Episode #010: Sales Is Storytelling with Anthony Iannarino
In This Episode of The Buyer’s Mind with Jeff Shore:
Anthony Iannarino, Host of In the Arena podcast and author of The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, joins Jeff to discuss discipline, the stories we tell ourselves and the stories our customers tell themselves.
Topics we’re going to cover on today’s podcast:
- [2:42] Quote of the Day
- [5:06] Sales Tip of the Day
- [11:30] Self Discipline
- [13:38] Struggling in Self Discipline
- [15:31] Habits vs. Discipline
- [16:51] What really matters to you?
- [18:32] Storytelling in the sales process
- [23:06] Stories from the customer’s perspective
- [27:52] Advice to the person who is in a rut
- [39:17] Motivational Summary
More about our guest Anthony Iannarino:
Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, sales leader, entrepreneur, author of The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need, and host of Into the Arena podcast.
Links from today’s podcast:
Jeff: What do selling and storytelling have in common? Everything? Stick around, we’ll do some unpacking.
Announcer: Welcome to the Buyer’s Mind, where we take a closer look deep inside your customer’s decision making mechanism, to reverse engineer the perfect sales presentation. Now, please welcome your host, Jeff Shore.
Jeff: Welcome everyone to the Buyer’s Mind, the podcast dedicated to learning just what’s going on in the minds of prospects who are considering a purchase decision. This podcast is all about taking a little stroll through the buyer’s brain. It’s about knowing the customers so well that the sale begins to roll out right in front of you. I’m your host, Jeff Shore. You could read the full bio in the show notes or go over to jeffshore.com. And while you’re there, you can sign up for our free weekly video newsletter, a little Saturday morning inspiration to help you on your journey. With us, as always, our show producer, Mr. Paul Murphy. Murph, how you doing?
Paul: Doing great, thanks.
Jeff: Murph, you’re a tech guy, give me your impression on this or your opinion on this one, autonomous single passenger helicopters. This is true. This is debuting this summer in Dubai, of course, Dubai. Where they’ve got autonomous self driving helicopters that will pick you up and take you anywhere else in town with a range of up to 30 miles. There are weight restrictions. It will take somebody up to 220 pounds with a briefcase or a suitcase along with it, but it’s a self flying helicopter. Okay, you’ve probably never heard of it before. What are you thinking, Murph?
Paul: It’s not quite an Uber, is it? You know, self driving cars are one thing but self flying helicopters, there’s a lot more risk involved. I’m not sure I’m feeling good about that.
Jeff: Yeah, so you wouldn’t do it. You’re not the early adopter on that one, are you?
Paul: Not gonna be an earlier adopter on that one, I’m sorry.
Jeff: But you know that there somebody is…you know that somebody is gonna be all over it, right? That there are people just so that they can say they did it, they’ll pay whatever the cost is to say, “I flew in autonomous self flying helicopter”. I’m not gonna do it either, by the way, but I think it’s cool.
Paul: The more success that you see with it, the more people will wanna adopt it, right? But the more failure it’s just, the less.
Jeff: Well, listen, we’ve got the drones. Seems like we got it figured out. They don’t seem to be falling out of the sky. Of course, there’s loss of human life if they do. So, listen, self driving is the way of the future, so why not self flying as well? Well, let’s get started here. I wanna start right away with our quote of the day. And it comes actually from the guest on today’s podcast, the great Anthony Iannarino. And here’s what Anthony says, and this is a message that’s directed right at sales professionals, okay. He says, “Finish this sentence. I sell, blank. If you finish the sentence with anything other than outcomes, you are wrong.”
It’s an interesting, provocative way for Anthony to start that particular chapter. But his point is that ultimately, we are here to improve lives by solving problems. Your product or your service, this is not what matters most. The outcome of a better life is what matters most. Our role in sales is to facilitate that better life. It really does have to do with the outcomes, I don’t know. Interesting conversation with a lady who sells prepaid funeral services. Now I’ll tell you, that’s one of the last things that you might think you wanna buy, right? Except that she wasn’t selling funeral services, she was selling an easier and less stressful transition for someone’s family after that person passed away.
I mean, listen, if you think about it, when you pass away the family has enough to deal with in losing you. Do you really wanna burden them with guessing about your funeral arrangements and what you would have wanted? I mean there it is, that’s the outcome. So if we start thinking about the outcomes of what we were doing rather than the product or service, then we’re gonna get solution-based, that’s what our customer is looking for in the first place. Forget asking what product or service you sell, start asking yourself, what outcomes do you sell? As always, I wanna let you know that the podcast is brought to you by our good friends at HomeStreet Bank.
