you’re presenting this idea to them, or this product to them, and you need to get them to say yes. So, you have an objective that you need to accomplish. So, what do you think? When you teach sales, do you address this issue of presentation?

04:02 Anthony Iannarino: All the time. And what you said there that I think is an underestimated truth, is that when you’re presenting, you’re not trying to manipulate somebody, you’re not trying to get something over on somebody, you’re not doing this to them. You’re doing this for them and with them. So, you must be vulnerable and you have to be authentic. I just did an ad for my podcast on heroic public speaking. You are so authentic, and so vulnerable, and so great on stage. I learned a ton from watching you. Except it made me feel bad as a speaker watching you speak.

[chuckle]

04:35 Anthony Iannarino: But it’s this conveyance of emotion, right? And it has to be real. It can’t be something that’s manufactured because people can see through that. They can see that you’re really saying something that isn’t exactly true or not real for you, and I think the most important thing in that presentation… People in sales get all kinds of bad advice. They’re told, “You’re supposed to be doing a Ted style talk.” But you’re not supposed to be doing a Ted style talk. You’re not gonna talk for 17 minutes and then walk off the stage and not have a conversation. You’re giving a performance because you are trying to have a conversation about how do you change, what are the right answers for you, and where are we gonna go together.

05:14 Anthony Iannarino: But what I see people do, Michael, that is the problem is that they don’t treat it like it’s a performance at all. They go in and they’re just in, “I’m at work, so I’m gonna put my work face on and I’m gonna go in and I’m gonna say that things that I’m supposed to say. And I’m supposed to talk about my company’s history and I’m supposed to show my logos and I’m supposed to talk about what differentiates us from our competitor.” And it doesn’t have the impact that it’s supposed to have because they don’t really put themselves in the role of, “I’m a presenter, and I have to convey this emotion, and I am performing.” I am performing when I present. And that’s the starting point for thinking about what we do in sales presentations.

05:53 Michael Port: And there’s that word, role. That they’re playing this role, they’re putting themselves in this role, this authentic role. Why do some people embrace this so easily, so naturally? And why do some folks in sales take that other approach that you just articulated, where they’re not as connected? Do they not wanna make sales in the way that the other folks who do this well do? What’s the difference?

06:20 Anthony Iannarino: The difference, and I’ll share just personally because your work has helped me. And I will make it to a Heroic public speaking event when I’m not speaking when you have the event, so we need to coordinate our schedules in the future.

06:33 Michael Port: Will do.

06:33 Anthony Iannarino: But what it is, is, it’s this fear of being authentic. It’s this fear of sharing that, and so people put up the walls. And I imagine you see this all the time, and I’m sure you saw it when you were acting and when you were going through your training as an actor. They put up this wall because I can’t show that emotion, I can’t be vulnerable, and I’m supposed to be being professional. But that’s not really what connects with people, what connects with people is when you’re real and you’re true and you’re authentic because that means then they’re allowed to be authentic too. And now we’re sharing in this presentation together, and we have this connection where we’re going to be able to connect and talk about these big changes and the big outcomes that we’re trying to get when we sell. The first thing is you have to be willing to be vulnerable, and share that fear, and you really have to let your hair down. I’m saying let the hair down while you and I are talking to each other, if we had hair we could do that.

[laughter]

07:25 Michael Port: Yeah.

07:25 Anthony Iannarino: If you will let that out, then they can be free, and you can have a much more effective presentation, and a much better connection.

07:35 Michael Port: So, let me ask you this. When we think about actors on the stage, we want them to manipulate us. I mean, that’s where we’re going, we wanna feel something, we wanna experience something different than we did before we walk in the room. They do it by being honest, that’s what people don’t often realize. The most honest actors are the best actors in the world because what they’re experiencing on the stage is real for them. They don’t think that they are that character actually, they’re not insane. But they’re allowing themselves to have real feelings, and they let you see that, they let you into that. And you want them, and you want that show to manipulate you, that’s what you’re going for.

08:25 Michael Port: I watch a TV show because I want to be thrilled and excited on the edge of my seat. But the difference when we have a sales professional, is that we’re afraid that they’re trying to manipulate us, and we’re afraid that they’re going to be acting in such a way that they are being false. That’s one of the hardest things to overcome because even if you really like the sales professional, even if you want the thing that they’re selling, there’s always this nagging thing in the back of your mind going, “Am I getting a good deal? Am I getting ripped off? How do I know? Is he really telling me the truth? Is that what he really thinks?” Is there a way to overcome that?

