Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, sales leader, and entrepreneur. He specializes in the complex business-to-business (B2B) sale. He is also a founder and managing partner of two closely-held, family-owned businesses in the staffing industry, leading both entities in strategic planning while growing sales.
Anthony is best known for his work at The Sales Blog, which has helped him gain recognition as a top thought leader in sales strategy. He is the designer of Level 4 Value Creation and Building Consensus methodologies that help sales organizations achieve transformational, breakthrough results.
Period in full time business
He has been in full time for 10 years now.
Core revenue streams
Anthony has very diverse revenue streams. He still has a role in their family’s staffing business and he is a partner in another one of the family businesses. He just started an accounting and finance group (specialised in staffing) where he is a partner. He is also a speaker, coach, consultant and an author.
He says he believes that we are in the age of constant accelerating disruptive change which keeps coming faster and is more disruptive especially for business people.
The speaking, coaching and consulting revenue stream makes up about 75% of his overall income.
Tip 1: You shouldn’t give up any revenue streams, you should have multiple revenues streams going at one time
Tip 2: You should really think deeply about how you can create additional revenue streams
Starting out in business
Anthony used to run their small family business of about $3 Million a year, and with about 6 sales people, he built it up to $50 Million a year. That got the attention of many people who wanted to know how he achieved so much with such a small team. That business was a competitive displacement business which took big companies away from big competitors. People wanted him to help them in that same way but Anthony wasn’t interested until at some point when he felt that he could something to help people succeed in building and growing their businesses.
So he started waking up an hour earlier than he used to every day, to write down everything he knew, and publishing it on his new blog. His goal at that point was to become a keynote speaker within a year. He worked very hard on building awareness on what he did and within 10 months, he got his first speaking gig.
In those 10 months, he used to get a lot of inspiration from Seth Godin, and he applied what he learnt from him in his own work. Overtime, he got introduced to a group of people who had a sales content sharing group. That sharing ended up amplifying all of their messages.
Tip 1: Because of the internet, as an entrepreneur, you have audiences worldwide and they are looking for you. Google will help them find you provided that you publish your best ideas, and people can tell how you create value and what you are all about
Tip 2: One of the things that entrepreneurs struggle with when it comes to sales and marketing is the consistency of doing the work every single day
Motivation during the first 10 months of the blog
Anthony knew that the idea for the blog would work because the statistics were good and kept growing. He had confidence, faith and was willing to play the long game with the blog while building a body of work. He started by getting 7 people reading his blog posts up to the current 2,500 readers that visit the blog per day. On Mondays, the number goes up to 4,000.
Tip 1: Stay with what you are doing for a long enough time that it actually sticks and you will get some traction. A lot of people give up right before that point where they get the traction because they start to worry it’s not going to work
Tip 2: You just have to continually do the work and it will pay off, but it does take longer than you think
Getting the first set of clients
Anthony says his first clients found him through a Twitter link that directed them to his blog.
Pricing the first paying gig
He had picked a number that he thought was outrageously high and even shared it with professional speakers. He learnt that it was about 10 to 20 times what anyone thinks they get on their first speech. When he got the first call from potential paying clients, he knew that talking to 1,000 people and being able to help them grasp a concept and execute it, was worth far more than he was going to charge.
Tip 1: Your price is a reflection of the value you create
Tip 2: When you can create a tremendous amount of value for other people then you are allowed to capture a tremendous amount of value
Growth and marketing strategy after getting the first clients
He has somebody who helps him with prospecting. When people come into his newsletter and download resources, Anthony still reaches out to them. He also blogs every day. In 2016, he did 200 YouTube videos and tries to do them daily
but he hasn’t figured out how to do them when he is on the road. His company also uses Facebook and Google Ads especially for things like book launches where they need to get attention and are willing to pay for it.
Lessons learnt so far
Tip 1: The right way to think is that you have to serve the business and also serve the clients, and you have to do what is right for both of those entities at the same time.
Tip 2: Even if you have more work than you need, even if you think that you can’t take on any more clients, you still have to get up and do the sales and marketing work because the laws of the universe say that you plant seeds in the spring time and harvest in the fall. With business, it’s always spring time because when a client goes away, you cannot be left with nothing in your pipeline. When entrepreneurs don’t do enough sales and marketing, that’s how they end up going back to the corporate world.
