How to Sell Consulting Services And Enjoy It – Podcast

AnthonyIannarino


Mike Zipursky: Hey, it’s Michael Zipursky from Consulting Success and on today’s consulting interview, we have Anthony Iannarino – entrepreneur, author and consultant. Anthony is the President and Chief Sales Officer of Solution Staffing, Director of B2B Sales Coach and a daily writer at www.TheSalesBlog.com. Anthony has an amazing story. I am excited to have him here with us today.

Anthony, welcome!

Anthony Iannarino: Hi! Thanks for having me, Michael.

Mike Zipursky: All right, so Anthony, you’re a sales guy – one of the top around and you know your industry very well but many people feel sales and selling are dirty words. Why is this?

Anthony Iannarino: It’s a good question. And there’s some reason that sales has developed a bit of a reputation over the last, say, couple thousand years, right? For a long time there was an imbalance of power where sellers had more information about their product, about the market, about what it was worth than buyers and so we were taught things like tie-downs to say “Michael, you do love your family, right? You do want them to be safe, don’t you? You do want your kids to go to college. How can you go to sleep at night not having signed this insurance contract?” There were all those all kinds of tactics being used, and people got tired of it and the balance of power shifted over time. More people entered the market.

But I think that the point of your question for your audience is a lot of people feel that selling is about being manipulative, or persuasive, or making somebody buy something that they’re not going to benefit from, for the seller’s benefit alone and that hasn’t been true for a long time and it’s certainly not true of consultants.

A little bit of my story, which I’ve shared with you in the past, I would have never gotten into sales if it was about taking advantage of other people. But it’s really about creating value for other people. It’s about finding a way to be beneficial and helping them get a result that they can’t get without you and that’s what makes selling what it is today. It makes you valuable. You’re a value-creator. You make a contribution and you help other people grow.

Mike Zipursky: And so are you saying that tie-downs and tactics like that that many people will have likely read in older sales books or just even maybe newer materials as well, are they no longer applicable?

Anthony Iannarino: Would you want me to answer that question 2 stay at 2 or 1 stay at 10? Would that be better for you?

Mike Zipursky: Right

Anthony Iannarino: That’s the kind of stuff that as a buyer we hear and we’re like “Really? Why don’t you just be honest and ask me what you want to ask me?” and that’s so much more effective now to just ask for what you wanted to be honest, and vulnerable and tell the truth. It sells and it works better than a tie-down.

Mike Zipursky: It’s interesting because I’ve seen a lot of sales people, ‘kind of sales gurus’ whether it’s on YouTube or in books that still use that type of language. So you’re calling tie-downs – I’m sure there’s a lot of other terminology that people will have heard and that you could mention – but it seemed that people are still talking about these types of tactics as the kind of do work. But you’re saying that they’re not as effective or is it just more that you’re not as comfortable with them? I mean, is there a kind of a right and wrong when it comes to this?

Anthony Iannarino: Honestly, I think it doesn’t matter whether I’m comfortable. Buyers aren’t. And I will tell you, as you move up from a low dollar, low risk transactional sale to a high value, high dollar, high risk sale, those tactics will destroy your ability to sell.

The more that what you do is important to the persons buying, the more that they’ve got something at risk, the more money they’re spending, you completely destroy your trust going to tactics.

And really, this is the most important thing: you have to be somebody who creates value. It’s more important that you be rather than learn tactics. You need to be somebody worth doing business with. There’s no greater value proposition than a salesperson – or in our case, for your audience – a consultant that has the ability to deliver value.

Mike Zipursky: Definitely. And I think that’s an important message that a lot of people take comfort in hearing because a lot of people have been kind of raised to feel that as consultants, as business owners that you need to sell with old tactics and that’s what sales is all about. And what you’re saying is a kind of a breath of fresh air because you’re saying that’s really not the case and it’s even going to do more harm than good, and so people should really be who they are and really just focus – instead of focusing on these old sales tactics – focus more on providing value which, I think, people will, again, take comfort in. So that’s great.

Anthony let me ask you, you run several businesses now. One’s a staffing firm. I know you speak. You’re writing. You’re still a consultant on sales. And some people might wonder when they look at all the different things that you’re involved in ‘Why is this guy doing so much? Why is he spreading himself thin? Why not just focus on one business and just take it to the moon?’ What would you say to them?