09:08 Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. There is, but I have to talk about something else first. The first thing is, we have this conflict, this paradox internally, we wanna be seduced, right? We want to.

09:20 Michael Port: Yes. Yes.

09:20 Anthony Iannarino: When you go get a new phone, you wanna be seduced.

09:23 Michael Port: You know what? It’s so true.

09:24 Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. And we…

09:26 Michael Port: Let me just speak to that exact, because I wanna give a great example of this. Last week as we were discussing before the show, my boat caught on fire and sunk. It was a new boat, it was a wonderful boat, beautiful boat, and it sunk. It’s devastating. However, I’m gonna order another boat from the same people who sold me that boat, and I’ll have a new boat in four to six months, it takes a while to build it. But when I bought this boat, I wanted this boat so badly. I wanted this boat a year and a half before I bought it, and I met the owner of the dealership a year and a half before I bought it. And I said to him, “Listen, I would love to buy this boat. But it’s not gonna happen now.”

10:09 Michael Port: Man, did that guy keep in touch with me. He was persistent, he was always right there, just like he didn’t stop, because he knew I wanted him to sell me that boat. And for me, it was just a matter of time, and I don’t know what it was that triggered me to say, “You know what? Finally, I’m doing it.” It wasn’t that I had so much more money at that time than the other time, it just for whatever reason that day, I said yes. But I wanted him to sell me that boat, and if he had stopped contacting me, I would’ve felt rejected. It’s so true. You call up a place and you wanna buy something and they don’t call you back, I feel like, “What? They don’t want my money?” I don’t understand. Do they not like me? You feel rejected. I want them to sell me the thing I want, it’s so true.

11:01 Anthony Iannarino: It is, but at the same time, we’re cautious because I still need to know I’m getting a good deal.

11:05 Michael Port: Yeah.

11:06 Anthony Iannarino: And we have to be authentic. But here’s the thing that will flip the switch, if you are in a situation where you’re required to sell, the biggest thing that’s gonna subtract from trust, and all relationships are built on trust, even commercial relationships, is your egocentrism or your self-orientation. If it’s about you, and if you talk about you, and you talk about what you need next, and what’s in it for you in any way shape or form, you immediately start sewing the seeds of doubt in your audience’s mind in a sales presentation. The more it’s about you, the less it’s about them. What we wanna know is, you’re here to help me get what I want. And I want you to seduce me and show me that I can have everything that I want, and more than I even thought possible. That’s what I want in the sales presentation. The formula that I teach people is I start with your current state. Right now, Michael, your current state is you had a boat that burned down and you need another boat.

[chuckle]

12:03 Anthony Iannarino: Your future state is, that boat was pretty good, it was a good boat, but there’s a few things that you probably want now that you’ve had that boat that you didn’t have on that boat, so I wanna show you a better future state, right?

12:13 Michael Port: Dude first of all, let me just tell you you’re brilliant, ’cause that’s exactly right.

12:17 Anthony Iannarino: Yeah, it happens, you’re not downgrading here, we’re moving up a notch.

12:20 Michael Port: No, no that’s exactly right.

12:23 Anthony Iannarino: Which is the argument I have with my Mercedes dealership. Every time I take my car in for service they give me the same model I’m driving, and I’m like, “You’re the dumbest sales people I’ve ever met.”

[laughter]

12:32 Anthony Iannarino: You’re supposed to give me one model up, so that I start to feel the pain of not having this model…

12:37 Michael Port: It’s so true.

12:38 Anthony Iannarino: And they don’t get it, but we then wanna know how can this be possible, what’s the solution? “Well Michael, this boat’s gonna be a little bit more, but you can clearly afford it and we’re gonna do these other things… ” And then what are the milestones? Milestones you’re gonna come in, we’re gonna do some design work together, we’re gonna look at it, we’re gonna make sure it’s exactly right, then we’re gonna start production, and your gonna come at this stage, and we show ’em how to get there. And that’s what the sales presentation is, it’s not at all about us, it’s about you, and if you wanna influence people, help them get what they want. And we think, mistakenly, if we tell them, “Well, let me tell you about where our offices are located,” all the old white guys on our board of directors that have these rich histories, nobody cares about that, they care about what they want.

