Sales guru and bestselling author Anthony Iannarino on his first lessons on selling

anthony-iannarinoThis week, I’m joined by sales guru and bestselling author, Anthony Iannarino to talk about his new book, The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking the play button above. Below is an excerpt from his book that reflects one of the stories he shared. But it’s a lot more fun to listen to him tell it.

This particular story was about when he first learned the power of self-discipline. It happened on his first day of work after moving from Los Angeles and rejoining his family business in Columbus, Ohio. As he describes that day in his book:

That morning, my sales manager walked up to my desk with two minions in tow and dropped a stack of papers in front of me. “These are our accounts, and you are not to call on any of them,” she said.

I looked at the stack; there were pages and pages of company names. I was surprised at how many client accounts our little firm had already won. “We are serving all of these companies?” I asked, impressed.

“No!” she snapped. “But we are calling on these companies. You are not to call on any of them.”

Now I understood: “we” didn’t include me. At 8:00 a.m. the next day, I closed the door to my office and started calling all of the nonexcluded companies listed in the business section of the phone book. I made cold calls until I went to lunch, and when I came back, I made cold calls until the end of the day. I did that the next day and the next and the next. My consistent, disciplined effort was rewarded with face-to-face appointments. The more calls I made, the more appointments I booked. The more appointments I booked, the more business I won.

Within six months, I was the sales leader. After twelve months, my sales numbers were higher than those of the rest of the sales team combined. Soon after, the sales manager and her minions left the company.

the-only-sales-guide-youll-ever-needI am not saying that I was a better salesperson than the other members of the sales team. I am not even saying that I was better at cold calling; I absolutely wasn’t. I am saying that disciplined action made the difference between my results and theirs. While I was making calls, my sales manager and her reps were chatting about their weekends, the television shows they had watched the night before, and finding ways to pretend to be busy with existing clients.

They were doing anything but prospecting. My success resulted from nothing more than a willingness to commit to consistent and purposeful action. I forced myself to make thousands of cold calls and, in doing so, I discovered hidden treasures on almost every page of the phone book. It turned out that many of the most lucrative accounts in the city weren’t the biggest or best-known companies. They were smaller ones that would never have been included in the list that the sales manager dropped on my desk and told me not to touch.

The sales manager left without understanding what I had done or why I had succeeded. But I learned a lesson that has served me well ever since: self-discipline is essential to sales success. Your good intentions are worthless unless they are coupled with disciplined action.

Anthony also shared a fascinating and entertaining story about how he accidentally ended up in the sales business and learned his first lessons about what successful sales people do. But you’ll have to listen to the podcast to hear that one.

You can find Anthony at www.thesalesblog.com.

Special Offer: As a thank you and reward for listening to or reading this new podcast series, I’m giving away three free copies of the Audible edition of the book it’s based on, Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale. That’s the downloadable audio version that you would listen to on your phone or in the car. If you’d like to win one of those, click this link and play this podcast directly from iTunes. You can skip to the last 60 seconds of the podcast where you’ll find instructions for how to win one of the free Audible books. I’ll leave the contest open for 2 weeks after this podcast first posts. Good luck!

PAS square profile Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on business storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and bestselling author of the books Lead with a StoryParenting with a Story, and Sell with a Story.

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