They are our show sponsor but they’re also my lender of choice, having used HomeStreet in the last home that I purchased. And I have to tell you, one of the smoothest transactions that I’ve ever had, and I’ve purchased quite a few homes. Professional, dependable, outstanding rates, great service. And if you’re a real estate professional listening to this podcast, you’re just not gonna find better people to work with in taking care of your clients, which is, I know, what you really want. And they could do it all, banking, home loans, credit lines, you name it. Go to homestreetbank.com to learn more, that’s homestreetbank.com.
Let’s bring you our sales tip of the day, and today’s tip is to do this, plant a positive story before a customer raises an objection. The theme of our podcast today is about stories. So, if you have a common objection and you hear it all the time, and you know that it’s gonna come at you again, how can you address that before it comes up? Well, here’s the process. The first step is to determine the positive side, that is the flip side of the objection. There’s always one aspect of whatever that customer is gonna bring up that has a positive flip side. So let’s say you’re selling, I don’t know, trucks and your customer brings up gas mileage objection.
Well, there’s a positive side to having a truck and it’s in the difference in cost compared to having to rent a truck whenever you need to move or haul things, it’s just not worth it. Or suppose you’re selling a home and it backs up to railroad trucks. That doesn’t sound good, but on the positive side, there are no rear neighbors so you get privacy. So you start by determining what the positive side of that objection is and then you come back and you present to your customer a proactive positive, and you do that in advance. That is share the positive side upfront. So, for example, if I said to that customer, before they brought up the gas mileage objection, “When you think about how much it costs people to have to rent trucks whenever they need to move or haul something, I gotta tell you, that cost can really add up. So you’re saving quite a bit by having a truck.” That’s the idea. The gas mileage objection didn’t go away but you’ve presented a positive counterbalance in advance, and that provides a tremendous mental leverage. Or in the case of the home that backs up to the railroad trucks, if I said to the customer, “The home I wanna show you is, I’ll tell you what’s great about this home site. There’s no rear neighbors and there’s not gonna be rear neighbors. You’ll see it when we get out there. But for people who really put a premium on privacy, this is a great location.”
Now look, the objection is still there, but by providing a positive story upfront then I’ve got some form of counterbalance to the negative story. If I don’t do that, then I’m waiting for the customer to come up with a negative story that’s already planted. Now if I come back with my positive, it sounds too much like a ‘Yeah, but’ approach. That negative has already really got deeply rooted without a positive counterbalance. So that’s the tip of the day, plant the positive story before a customer raises an objection.
All right, there you go. And before we get to our interview, let me tell you about an opportunity. I wanna invite you to join us for the 2017 Jeff Shore Sales Leadership Summit and Exposition to become a better leader for your career, for your team, to grow in ways that you never thought possible, and take your career to the next level. Now, this is specifically targeted towards real estate executives but we’ve had people outside the real estate industry who’ve gotten so much out of this. As the premier industry gathering, you’re gonna learn from the best of the best about what it takes to make you a better leader, a better manager, a better coach, with more insights, with more actual strategies, with more aha moments than ever before.
You’re gonna come away from the summit confident you possess the tools and the knowledge, not only to succeed, but to truly change the world. And I have to tell you one other thing, we do this at the Loews Coronado Resort, just outside of San Diego. We do it on a Thursday, Friday. Most of our guests, hundreds of guests spend the weekend. We’ve done this year after year, they spend the weekend in San Diego. There are worse places to be in August than San Diego. It’s a beautiful city. So it’s not just that you’re gonna come away with some solid, solid opportunities to make a substantial difference in your organization, you’re gonna come away renewed and refreshed.
You can find more information about the summit and other exclusive training events throughout the year for sales leaders and for sales pros at jeffshore.com/events. Okay, let’s get to our interview with Anthony Iannarino. If you aren’t already familiar with Anthony, well, you need to get out more. The salesblog.com is a must resource for sales professionals. His podcast, In the Arena, a mind expanding journey into all areas of life. And his most recent book, “The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need” is, well, the only sales guide you’ll ever need. I’m proud to call him a friend and mentor, welcome Mr. Anthony Iannarino. Glad to have you here.
Anthony: How am I gonna explain the second book when it comes out in August? How am I gonna do that?
Jeff: That’s a good question. Is it titled yet?
Anthony: It’s titled “The Lost Art of Closing: Winning The Ten Commitments That Drives Sales”. It’s titled. But, you know, the publisher gives you the title so they gave me this title, but now I’m gonna box, you know, I have to go out and explain what really wasn’t the only sales guide you’ll ever need. I mean, there are other books you’re gonna have to buy?