13:20 Michael Port: Yes, yes, and yes. Sometimes it surprises me, especially… Let’s take the yacht industry… Sometimes it surprises me because there’s a lot of money in the yacht business and you’d think that they have phenomenal marketers and great sales people, and I was looking at some brochures from some other brands considering, “Well, should I switch brands, my boat did catch on fire. [chuckle] Maybe I should try another brand.” And you download the brochure, the brochure’s about the history of the boat building company, and the founders, you know what? On the front end, when I’m just looking at the boat, I don’t really care about the history of the company. Now if I’m gonna buy this boat, I’m gonna look at the service records, I’m gonna look at the dealership history, I’m gonna look at some of those things, but not on the front end.

14:16 Anthony Iannarino: Right.

14:17 Michael Port: I wanna know so many other things that have nothing to do with them and all to do with me and how I’m gonna experience that particular vessel.

14:29 Anthony Iannarino: That is a sales process problem. So this is the technical sales geek stuff that most people don’t know, but what it is, is that, the beginning of the process, people don’t buy something until they have a problem worth-solving. So, when your boat burns down, you now having a problem worth-solving. And then they start to recognize what are my needs, and they start to say, “What do I really have to have?” And so, that’s the stage where you go out and you start doing some exploring, and then you start to look at options, everybody starts to look at, “What are my choices? What could I do?”

15:00 Anthony Iannarino: And then at the end, I have concerns. That happens at the end, not at the beginning. So, the question of, “Can I trust you? Has a company been around a long time? Do you have a good service record?” All those things are late, so when they give them to you at the beginning, it doesn’t match with what your needs are as a buyer. And everything that we do in selling, and presenting is about serving them where they are. So, you’re at the stage where you’re exploring, “I wanna see what I look like in this boat,” I need you to give me the experience and the feel of being in there, what is that gonna be like, that’s the stage that you’re at and when they’re trying to give you the proof, “Hey trust us, our service is great,” we’re not there yet. First I have to know what this is even gonna look like.

15:38 Michael Port: I’m gonna write down something, ’cause I have two things I wanna ask you and I don’t wanna forget them they just came to mind. Okay, one is about personality. I wanna get to that in a minute, and yours. And then the other is on the boat, because when I was looking at some other brands, I know what my budget is because I know what the insurance company is gonna give me, and my wife and I agreed, sure, of course, it’s always fun to get more stuff, but we’re not going out of pocket. We just bought this boat in December, we took a delivery in March, this was a new one, so we’re not gonna spend more money, we’re gonna be sensible about it, we don’t really need anything else. We’re just gonna replace this, couple option changes, but that’s about it. And when I was looking at these other brands I needed to know if they fit my budget, these particular vessels, and I know what the range is gonna be, but some of these brands were brands I hadn’t explored before. So I called up one of the dealers and I said, “Listen, I’m interested in the Absolute 60 and I wanna know the listed price,” ’cause I wanna know if it’s in my budget. And he didn’t really wanna give me the price.

16:56 Anthony Iannarino: Right.

16:56 Michael Port: He wanted to talk about a whole bunch of other things first, and I get that, and I’ve certainly heard, “Don’t let anybody know the price, go through the features and benefits first,” but in this day and age, for me, I don’t wanna waste his time, I don’t wanna waste my time. If the boat is $600,000 more than I wanna spend, well I’m not gonna buy it. So what do you think about that? What should one do when the first question is, well, “How much does it cost?”

17:30 Anthony Iannarino: First off, I think if I were selling you the boat, we’d find a way to spend $600,000 more. I think we could do that.

[chuckle]

17:36 Anthony Iannarino: We’d be looking at a different boat. The reason he does that is he’s afraid he’s gonna scare you off with the price. So, he’s afraid if he discloses the price, and it really doesn’t make sense not to disclose at least the range of the price, because when I won’t tell you, now I just have to assume it’s way more than I thought it was. So, when I can’t even tell you the price then I think, “Wow that must be crazy more than I thought it was, ’cause they won’t even tell me.” The right answer in that is to say, “Michael, here’s the deal. This one that you’re looking at, that you’re talking to me about right now is somewhere between a million two and a million six depending on how we’re gonna outfit it for you on what you want. Is that in the range or would you like to look at something else?”

18:17 Michael Port: Yeah, makes sense to me.