Anthony Iannarino: I’ve got a business that’s close to the moon. Actually, I’ve got a couple of businesses that are close to the moon. I was actually looking at my speaking calendar. I probably will have 26 speeches (keynotes) this year which is not too shabby for 3rd or 4th year into the business.

But I’m on a mission. I believe that I have a mission. I believe that I am here to serve and to help other people achieve better results than they could without my help. I know some things and I know how to help some people. I think that my mission is to hand people the key that they’re already holding to unlock the chains that they’ve locked themselves up in, and help them realize their potential and I do that so it looks like I have a lot of different jobs but it’s really one mission. And wherever I go, I’m still working on that same mission. It all looks like one thing to me and I bring myself to that. Whatever engagement it is, I’m bringing Anthony. That’s what I do. I bring that to the engagement.

Mike Zipursky: Right. And I guess if we provide people with a little bit more kind of prospective or background on your businesses when you’re saying that you do have a couple of companies and businesses that you own or involved in and that they’re close to the moon, we’re talking about – I don’t know what you’re comfortable sharing – but businesses that are generating significant revenue.

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah, you can say $45 million and that’s the top half a percent of all businesses in America to get to that level. It’s significant. And there’s still room to grow there.

Mike Zipursky: Definitely. Good.

I want to go back in time a little bit and ask you about how you got into sales, how did this even happen. How did Anthony Iannarino end up being a sales guy?

Anthony Iannarino: That’s a great question because it’s something, as a young child of 5 and 6 while other kids are playing cops & robbers, I was playing sales rep. No kid ever goes to his parents and says “When I grow up, I want to be a salesperson.” And if they did, the parents would say “What are you, out of your mind?” We want to be a doctor or something.

But I had sort of an interesting upbringing. My dad left when I was 7. My mom raised 4 kids by herself. And I grew up in an apartment complex. I really had no adult male role model that gave me a vision of what I could become. And so I did the thing that looked most natural for my temperament and my disposition so I started fronting a rock band when I was 17 as soon as I graduated from high school. We played every club in Ohio, and predominantly, the Columbus area where I lived until we could really fill any club that we played in.

And so from that point, I decided to take a run at it, and I moved to Los Angeles and I knew the staffing business because it was the family business. So I got into a staffing firm called The Olsten which was about a $4 billion concern at that time and one of the three largest staffing firms in the world. And I got a job working a light industrial desk placing people because it was the only job they let a guy with a ponytail down to his waist do because they figured I couldn’t do any harm over there.

Mike Zipursky: Right

Anthony Iannarino: So I got a new manager at some point, and he came over to the desk and he said “What do sales people do?” and I said “They go out, and they talk to customers, they ask, they win their business and that’s what they do.” And he said “No. What do our salespeople do?” and I got the point of his question that he was saying ‘Hey, our salespeople aren’t winning deals.’ And I wasn’t going to ride anybody out. I didn’t really know what they were doing. They were out of the office all the time so I just hedged and said nothing. But he came back a little while later with a list of clients, and he pushed it across the desk and he said “Whose clients are these?” And I said “Those are my clients.” And he said “How did you…” – with every negative implication you can imagine and you because he’s looking at somebody who doesn’t look like he should have clients – he said “How did you win these clients?” And I said “I don’t know. I just pick up the phone, I call, I try to help people, some people let me come out and talk to them, and some of those people ask me to help them.” And he said “Okay” He came back later that week and said “I want you to cut your hair off and I want you to go into outside sales.” And what I heard come out of his mouth is “I want you to be a psychopathic axe murderer.” because that was my interpretation of what salespeople were. They were manipulative, persuasive, dirty. It wasn’t any kind of vision I could attach to myself.

So I resisted and said “Look, I’m really good at what I do. These are my clients. I love them. They love me. I can’t do this. You can’t make me.” He eventually told me “Look, you work for me and you need to do the job I need you to do. If you don’t come back in on Monday with your hair cut…” – not all the way off. Shoulder-length will be okay. We do live in LA, anyway – he said “I’ll fire you.” I cut my hair, and I went and do the outside sales, and literally, the first account I won was a $10 million account. He helped me drag it across the line. But after I won a $10 million account, I was literally everybody’s Golden Boy on the West Coast because it was the largest account __[10:27] half of The United States.