Jeff: Did you title The Only Sales Guide or did the publisher titled that?
Anthony: The publisher titled it.
Jeff: Yeah, yeah. You know, when I published “Be Bold And Win The Sale”, I didn’t title that either, the publisher titled that. And man, it was a little mini war trying to get the title right. I don’t think most people realize that books are not titled by the authors, for the most part.
Anthony: No, it’s an interesting conversation too, because they sort of follow trends and when “Jaws” came out, the book titles needed to have, you know, one word. And then the interesting conversation I have with the acquisition editor, he said, “You know, what’s the title of the book?” And I said, “17 Elements To Periodic Table of Sales Success” and periodic table was the metaphor for the book. And he said, “That title sucks.” And he goes, “It should answer the question in the buyer’s mind.” And I said, “You mean like The Challenger Sale”. He goes, “Okay, well, that’s not a really good example.” I sold 300,000 copies, it’s a very popular sales book, so yeah, maybe it doesn’t have that much to do with it.
Jeff: Right, right.
Anthony: And we went around and around. But their point was, it’s a pretty complete framework of mindset and skill set and that was the only sales guide concept was that, hey, it’s pretty complete.
Jeff: Right, yeah. I wanna talk about stories, and that can be based upon what I found to be the most compelling part of your book, “The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need” which was, to me, Chapter 13. Before we get there, let’s go all the way back to Chapter One. Because you started this book with a chapter on self discipline. It’s not the sexiest of topics to start a book with, tell me your mindset because I loved it. I mean, right from the very beginning it was like, oh, this is awesome. I got a high fast ball into the chin right from the very beginning because you’re gonna hit me with self discipline on Chapter One. Tell me about your mindset of structuring the book in that way.
Anthony: Everything after that is useless if you don’t get the first chapter, I mean, that’s it. If you can’t keep the commitments you make to yourself, all is lost after that. And that was my original thinking when the first publisher who asked me for the book, when I gave it to him. They went through the first half and said, “We hate it.” And what does self discipline have to do with selling? And I said, “Only everything.” And it’s only the difference between success and failure in almost every human endeavor that you may wanna be involved in. If you can’t keep the commitments and manage yourself, then there’s nothing else after that that’s gonna be helpful.
And, in fact, it comes before optimism and attitude. I think because optimism is a discipline. And if you can’t make your calls, if you can’t follow up, if you can’t keep your appointments, if you can’t keep all these commitments you make to yourself, you’re not gonna keep commitments to others and you’re not gonna be somebody worth going business with. And the whole premise of the first half of the book is first, be somebody worth doing business with and then worry about the skills. And we tend to get these in the wrong order and we think, “Well, if only they knew how to negotiate.” They’re not disciplined enough to do their job now, and teaching them to negotiate, you still have an undisciplined person doing the negotiating.
So that’s why it’s at the front of the book and it is a set of books. What’s interesting about your question is I’ve gotten, I don’t know, a half a dozen emails over the last couple of months that said, “The last chapter of the book has not only made me better in sales, it’s made me a better father, a better husband, and a better family member.”
Jeff: There’s somebody listening right now, who’s listening to this conversation, they are casually listening to this recording while they’re checking Facebook or, you know, playing Candy Crush on their phone, or doing a jigsaw puzzle, whatever it is, when then really should be working. And you’ve already sort of struck a nerve. Is your message to that person who tends to suffer from a lack of self discipline, is it just a “Buck up soldier. Come on, you wanna be successful or don’t you?” What do you say to that person who is struggling in the self discipline area?
Anthony: I think that, you know, there’s a couple schools of thought here and I’m contrary to what a lot of people believe. A lot of people believe you have a limited amount of will power throughout the day, and that you can run out. And I don’t think that that’s the way it works. I think that you can learn to do things in a disciplined way that it just becomes part of your character and you do it every single day and you never think about it anymore. And you have a bunch of disciplines that you keep now. You get up in the morning, you brush your teeth, you take a shower, you put on clean clothes, you just do those things, and you can do that with every other area of your life.
You can teach yourself to get up early. You can teach yourself to do the most difficult task first before you do anything else. You can make a list of disciplines and check them off and then you don’t need the list anymore. I mean, I get up at 4:30 in the morning. That was an easy shift for me because I was getting up at 5:00 already. But 5:00 from 6:30 was a big shift. But if you get up early and you keep doing it, pretty soon you’re getting up before the alarm goes off because your body is now trained and you’ve built that discipline. And I think you can do it in every area. You can discipline yourself to follow up. You can discipline yourself to make calls. And the more you grow, in my experience, the more you grow in disciplines in some areas, the easier it is to capture them somewhere else.