18:17 Anthony Iannarino: Then you get at least some idea to say, “Okay, I’m looking at my options and now I’ve got a choice.” And so, as a speaker, you don’t hide your price from anybody. You tell them right up front. Here’s what my keynote fee is. And it’s because you know you’re gonna deliver that value and then they know and I’m sure you have the more people say, “We don’t really have a budget for that.” And you say, “Well, let me find you somebody who can speak for $5000,” Or whatever is their budget.

18:45 Michael Port: Yep. That’s exactly right.

18:45 Anthony Iannarino: And that’s the right way to handle that.

18:49 Michael Port: Yeah, I’ve always liked that, well, it’s in this range. I think sometimes, they get nervous about that because then you focus on that lower and you say, “Okay, well, that means I’m not gonna spend more than x ’cause that was the lower range.” And then they don’t have as much negotiation room as a result. A little bit different I think when you sell services because services can range depending on number of different factors. A little bit different than say a list price on a boat or a car or some other type of high value, high ticket product.

19:24 Anthony Iannarino: That’s right. And different levels of that can be created.

19:25 Michael Port: And of course, what they did say is, they did gave me a rate sheet on it and showed me what the cost is. But they said, “We would be extremely aggressive in pricing it.” Which means we’ll take a whole ton of money off it. But, of course, I knew that they can’t get to where I wanna go just knowing the boat industry. And I think a lot of times, they deal differently with different people based on how much you know about the industry. So, if I came in not knowing anything about the industry, not knowing about the different brands and where they’re priced and what the bill quality is, etcetera, they may treat me differently because I know that if it’s priced at x, there’s no way they’re gonna be taking y off because it’s not done that way. It just wouldn’t happen. So, I think, how do we figure out at the beginning of the process how much somebody knows about the industry or this particular product or how much research they have or haven’t done? What kind of assumptions should we make or can we make? How do we start that process off so we make sure that we’re playing the right role in that situation for that particular buyer?

20:43 Anthony Iannarino: You’ve got to ask. And the reason that they don’t want to disclose some of that is because they know that they have an advantage by a lack of information parity. I know things Michael doesn’t know. So, because I know that, I can probably get him to pay more than somebody who’s sophisticated and knows more about buying boats. And since you bought boats before you’re sophisticated and I know where the bogey is for them, so I know what they can or can’t do. The way to find out what somebody knows is to ask him directly. One of the best things that you can do in any kind of a sales situation, regardless of what you’re doing, whether it’s the work that you and I do as speakers or in some other role, is to just ask them. What have your budget’s been in the past? What are the outcomes that you’re looking for? What’s the investment that you’re going to make in this particular program? And find out and have you looked at other options? What’s appealed to you? And you just try to figure out what they know.

21:35 Anthony Iannarino: And honestly, the way that you create value for people in that process is by teaching them. By sharing with them, “Look, you’re gonna see a price, for me as a speaker, or you’re gonna see other speakers, or you’re gonna see a price for this boat and I just wanna explain to you what the difference is because you’re gonna see prices that are all over the map and I’m gonna show you what the difference is and what tradeoffs you’re making.” And that’s the thing that we help people do. We help them figure out what’s the right option for them and what tradeoffs do you make if you wanna move downstream, or in your case, if you wanna move upstream. How do I help you make a better investment?

22:06 Michael Port: I have my question written here so I’m gonna get to that second question. But I have to ask. When somebody calls up, say a speaker or a boat salesman or whomever, it’s usually with people who sell services that they run into this problem. They call him up and say, “Listen I’m interested in knowing about your service and how much it costs and what we do?” Then the next 15 minutes, that person who is selling the thing just talks.

22:41 Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. [chuckle]

22:42 Michael Port: And who knows what’s gonna come out of their mouth. They try… They don’t even know what’s gonna come out of their mouth. And ultimately, those don’t typically go very well. I imagine you’d agree?

22:55 Anthony Iannarino: Yes.

22:55 Michael Port: So, then on the other hand, on the flipside, sometimes you talk to somebody who’s selling something and this is usually when something online, like you’re dealing with the software subscription or something or AT&T, the phone, they’re going through a script. And you feel disrespected because they’re going through this random script and it’s clear that you don’t wanna go in the direction that they’re trying to go but the script says, that’s where they have to go. So, they keep saying the same darn thing and you’re like, “Hello, listen to me, I said I do not want that, I want this.” And then, I’m sorry. It’s almost like I want one of them to just say, “I’m sorry I have a script, I have to read the script.” This is one someday, someone would just break down and say that. So, what should we be doing? How rehearsed, how much preparation should we be giving to sales conversations? And how well should we know our lines?