I fell in love with it because I realized it was me being able to be resourceful, be creative, take initiative and find a way to help people who needed my help.

Mike Zipursky: But Anthony, how did you get good at sales? I mean, how did you get this $10 million deal? I mean, was it the people that you knew? Were you in some old boys’ club or some secret rock band connections that gave you lots of referrals?

Anthony Iannarino: It was the worst possible way you can imagine. It was picking up the phone and just cold calling. I literally, at that time, was really, really dumb and naïve as a salesperson. I’m fortunate to have won that because there’s every reason in the world they should not have given me the business starting with me pushing past the receptionist to the point where she was extremely upset when she passed the phone to her boss. And I still remember him getting on the phone and saying “Why is my assistant crying?” and I said “I don’t know.” And I did know because I bullied her to get that opportunity.

I would never teach anybody to do that now, but I had read a book – actually written by another guy from Columbus, Ohio – and I was very, very tactical. It ended up undoing more deals than it did, and I was fortunate enough to have gotten a pass on that one. But I learned the lessons other places that how you treat people matters regardless of what their title is.

You asked a good question: How did I learn? This thing about selling is you can read a lot of books, but until you’re out doing it, it doesn’t work. It’s the same as swimming. You can read a book about swimming but if you get into deep water, you’re going to drown. So you go out, and you bump into things, and you make mistakes and you learn. And then literally after that, I read every book on sales that I could get my hands on and I started to put a lot of it into practice.

Particularly, there were three books that had a huge impact – all by Neil Rackham. I started with ‘Spin Selling’ which taught me that you need to get some commitment at the end of every sales interaction and it needs to be around ‘How do I help this person with the real implications of what they’re facing?’ And then as I grew, I became a Sales Manager and there was a book he wrote called ‘Managing Major Sales’ which is the strategy for winning big deals. That book was deeply, deeply important to me and how I developed. And then he wrote a book about managing salespeople that manage major accounts called ‘Major Account Sales Strategy’ with a guy named Dick Ruff.  And those three books sort of became ‘This is how I’m going to play the game.’ and it’s worked tremendously. It still works tremendously for me.

Mike Zipursky: Right. I can understand you’ve been now in the game for a while. You’ve really fine-tuned and honed your craft.

But in those early, days looking back to when you had just cut your hair to shoulder-length, you’re in LA, they kind of tried to push you to the side of the office, but somehow you still were able to get a few clients, and then you went out, and you made a secretary cry and you landed this large deal – one of the large deals around – was that luck, do you think, or did you, at that point, even realize it and know enough about sales to say that what you did was strategic and that it was well-planned?

Anthony Iannarino: No. There was nothing strategic. It was completely brute force. If I had any skill early on as a salesperson that helped me, it was just purely self-discipline. I could dial the phone more than you could. I could stay on the phone longer. I would call more people even if I wasn’t good at it. I could stay on the phone. And I dialed the phone – for the first couple of years I worked in sales – I dialed the phone like a mad man. It was just brute force. I would dial, and dial and dial until I got some connection. There was really no strategy at that time.

I will tell you – and it still makes a difference for salespeople – there’s always somebody who wants salespeople to take more action, and have more activity and effectiveness matters a lot. But there is something to be said for activity and activity does cure low activity every time. And I had very high activity. And when you have very high activity, you do get lucky. Winning the $10 million, I had somebody coach me, and help me through that opportunity and eventually had to help me close it. But you don’t get in front of them if you don’t pick up the phone and make the call.

Mike Zipursky: You told me that consultants don’t think enough about sales, but it’s obviously a critical part of becoming successful. I’m wondering what are your thoughts as to the biggest challenges that consultants face when it comes to sales?

Anthony Iannarino: I look at a problem with sales through three sort of lenses. The first lens is mindset, the second is skill set and the third is tool kit. But for consultants, they’re really smart people. They’re good thinkers. They have a great ability to create value. The problem is mindset. And so they don’t think of themselves as salespeople.

In fact, I was with a group of consultants yesterday and I said to one of them “You are the most pure salesperson in this room.” And he said “Oh my gosh! Why would you say that to me?” and I meant it as a compliment. And in his mind, he took it – where we started this conversation – as something negative. But you can’t put it on that mantle of salesperson.