Jeff: You keep using the word discipline, but with all due respect, aren’t you really talking about just habits here?
Anthony: They turn into habits but there is a discipline to keep first. And I like the word “discipline” because it says something more than habit. It says that I have control over me. And the subtitle for that chapter is The Art of Me Management. And there’s a million books on time management, but as far as I’ve ever figured out, you can’t control time and it relentlessly ticks away, whether you want it to or not. And you can try to keep the hands from moving forward but it doesn’t stop time. So the only thing that you can control is what you do between the ticks of the clock, and that means you need me management.
Am I going to do what’s most important, most meaningful, most purposeful in my life or am I gonna be distracted and have the browser open and let the browser dictate my day? And what I call the small screen of infinite distractions, it’s amazing that people can’t set their phone down, you know, for more than a few minutes. And I can set my down because of practicing the discipline for four hours at a time and not look at it, and the world continues to move on. But it’s just the decision to manage yourself and say, I’m gonna do what’s most important and get those things done, that allows you to be super productive.
Jeff: You know, I look back to my college days and I think the one book that still stands out the most from college was probably Peter Drucker’s, “The Effective Executive”. And especially Chapter Two, a chapter called Know Thy Time. And it was…supposedly it was about the infungible nature of time and every minute you spend doing something is a minute you can’t spend doing something else. But it really ended up being a discussion on what really matters to you. And I think that’s really what we’re talking about right here, if it’s important enough to you, the discipline shows up along with the priority, yes?
Anthony: The discipline shows up because of the priority. If you know what you really want and you start taking action on that, then you want to do it and that discipline just grows. It’s interesting because I know that you are a man of many years. So let’s say you’re 60, and you can go ahead and…
Jeff: And I’m not for the record, by the way. I’m not but go ahead.
Anthony: I’m just supposed to adapt. If you were 60…I did this for a YouTube video this week, and you multiply your life span, say it’s gonna be 78 years, you have 936 Mondays left. And if you knew you only had 936 Mondays left, you would start to think, “Wow, out of about 4,056 Mondays, I’m running out of Mondays.” And then Mondays starts to look different to you and you start to think, there’s some urgency here around what I’m trying to do on this planet and what my contribution’s gonna be, and how I leave this people that I brought on to this world and that I love and that I wanna take care of. And then it changes your perspective dramatically. You don’t have a lot of Mondays left.
Jeff: Love it, I love it. Let’s talk about storytelling, I wanna get into this from your book. I found Chapter 13 to be just so fascinating. And the entire concept of storytelling in the sales process is a concept that has been slowly gaining momentum, and not just in the sales process but in just thinking, the psychological circles as well. Did you know, when you started writing the book that you were going to include an entire chapter on storytelling, on the art of storytelling, on the art of a good story, all of those things that are so powerful to an effective sales presentation?
Anthony: I did, because I think that the way that we presented has been wrong. And I think there’s pretty much a general consensus in the world of sales that we do a bad job with it. And we show up and we pull up the slide deck and it’s got a picture of our building. And then we talk about all of our locations. We talk about our company history and then we talk about who’s on our board. And then we pull up the logos of all the companies that we do work with and it’s totally self oriented. And I stole the quote from Nancy Duarte for the book. You know, a client is Luke Skywalker, you’re Yoda. And you’re not Luke Skywalker because if you’re Luke Skywalker then you’re not Yoda, but you’re the person that’s the trusted adviser, the council, the person that knows how to get something done.
And when you start out, and all you talk about is you and your company and what you do, the focus is wrong. And what’s interesting, to me, is that having sat in thousands and thousands of presentations and given thousands of presentations, what tends to work best is stories. And when you can tell the story of, “Okay, here’s the current state where you are, and here’s the future that we have to get to, and here’s how we get there.” And you’re totally focused on helping them walk through that path. And then you pop up and say, “And here is where we’re gonna struggle, and here is where we’re gonna end up being challenged. Here’s what we’re gonna do when we have that challenge. Here’s what you’re likely to get experience on your side when your people aren’t getting the results that we said we were gonna get for them, and they’re struggling with this. And here’s how we’re gonna handle that.” And you start to lay out, “Okay, this is the here there be dragon’s part on the map,” right? There’s always a challenge. And almost invariably, the more honest you are and the more you express, this is how the arc goes. Here’s where the challenges are gonna be, here’s where it’s gonna get really muddy for us, and this is what we’re gonna do to get through it. And on the other side, it’s gonna be better then people start to get engaged in this conversation that they’re having.