24:00 Anthony Iannarino: You should know your line just the same way that you would know him as a speaker or an actor. I mean, you should never be surprised by what comes out of your mouth. And we’ve all done it. You’ve probably done it on stage more, I would say, because you know your lines so well that you can ad lib and you’re not gonna lose anything because you know where you are. But I see sales people where they say something and they look as surprised as the customer that they said what they said. They didn’t know that they were gonna say that, and it didn’t come out right because it wasn’t rehearsed. I think that in a presentation or even if you’re talking about a script like that, and I’ll tell you a true story.

24:35 Anthony Iannarino: The very first phone call I ever made, I was 19 years old. I went in to my family staffing business and they gave me a script and it was all on index cards with a little tab, so you could flip to whatever objection you’re gonna get from the customer. And the very first call I made, I asked for an appointment and the customer said, “No,” and I went immediately to the objection and I read him the script right off the index card. And I literally read it and it was clear I was reading it. And he said, “Listen, call me back when you don’t need a script.” And he hung up the phone. That was the very first call I made.

25:08 Michael Port: That was your first call?

25:09 Anthony Iannarino: The first call.

25:10 Michael Port: Oh, my God.

25:11 Anthony Iannarino: So, it was my mom and her business partner’s business. And I called them on the phone and I said, “This guy just hung up on me ’cause I’m reading a script.” And they said, “Just call him back and ask him again.” And I’m like, “I just had this guy hang up on me. I got to call him back?” And I called him back and I said, “Listen, it’s my first day on the job. You’re the very first call I’ve ever made. And I only need the script ’cause I really have no idea what I’m doing.” And he said, “Okay, come and see me.”

25:36 Michael Port: Oh, my God. That’s fantastic.

25:37 Anthony Iannarino: And I was like, “Wow, this works pretty well, just call him back.”

25:41 Michael Port: Just call him back for the next 40 years, “This is the first day on the job for me. I just was reading the script, so will you still talk to me, please?” [laughter]

25:51 Anthony Iannarino: That was just his personality, and it was the luck of the draw. But the very first thing is you need to be rehearsed, but just like what you teach and what you do, they don’t need to know that it’s not your first time saying it. They need to feel like it is the first time you said it. And before I took a real public speaking… I’m making this an ad for your programs but I’m happy to do that ’cause the value is so great. I used to say, “Practice,” and now I say, “Rehearse,” which means stand up, present in the kind of environment that you’re gonna present in. And do it with the same energy.

26:23 Anthony Iannarino: And if you expect to get really tough questions, have somebody sit there and just interrupt you and pepper you with the questions. Because then when it happens in real life, you’ve already felt it, and you’ve already have the emotional part of it that you’ve broken through and you’re okay standing there dealing with it. And when sales people get ambushed and they’re unprepared for the question that they are afraid of being asked, which they’re already afraid of it, so you know what the question is. Then they’re stumped and they destroy the sales presentation. They lose all credibility.

26:54 Michael Port: When we work with sales professionals on the performance side effects… See, you have processes and systems for selling and you, I’m sure, work on the performance side as well. We don’t so much say, “Well, here’s how you overcome that objection.” We focus on how one performs when they get the rejection. Because I believe, and I’d love to get your theory on this, that the way that sales person behaves and interacts is often even more important than what they actually say. Their physical interaction, their presence, the way that they look when they’re responding to questions that are absurd.

27:45 Michael Port: If you have a look on your face that does not bode well for the way that… It does not suggest that you are very pleased with the questions they’re answering, that’s not gonna bode well for your future as a salesperson. So being able to manage yourself physically and emotionally during that process is what we focus on because that’s what an actor knows how to do. So, talk to me about that. I’ll give you an example of somebody who made, I thought, a grave mistake. And I told ’em when we were… ‘Cause I was car shopping, and when you go car shopping or boat shopping or any of that kind of shopping, you spend time with the sales person. And so, of course they ask you what you do, and I told him.

