Anthony Iannarino is a sales consultant and coach helping salespeople and sales organisations improve and reach their full potential.
1. When did you realise you wanted to start your own business?
It was late 2007. I had a lot of experience selling, managing a sales force, and leading a sales organization. People who knew me and had seen what I was doing started asking me to help them. I resisted it for a long time, but in 2007 I decided to jump in with both feet. Mostly, I got everything wrong. I had no idea what my business model was. I had no idea what it was going to become.
2. How did you get started and what was the biggest hurdle you overcame?
I put up a static website having no idea whether or not it would work. But because I chose the business name B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy I ended up with the domain name www.b2bsalescoach.com. And guess what? Google smiles on sites where the name is the search term. I was doing no writing at that time. I wasn’t sharing anything, and I was barely dabbling in social media. The hurdle for anyone who wants to coach, consult, or speak is client acquisition. But I did pretty well right out of the gate, and my biggest problem was managing my time.
3. What’s been your most successful way of getting clients?
There are two client-getting methods that are super successful for me. The first is referrals and repeat business. There is nothing more powerful than a referral, but most people won’t ask for them, and so they don’t get many. You should always say, “If I create value for you during this engagement, would it be okay if I ask you to share what we do here with a couple you believe might benefit from what we do together? Then, after you are successful helping them, you ask: “If this was valuable for you, could you share with me a couple people we might reach out to?” Never be afraid to ask for a referral. The second best way for me is social media. I have written a blog post every day since December 28, 2009, minus 10 days I spent in Tibet in 2010. Twitter drives people to the site, and once they’re there, they tend to sign up for the newsletter and stay connected.
4. How do you get clients to stay with you and use you for more work?
Two things. First, I try very hard to create more value than they expect. I’m not cheap, but I am always willing to find ways to create more value. I don’t nickel and dime my clients, and they don’t nickel and dime me. I spoke to group in January. A trainer they had got stuck in Atlanta, I jumped and covered his content. That’s what you do when you are partner-minded; you walk your talk. The second reason is that I have the ability to connect with people, especially sales and success-minded people. I can help them overcome the mindset issues and their fears, and I can help them with powerful language they feel comfortable using.
5. Do you ever have issues with clients paying late? How do you manage that?
If I need to be paid, I ask for the money. If you are owed money, there is no shame in asking for it. You did the work. You earned it. But honestly, I never worry about getting paid.
6. What does your typical work day look like?
You don’t want to know. I get up between 4:30 AM and 4:45 AM every weekday. On weekends I sleep in; I get up at 6:00 AM. I do a lot of my writing first thing in the morning when my brain is clean. I write a post every day, including weekends. And I write a newsletter every Sunday. Most of my days are spent in meetings or calls, unless I am speaking. I do more writing at night, and I try to be in bed and asleep by 10:00 PM. On 7 hours sleep, I am the Dalai Lama. On 5 and half hours sleep, I am miserable.
7. Any piece of advice/wisdom that you’d like to give the readers at Business Unleashed?
Put sales and marketing first. It’s the most important part of the business. Drucker said, “A business exists to create a customer.” Look, that’s the reason you exist, to create customers. If you get this part right, you’ll end up growing your business and you can hire people to wear a bunch of the other hats. You aren’t coaching or consulting until you have clients. You can connect with Anthony Iannarino at his blog here: www.thesalesblog.com