And you’ll find that the follow up questions are always, “Well, one time we had this happen, what do you do then?” And they wanna hear the story. Okay, so in this situation, here’s what the challenge is, here’s what we do about it. And it’s that arc, okay, so this is where we’re going and here’s what’s gonna happen along the way. The more honest you are, the more engaged they are, and the more easy it is for them to imagine doing business with somebody who’s not gonna bamboozle them and pretend like they’re gonna go from current state to future state without the pain that comes between those two things. And I think it’s a critical chapter and it’s a critical understanding that a lot of sales people don’t have right now.
Jeff: Do you recommend that sales people are, essentially, explaining the plot of the story at the front end? Do you recommend that sales people are saying, “Hey, listen, this is where the story is going.” I’m not gonna use that word, but do you recommend that sales people basically lay out the arc, the narrative at the start?
Anthony: Yeah, current state, future state, how are we gonna get there? What are our obstacles gonna be? How do we deal with those? And what you’ll find, in my experience and the experience of people that I’ve worked with, when you go on and you’re honest… When I was selling staffing, I would tell people in the sales presentation, we have a value that says, “From quarter to quarter we improve.” That’s one of our values, and that means that we’re gonna get this right on the third or fourth try. And I would say it just like that. We’ll get this exactly right. It will take us three or four tries to get there. And first people would say, “Really? Three or four tries?” Yeah, this is where we’re gonna struggle. There’s a learning curve and I would explain it to him. And then somebody, who’s a senior leader at the company I was selling to, would say something like, “Three or four? Well, you’re twice as fast as we are. Usually it takes us eight or nine tries.” And I’ve set the table, look, we’re gonna be challenged. We’re going this place… And I think it creates an immense amount of trust when you’re willing to talk about, here’s where it’s gonna get tough and it’s not gonna be easy for us to do this.
Jeff: Let’s go back to think about the story, from the customer’s perspective. Because one of the things that intrigues me is that every time a buyer and a seller get together, there are always two stories that are brought to the table, right from the very beginning. And so often, as you mentioned earlier on in this discussion, the sales professional wants to start by saying, “Let me tell you our story and I’ve got displays and graphics and everything else to be able to do that”, with really very, very little understanding of the customer’s story. So how do you do that? What do you teach to encourage a sales professional to really just say, “Set your story aside, your story is irrelevant right now until you really understand the story that your customer brought to the table.” What do you do to get there?
Anthony: Can I tell you a story?
Jeff: Of course.
Anthony: When I was 24 years old, I got forced into outside sales, and I was a really good sales person before somebody actually made me have the title of sales person. And then I became an awful sales person for about 60 days. And before I was made a sales person, all I did was called people who use temporary staffing in Los Angeles. And I would say, “I saw some people come through. I know you’re using a staffing agency and some of the people that were sent through weren’t the kind of people that we would send. And I’m wondering if I could come out and talk to you about your staffing needs.”
And some of them said yes and then some of them would tell me what their problems were, and then I would win business. And this is what my manager noticed and he forced me to go into outside sales. Once I was in outside sales, I went to training and they gave me the 84-page binder full of all the things that made Olsten Staffing Services the best staffing company in the world. They were about a $4 billion staffing concern at that time. And my manager was kind enough to go on a sales call with me…and that’s not done very often now, but we did a lot of ride along. So he went with me and he didn’t take the call, he just sat and watched me.
And in this case, he watched me read an 84-page binder to a woman who I had booked an appointment with and done discovery. And I noticed, out of the side of my eye, that he wanted to stab me in the face while I was talking, I could see it on him. But he didn’t say anything and he didn’t interrupt me, and I finished. And we did that, you know, the sales conference you have when you’re on the sidewalk after you make a sales call and you’re with your manager. And he looked at me and said, “How do you think that went?” And I said, “I think it went great. What do you think?” And he said, “I think you gotta be brought up on charges for cruel and unusual punishment. That woman’s in a catatonic state and I don’t know if we’re ever gonna be able to revive her.”
And I said, “What are you saying?” And he said, “Nobody cares what’s in that binder.” And I said, “What do you mean? This is a story of William Olsten and the Olsten mobile and helping women get to work during World War II. I mean, it’s amazing. And look at all these things that we do and it’s important that they know this.” And he said, “Listen, the people that you’re talking to only care about one, two, maybe three things tops. And all they wanna talk about is the two or three things they care about. The binder is why they should choose us. So when somebody comes along and asks them, who is this company? They can pull the binder off of their shelf and show them all of these stuff, that we’re a good company and that we’re respectable and we’ve got references and all these other stuff.”