28:33 Michael Port: So then, he starts asking me questions. “Well, how am I doing?” I was like, “Well I got to tell you… ” So he was very tall. I’m 5’10”, he was about 6’4″ and he had very long legs. And when we would walk out to look at a car on the lot, he would outpace me. So, I ended up being 15 feet, sometimes 20 feet behind him trying to keep up with him. And I said, “That part of your performance would get a lot of rotten tomatoes because you’re ahead of me, as the customer to keep up with you, the customer is looking at your back. I mean, that’s really a very disconnected way to physically interact with a customer.”

29:25 Michael Port: He said, “I never thought about that. People tell me I walk fast all the time.” I said, “How did you not think about this? I don’t understand it.” He’s like, “I don’t know. I never did.” I said, “Okay. I guess that’s why I do what I do because I see these things always, just all the time.” And he said from the next time I saw him he said, “You know what? Now, I match the pace of the person who I’m walking with.” And I said, “Beautiful. That’s part of your performance.” And he said, “It’s made a difference.” He feels different in the way he’s interacting with them. And then he said, “And it’s interesting that now that I match my pace with them, I started to feel that the way that I speak is influenced by the way they speak. So, I’m starting to match their rhythms.” And it’s not some NLP technique kind of thing, it’s just that he started to feel that he connected more with them because he was paying more attention to them in the way they moved, in the way they spoke. And as a result, he felt more connected to them which of course develops much better relationship.

30:33 Anthony Iannarino: It’s a great metaphor for how we serve the buyer or our prospect where they are. You need to make sure that you’re matching their pace and that they’re coming along with you the whole way and when we get out in front of people more far down the line, so we think we’re ready to present, we’re ready to ask for the business and they’re pace is behind us, they’re like, “You know what? I still have questions. I’m still not sure, I don’t know if I’m getting a good deal here, I’m not sure it’s the right thing for me.” But it’s a great metaphor for that because that’s what sales people do, they just outpace people. And I know what the next answer is, I know what the solution is, you probably do too and people… I would just say this in your work when somebody comes in and they need help as a speaker, you can probably see it on them in seconds. But you still need to go through dial up, right? To help them get there.

31:18 Michael Port: Yeah but I need one or two seconds, yeah of course. Of course, absolutely. So how do you know what the right time is to make that offer or… I mean how do you know what else they need so that you don’t outpace them?

31:37 Anthony Iannarino: You check. You just check. You ask directly and this is the thing that if you know where they are in the process, if you can see their evaluating options. You can say to them, “Do all of these options make sense, do you need to see more options in this, do you understand the trade-offs, do you have any other questions that I can answer for you? And you check and if they say, “You know what? I’m still not sure I saw what I wanted to see.” “Okay, well then let me show you more.” You ask. The big one that a lot of people make a mistake on is everybody has fear at the end of… And you, I don’t know how much fear you have, but you have some fear after you buy a boat. So, you’re buying a boat from the same manufacturer, so some part of you is going…

32:12 Michael Port: Is it gonna burn down again?

[laughter]

32:15 Anthony Iannarino: Exactly so you’ve got this big fear, “I’m gonna spend this money. Am I gonna have another boat burn down?” Because that would be not good. And we think that. So, at the end you have to say, “Michael listen, I know you’re buying another boat from us and I know you’re concerned about something happening to the boat, so I wanna make sure I address all those concerns for you. So, here’s what we’re gonna do to make sure that doesn’t happen again and here’s how we’re gonna make sure that you’re comfortable with this. Is there anything else that you need in order to be 100% comfortable ordering this boat?” And then if you’re not, you can say, “You know what? I’m still uncomfortable with this.” Well as a salesperson, I get a chance to say, “What would help you feel more comfortable about that?” And then you can tell me, “What I’d really need is… ” and I can help you get that. But we don’t stop to do that because we’re afraid if I say, “Michael do you have any concerns?” And you share them, that’s a negative right? Michael’s got concerns. Yeah, but if I let him go home and sit by himself with those concerns, the only counsel he has is himself. And he’s going, “You know what? I’m not really sure. What should I do? I dunno, maybe I should look at some other boats?” But if I asked you to share them with me, I can give you information.

33:17 Michael Port: Even worse, the counsel that the buyer or potential buyer may have may be a husband or a wife or a parent or a friend and they may be skeptical of the purchase. They may not understand anything about it. Sometimes, someone wants to come say, to our graduate school for public speaking which is a longer term comprehensive training program and it’s the only one that exists from what we can tell. So, it’s not something that people are familiar with. If you said, “Listen, I wanna go to Harvard to study to be a doctor,” you’d go, “Oh yeah, I know what that is, that seems like a sensible thing to do.” Although actually becoming a doctor today may not be as professionally sensible as it once was. But it’s an unknown so if that person goes home with any concerns or questions, while they’re thinking about making their decision, the people they’re talking to have no idea how to address those except with concern.