Tip 3: The way that you keep a business running is client acquisition. Sales and marketing is an important part of the business that you can’t ignore
Advice to those starting up
Anthony advices those who are starting up a business while also working in their full time jobs, to do a lot of marketing including blogging if it’s applicable, actual cold calling and prospecting. He also says that from a marketing perspective, social media channels work great.
Tip 1: You have to do both cold calling, client calls and prospecting every day. You need to do what is enough to get you the clients that you need
Tip 2: The ability to go out and get attention has never been easier and cheaper
Tip 3: If you’re serving business people, spend time on LinkedIn; and if you’re serving consumers, spend time building your audience on Facebook.
Tip 4: The most important thing is to find a way to get people back to your site with content that is relevant to them and answer all their questions there. Then capture their email addresses because that’s how you’re going to start getting in touch with people, and that’s how people are going to start reaching out to you
He says his funnel is very busy. Their marketing and sales consistency over a long period of time brings about a lot of funnel activity. He just had a book launch and it has kept them very busy. They have been sending people copies of the book and the book has been a great lead generation tool.
Becoming a writer and its impact
He always wanted to be an author and when he started writing his blog, people would ask him to write a book. He couldn’t find a suitable publisher so he decided to publish the first book himself. He hired a great editor and spent 6 months editing the book. Through Twitter, he linked up with someone who ended up helping him get a 2-Book publishing deal accompanied with a very nice advance payment. From there, it became a long-term relationship where he will probably do up to 7 books. He is currently working on the third book.
When he was writing the first book, he was taking ideas from his blog posts and fresh-writing them. The book was about how one can be someone worth doing business with and the skills one needs to actually sell.
The book has helped Anthony tremendously in developing his profile and outreach. It has also grown him as a speaker and created a lot of awareness about what he does.
Tip: Who you are matters more than what you do. First, you have to be somebody worth doing business with before you can sell
Their staffing business
He says that it’s a retail staffing firm that serves the light industrial, clerical, accounting, scientific, and other general staffing needs of diverse clients. What he did to grow the business faster and scale it up, was to recognize that they spent a lot of time selling to small accounts which took as much time to win as large accounts. They also took just as much time to serve as large accounts.
It didn’t make sense to Anthony to dedicate the small number of resources he had to small accounts that would not generate enough revenue for the company. So he focused on large anchor accounts, because the company could manage to run profitably with just 2 or 3 such accounts. He systematized the process of targeting and acquiring those accounts, and was very persistent to date, which ensures that he acquires the target clients.
Tip: You can have what you want, but you have to be willing to hang in there
He says he is still waiting for his biggest breakthrough moment because the more he achieves, the more he sees further into how much more he can achieve
A typical day during a book launch
He says there are two painful things for him when writing books; he loves the writing process but hates the editing process; and loves the book launch process but hates what happens after that which includes hundreds of emails and interview requests which become very frustrating because he tries to put people into his already packed calendar.
In his day to day work, he wakes up at 4.30am and works up to about 8.30pm then goes to bed at 9.30pm. He also works through the weekends and that is when he prefers to do interviews.
Book reception and feedback The book he just launched, The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales, has been very unique compared to other closing books because most of the other books have all had a long list of different types of closes, but this one is about 10 commitments that one has to gain.
The reception of the book has been very good. It has had forty one 5-star reviews with comments on how the book has changed people’s thinking about what they are doing and producing better results.
It’s helping people rethink their sales process and the conversations that they’re having. It is also helping them recognize the reason they lose is because they are not collaborating and giving clients something that they can easily say no to instead of customizing it for them in such a way that they would have to say yes. The best place to find Anthony’s books is www.amazon.com
The most important commitment
He says the first commitment (The commitment for Time) is the toughest one for people to get and it’s the one he would advise anyone to master first.
Tip: We have so much time but we don’t get anymore, you have to protect that.
Legacy: To have created good adults out of his children so they can go out and contribute while making a difference. To be remembered for having helped other people transform and produce better results in their lives than they would have otherwise – Anthony.
Best way to connect: www.thesalesblog.com – Anthony’s Business website
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