He said, “You never have to open a binder and say anything about what’s in the binder.” And he took me on calls with him and if there was a metric… I don’t think anybody tracks this metric but it’s number of words used in sales calls versus the amount of revenue, he would have the greatest metric on earth. Because he said almost no words at all, and all he did was ask the client to talk about their problems. And that’s where I learned that all you really need to capture is the current state. What’s their current state? And they’ll describe the current state to you perfectly. And so, when you show up to give your story, you can say, “So here’s where you are now.” And you tell them what they told you about where they are now.
And here’s where you say you need to go, and this is how we’re going to get there. And that structure works so much better than saying anything about why us. Because you’re proving you’re the right person to choose, by understanding their current state, their current state, and what it takes to cross that bridge together. You really create trust in preference for you when you can tell them exactly the challenges that they’re gonna face and how to actually make that happen on their side. Because execution is hard on their side too but that’s the pattern and that’s what tends to work in a story, is you take them all along that arc, starting from where they are to where they’re going because that’s the story they care about. They don’t care about William Olsten and the Olsten mobile, they care about their company and how they get to where they need to go.
Jeff: Last question and I actually…the reason I’m thinking of this question is because I actually asked this question of Jeb when I had him on the show here recently. And it’s completely apart from anything we’ve talked about up to this point, but what advice do you offer for a sales person who is just sort of stuck? I’m in agreement with you, that these are good times to be in the world of sales and often times the mistake that sales people make is assuming less than an outstanding outcome of any given sales conversation. But let’s get away from the sales person who’s in a groove right now or for the person who’s brand new and too stupid to know that they can’t sell so they just sell anyway. Let’s talk about that person who is just…there’s a small difference between being in a groove and being on a red, right? So, what advice do you give for that person who is just sort of stuck right now?
Anthony: That’s a great question. In Chapter Two, I recommend a negativity fast, and I’ve done a video on that on YouTube. I basically eliminate all negativity from your life for about 30 days. And if you can do 60 days, you’ll probably never go back to being negative again. And I think that the mind set, the way that the mind set is so dominant and the results that you produce and your belief system… Let me give you an example. I work with a client and one small group of this client, has a group of people who believe that the product is terrible, the price is too high, and they can’t beat their irrational competitor.
And then when I talk to them, I explain to them, “Let me give you the name of the people at the top ten who have the exact same product that you have, that you think is inferior. They have the exact same pricing model that you have and they have the exact same irrational competitor. But their belief system is completely opposite to yours and that’s the only difference. Some of them are not even better sales people, but their beliefs tend to drive their behaviors and they transmit that sense of belief and their optimism and their confidence. They transmit that to the client and the client feels different about them than they feel about somebody who’s apologetic about what they’re doing or apologetic about their pricing, even though the pricing is exactly what’s necessary for the model.”
And I would recommend eliminating that. And how you do that is you don’t take in any negative news for 30 days. You turn off AM radio and you pour in, well, get Jeff Shore’s book on audio. Get Jeb Blount’s books on audio. Listen to Tony Robbins, listen to Stephen Covey, listen to Brian Tracy, listen to Les Brown, listen to a lot of Les Brown. And just take in positive things for about 30 days, because there’s so much bad stuff getting poured into you from the outside world, especially in the political environment that we’re in. And there’s just so much negativity, it’s hard not to get infected. I was walking through the Chicago airport last night and I went up to a little shop, I was gonna get a bottle of water. And the kid that was working at the shop said…I sneezed and he said, “God bless you.” And I said, “He already has.” And he said, “What does that mean?” And I said, “He already has. I mean, I’ve got love, I’m happy. I got a beautiful wife, great kids. I’ve already been blessed.” And he said, “You can’t really be happy.” And I said, “Yeah, I can. I am, I’m really happy.” And I said, “How are you?” And he said, “I’m miserable.” And I said, “That’s too bad.” I said, “What would make you happy?” And he said, “The only thing that would make me happy is money.” And I said, “I know you believe that because you’re a young guy but money is just an amplifier.”