34:14 Anthony Iannarino: Yeah and that they’re… So, this is the thing that salespeople here, “I’d like to take a couple weeks and think this over.” But you’re still by yourself thinking with no additional information. The information that you’re getting is from people who don’t know how to give you advice. They can’t tell you what the trade-offs are, they can’t tell you what you should or shouldn’t be doing. So, you need to work with the person who can give you that information. Which is why you have to ask. You just have to check and I’m certain that this podcast gets a lot of people in the speaking world. We have to do the same thing. We have to check and say, “This is what I’m thinking the keynote looks like, here’s what the outcomes are, let me give you my view of how we tie this to what you do and I wanna make sure that it makes sense and I’m gonna let people collaborate with me on… ” It would also be good if you could weave this in for us because this an important message. “Okay great. Let me have that.”

35:04 Michael Port: I always ask about their concerns. I never even thought about it as a sales tactic really. I just wanna make sure that when I go there, I’m presenting what they actually want. So, if I’m doing a “Think big revolution” speech, it’s not a normal speech. It feels a little bit more like a show. There’s elements that are very unusual on that. So, I say, “Listen I know you’re interested in this, but you… I imagine you may have concerns because it’s not typical.”

35:33 Anthony Iannarino: Yeah.

35:35 Michael Port: So, what are your concerns so we can address them? And sometimes they’ll say, “Well, I’m concerned about x,” and I go, “Well yeah you should be. That’s an unknown.” I don’t know that that’s not gonna happen. That may happen because we don’t know how the audience is gonna react in the minute. But I have found in other situations, here’s what has happened that’s positive. But so, you can be very honest about it. Like they can’t promise them the next boat’s not gonna burn down because these things happen. And the likelihood, the probability is tiny. And it’s also possible that it wasn’t their fault, that it was some other piece of equipment that was on the boat manufactured by somebody else.

36:19 Michael Port: We don’t know yet. So, there’s always a possibility that something negative will happen, but I think addressing it is so important and so powerful. And then when you address it, just like in a relationship, you can’t let issues fester, because it grows. Those issues compound over time if they’re not addressed. People start making up all sorts of stories about what someone did or what someone didn’t do, and the same thing happens in the buying process. You start to get this story, this narrative, in your head, and once you’ve got it stuck in there, it’s hard for the salesperson to get it out once it’s anchored.

37:07 Anthony Iannarino: Problems don’t age well. They’re better off being addressed. First, the “Think big revolution”, I’m so gonna steal the device where you talk to yourself on the stage through audio. I just think that it’s so good. I can just imagine myself giving myself objections and answering them from the stage.

37:26 Michael Port: First of all, I want everybody to steal anything I do because that’s my job. So, if I come up with an idea that’s really good, I want everyone to use it. But I think that would be brilliant for a sales presentation. You do all these mock presentations, and you show them, “Okay, here’s how you destroy the sales presentation.” And then you answer everything wrong. You behave inappropriately or improperly, and then you show them, “Here’s how you could do it that’ll work.” Oh my God, would that be powerful!

37:58 Anthony Iannarino: The thing that you said that really interests me is when you say, “Look, we’re in a performance situation, and so there’s a lot of things that are unknown. And here’s what sometimes happens, and here’s what we do when that happens.” Then now I’m at ease because Michael already knows that this is a possibility. He’s already seen it before. He knows how to recover from this. Now, I don’t have to worry anymore ’cause he told me, “Stuff happens, and I deal with it when it happens, and here’s typically how I do it.” I’ve taught sales people for years, “Just go ahead and tell your client at the beginning of the relationship, ‘We’re gonna get you the outcome, but it’ll probably be on our third or fourth try, but until then we’re gonna get it wrong a whole bunch.'” And they go, “Oh, that’s how we do it here, too.” Definitely not the first time.

[laughter]

38:39 Anthony Iannarino: And then everybody knows, and so you’re entering into the relationship knowing that there’s gonna be hard work to be done, and that it’s not gonna be easy, and everybody goes, “Yeah, that’s pretty much how things work, but now we know what we’re doing together,” and there wasn’t any kind of pretending that these things weren’t gonna happen and that everything’s gonna be smooth. It’s not because that’s the way life is.