I said to the young man, I said, “Listen, if you are a five star gold plated a*****e, with money you’ll just be a five start gold plated rich a*****e. And if you’re a wonderful, compassionate, empathetic human being, with money that’s who you’ll be with money. And money is not all that hard to get but it’s your mindset that’s holding you back.” And he said, “No. It’s the fact that I didn’t finish high school, I didn’t go to college, and I had problems when I was a young person, and I had family issues.” And I said, “I know you believe that right now but the fact of the matter is, none of those things have anything to do with it. And I know people who have had that and more, you know, who are doing extraordinary well financially. It’s a decision.”
And I felt bad after having that conversation because part of me wanted to sit down… I was catching a plane but part of me wanted to sit down and explain to him, you know, you’ve got to eliminate the excuses that you give yourself and the negativity that you bring. Because all you have to do, when you turn that around, is you start taking action with the different set of beliefs and the results follow inevitably for everyone who tries it. And I would be interested to hear your experience in that regard too, Jeff, I think it’s probably similar.
Jeff: There is no doubt. First of all, I find it really ironic that what…we’ve really taken this conversation full circle because that young man’s comments about well, it was my high school and my upbringing and my family situation. These are all just stories that have taken root in his brain. And the encouraging news, you’re right, is that stories can be rewritten. There is an eraser. You can rewrite the story. But the more you internalize the story, the more you believe it, then the more it guides your thoughts, your actions, everything that you do. And I completely agree. There is no way that money buys happiness, you know, but it buys choices.
And the value of the choice is really what makes the difference. Whether you have a little money or a lot of money I think is fairly irrelevant, but just absolutely fascinating. And yeah, these are the conversations that we wanna have, right, because there are people out there that are carrying some pretty crappy stories around in their head. And I don’t think they’re doing anybody any favors.
Anthony: You can tell the story with a positive frame or a negative frame though anytime you want. And, I mean, I had a childhood that when…I were to just tell you factually about my childhood, you’d say, “Man, you have a rough childhood.” And I would say, “No. I was like Tom Sawyer, hooks in. I mean I was completely happy on an adventure.” And fortunately for the adversity, I started working full time when I was 13, just 13, washing dishes. And I developed an amazing work ethic out of diversity, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. And it’s just, which frame do you wanna look at it through? I had this adversity and it’s made me stronger or I’ve had this adversity and now it’s my story.
Jeff: Yeah, I think that that’s what’s really powerful, is that perspective on what adversity is for. Is because there are lessons that we can learn in times of adversity that we simply cannot learn in times of prosperity. The people who are going through a tough time right now or are holding on to tough times from the past, simply…well, what do they say? They say experience is the toughest teacher because you get the test first and then you get the lesson. And looking back, and I’m with you, I cling to, I don’t remember the song but it’s an old Billy Joel song, If I could go back and start over somehow, I would not change that much, knowing what I know now.
And I think that’s a good way to end up our conversation. Anthony, always a pleasure talking, great stuff. I wanna encourage you all, go to thesalesblog.com, subscribe to it. It will be dropped at your email every Sunday morning, like it does for me. Listen, subscribe to In the Arena for some absolutely fascinating conversations on all kinds of different topics. There’s no question about it, Anthony is a polymath. He’s gonna cover just about everything along those lines. And then yes, by all means buy “The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need”, you will not be sorry. Anthony, thanks so much for being on the show.
Anthony: Thanks for having me.
Jeff: Well, Murph, that was fairly amazing. I gotta tell you, I can’t get enough of listening to Anthony Iannarino. He just got knowledge bombs that get dropped all over the place. What was the big aha?
Paul: The big aha was the kid in the airport. I’m like, “You’ve got Anthony who just has all these knowledge that he wants to share with you and experience, and you’re blowing him off. People pay money to have this guy teach them and you’re getting it for free, and you’re missing it.”
Jeff: And actually pay good money to work with Anthony. And you’re right, that kid had no idea what he was missing out on right there. But I guess it does talk a little bit about the stubbornness even in the story that we adopt. I thought it was really interesting when we were talking about emotion in the sales process. Listen, a good story is told with emotion. And I’m of the opinion that most sales people hold back a little too much on the emotional side. And I think what their…I think the issue is that they are afraid of coming across as campy or, you know, overly exuberant, or phony. And I think that speaks to motive rather than technique. If you’re really feeling that emotion, if you were passionate about the opportunity that you provide, about the product that you sell, about the service, about how you’re going to leave your customer with a better life, a better outcome for their life, then I think we oughta get excited.
I think we want to be emotional. It’s all gonna dial back to that level of trust we have with our sales representative. So, if I really trust you as a sales person, if I really believe that you look out for my best interests, then I will absolutely allow you to be emotional and then I will adopt your emotion. Now, if I don’t trust you, it’s completely well founded because you’re gonna come up as somebody who is actually distasteful. So you build the trust first and then you let that emotion slip in, a little bit at a time. By the time I’m ready to make a decision, that should be a happy time. I’m gonna make the decision out of the emotional side of my brain, so why would I want a sales representative who is anything other than emotional?
So I thought that was really, really powerful. Also loved when he was talking about the negativity fast. This is something, actually, that Anthony and I have talked about in the past. I had the privilege of being a guest on his podcast, In the Arena. We talked about this and he and I share this, we do not check the news headlines first thing in the morning. We stay away from drive time radio. We don’t watch MSNBC or Fox News, or the Crisis News Network or anything else. We just stay away from it. And that negativity fast has a huge impact on our mindset. And there are so many people that fuel their brain with negative energy to start their day.
And then they have to go out and, as a course of their day, give out positive energy all day long. Well, that’s a problem, because you can only give out that which you have inside, and we find them giving out a lot of negative energy because that’s what they carry. Just to…I wanna encourage all of you listening right now, what are you doing to fuel your brain with positive energy? And whether that comes from what you are reading, the podcast that you’re listening to. Anthony mentioned Les Brown, the motivational speaker who’s just so exciting and uplifting. There’s so much…so many people like that. Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, you can go on and on and on. And I wanna encourage you to do that, stay positive, stay positive.
Well, as we head to the wrap up, we were talking about stories and I just wanna challenge you with one last thing here. What stories are you telling yourself about yourself? What stories are you telling yourself about yourself? It’s really interesting. I was once speaking at a conference and a speaker in front of me…I was back stage, but the speaker in front of me was talking about self talk. And I’m gonna just warn you right now, I’ve got a big cynical streak in me. So afterwards we were chatting and I was telling him, it’s like, “You know what, that whole self talk thing, I struggle with.” This was years ago. I said, “I kinda struggle with this one. You know, the whole, I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and gosh, darn it, people like me.”
And he asked me a really important question. He said, “Jeff, have you ever done anything stupid?” And I thought, “Well, you mean like in the last three minutes? Well, yeah, all the time.” He goes like, “What do you say to yourself when you do something stupid?” Well, I’ll say, “Oh, Jeff, you are an idiot. What were you thinking, that sort of thing.” He said, “Huh, so you do believe in self talk. It’s just that you only believe in negative self talk.” And it was a big light bulb moment for me to recognize that, in our society, negative self talk is perfectly acceptable but positive self talk is this new age, taboo, you know, sort of touchy feely thing.
And I’m gonna ask you, what are the stories that you were telling yourself about yourself? Now, I’m not suggesting that you ought to go out there and tell yourself lies. But if you’re looking at it and you’re telling yourself negative stories, I’m not good at this, I am not comfortable when it comes to asking for the sale. I’m gonna promise you right now, if you tell yourself that you’re not comfortable asking for the sale, I promise you that you’re not gonna be comfortable asking for the sale. I wanna encourage you, tell yourself better stories. Just tell yourself better stories and eliminate those negative stories. And as you do that, your self belief grows and you become a better agent, you become a better asset to your own customers.
You can serve them better when you feel better about yourself. Rewrite the stories, my friends. All right, well listen, at the beginning of this show I told you that we’re running a contest. You have the chance to win the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. I love these headphones. I wear them when I’m travelling, I wear them when I’m listening to podcasts, or when I wanna hear the strongest quality in my music. So for the winner, you could take your choice of either the over the ear or the noise cancelling ear buds. So you can listen to the Buyer’s Mind podcast while you’re working out, while you’re going for a run, whatever it is. You get both a physical and a mental workout at the same time.
So I’m giving away several Shore Consulting swag bags, that’s my five books, a coffee mug, my motivational CD, and a bag that carry it all in. But one grand prize winner will win the QuietComfort headphones as well. So all you have to do is download the Buyer’s Mind episodes on iTunes. So go to iTunes, download the episodes, subscribe to the podcast, and then just leave a quick review. It’s gonna take you all of 30 seconds. Once you’ve done that, go to jeffshore.com/podcast, and click on the contest link. It will just ask you for your email address and the name that you used for the review on iTunes, so that we can pick the winners. We’re gonna give away 10 swag bags with the books and the mug and the CD and everything else.
And then the grand prize, you’ll have your choice of either the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones or the noise canceling QuietComfort 20 Ear Buds. So there you go, get on that right away. Well, that’s a wrap on our podcast today. I hope you enjoyed it. You can find everything you need at jeffshore.com. Until next time, go out there and change someone’s world.