38:58 Michael Port: So, here’s the other question I had written down. Personality. We have this idea, at least in America, of the big personality, backslapping salesmen. And that’s the great salesman, the one who can have the drinks at the bar and is the one that is most entertaining at the dinner table, etcetera. And now when I listen to you, you’re obviously very entertaining, you’re very charming, and you’re delightful to have a drink with, but you’re a very unassuming, rather quiet, straightforward, plain-speaking kind of person. You don’t sound to me like the typical example of the big personality sales person. So, A, is there a type of personality that does better than other types of personalities? Do big personalities actually do better in sales, or do they not? Or do they in fact get in their own way? So, what about this personality issue?

40:06 Anthony Iannarino: The people with the big personality, which we used to really like, extroverts, shine on the shoes, smile on their face, standing at the bar, that’s not true anymore, and it’s because of the self-orientation, the view that they have to take all the oxygen out of the room just doesn’t work for people anymore. What we know, if you wanna know what science says, when we look at the right types of personalities and who puts up the best numbers, it’s the people that are exactly on the line between introvert and extrovert. It’s the people that can go either direction, but they’re right in the middle of that. And those are the people that tend to have the easiest time. That said, you do have to have a personality. And I think what a lot of people get in trouble with in presentations generally and sales presentations particularly is that they think that they have to be professional. So, I go to a lot of sales conferences, and universally, I get the highest grades as a speaker, but the bar is so low, Michael, that you could literally just step over it.

[laughter]

41:08 Anthony Iannarino: The presentation, no one wants to be entertaining, no one is vulnerable, there’s no humor. But when you’re giving a presentation, even if it’s in a room with five people, and you’re selling a multi-million dollar solution, which I still have businesses where that’s what we do, you still have to entertain and engage people. They want to be engaged, they wanna be entertained. You need to have the stories, you need to have the funny lines that help people, especially on uncomfortable issues where you can have something that lets the steam out of things. And what happens when they’re stiff is what you’re saying is, “This is what I’m gonna be like to work with, and we’re gonna be working together for probably years, and you’re no fun to be around. You’re kind of boring, and you’re all buttoned-up, and I don’t really wanna hang out with you very much.” And you need to let your hair down and be yourself and be authentic.

42:01 Anthony Iannarino: Because you’re gonna be working together, and I said this earlier, but once you do that, then other people now have a license to say, “Oh, okay, so this is the kind of relationship. Now we’re actually gonna be able to talk to each other as humans and get personal and get intimate.” And my friend Charlie Green helped write the book “Trusted Advisor.” So, when people say “Trusted Advisor,” they’re pointing at David Maister and Charlie Green’s work. And what we know about trust is, it’s credibility times reliability times intimacy. And of those three factors, intimacy is the most important.

42:33 Anthony Iannarino: Do you know me? Do you understand me? Do you know who I am? And the more that you get intimate with people, the more that they like and trust you. All of those things, though, reliability, credibility, and intimacy, are divided by how self-oriented you are. So, the more it’s about you, the more you just subtract from trust. So, you have to go first. And this is, I think, the hard thing for salespeople. I have to go first and disclose something personal about me so that then it’s open for them to start engaging in this kind of a conversation.

43:02 Michael Port: Anthony, you’re fantastic. The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, October 11th, bookstores everywhere, I imagine.

43:11 Anthony Iannarino: Everywhere.

43:12 Michael Port: Everywhere. Is there a particular site that focuses on the book?

43:17 Anthony Iannarino: The best site right now is preorder.theonlysalesguide.com, and there are 17 training videos and a workbook if you come and get it early.

43:26 Michael Port: Okay. Let’s say that website again.

43:27 Anthony Iannarino: Preorder.theonlysalesguide.com.

43:31 Michael Port: Preorder.theonlysalesguide.com. Is that right?

43:37 Anthony Iannarino: That’s it.

43:38 Michael Port: Fantastic. Thank you so much, my friend. I think you’re wonderful. And again, congratulations on your son getting into such a good school so he can go and pursue his dream, what he wants. Everybody keep thinking big about who you are and what you offer the world. Go out there, be fully self-expressed, and you’ll steal the show. Bye for now.