I think I’ve shared this story with you. I spoke at the Ohio Growth Summit a couple of months ago and it’s a room of small business people, consultants and entrepreneurs. And I said “Raise your hand if you’re on commission-only sales.” and not a single hand goes up. And I said “Now, raise your hand if your ability to sustain your business, to create value for other people, to grow your business to do the thing that you’d set out to do when you started on this path and you got this dream. If anything that comes into your life financially or otherwise is through your ability to persuade other people, to create value with them, to collaborate and to do something that looks like sales.” and every hand goes up and they start to realize ‘Wait a second, I only make money if I sell.’

The crime for most consultants – and I know a lot of them, and I know a lot of people who look at what I’ve done and said ‘I want to do what you’re doing.’ And they have every ability to create value for people, but I say “What’s your client acquisition plan?” and they say “I’m going to start a website.” And I say – yeah, you laughed right out of the gate. You’re like ‘Yeah, good luck with that.’ right? Because the website’s great and the internet’s littered. It’s a graveyard of people that hung or shingle up on the web thinking that ‘If I build it, they will come.’ It takes a lot more than that.

But once you put on the mantle ‘I am a salesperson because salesperson means that I find a way to open up opportunities, to create value for other people. And by creating value for other people, I’m allowed to capture some of it.’ and that’s all we’re really doing. Once you put that mantle on, it’s easy to take the sales actions that you need to take. And once you accept that that’s part of your role and part of what you have to do, it gets a lot easier.

Mike Zipursky: That mindset that you’re talking about and the shift that people need to make just sounds so critical. It’s almost like the word ‘sales’ has a bad stigma attached to it and if we could change it to value delivery or something that people would – it’s the same kind of result that you’re delivering but a different word, not that we need you, but it’s almost if we could, it might open so many more people’s eyes to the idea that they need to actually engage in this, and they shouldn’t be scared of it and it’s not a bad thing. It’s a necessary thing and it can be a beautiful thing because you’re providing value, and return, you get some of that value.

Anthony Iannarino: I liken it to your walking down the beach, and there’s somebody drowning and you walk by and say “God! If they’d only yell for my help, I would go help them.” And you go ‘Man, I’m just going to wait and look at them for a while and see. They’re not asking for my help. I guess I’ll keep walking on.’ and you know they’re drowning out there. You’ve got to just get into water and go try to help them because they’re going to die without you. That’s the truth for many of us.

We have the ability to help. People need our help, but they’re not going to find you. You have to raise your hand. This is why so many people in our space love social media because it’s the ability to put something out there and be able to get people to raise their hand, but the people that are failing at it once somebody does raise their hand, they don’t think about what that sales process needs to look like, and what they need to ask for and the commitments they need to gain to move those sales along. And if they did think of it through that pure sales lens, they would immediately improve the result.

Mike Zipursky: You mentioned client acquisition where we’re talking about kind of that process right now. Let’s get into today’s action byte and you’re going to share your early morning routine which, I mean, really allows you to kind of crush it in your space when it comes to marketing and building your business.

And you told me also a story of one lady that called or maybe she emailed you to report kind of her success with the strategy. It would be great if you could share it for all of our listeners.

Anthony Iannarino: My routine was almost destroyed for tomorrow when I just got home and realized we’re out of coffee. But our neighbors, we took their mail…while they were gone and they left us a little coffee and mug with some Jamaican coffee in it. I’m not sure if it’s going to be up to my standards, but it’s all we’ve got so it’s necessary.

The routine starts for me at 5:00 and my alarm clock is off at 5:00 every day. I have the coffee pot set to go off at 5:00 also. And so I get up and I spend, literally, the first hour and a half to two hours a day on marketing and following up on sales activity. And for me it starts with writing the blog post for www.TheSalesBlog.com because that’s where all of my activity – that’s my main hub.

This, again, you’ve learned this about me: I’m a brute force guy. So I posted a blog entry there every day since December 28 of 2009 with the exception of 10 days. I was in Tibet in 2010 and I just thought it would be poor form to be at Mt. Everest writing blog posts instead of taking that in.

Mike Zipursky: That’s understandable.

Anthony Iannarino: So I’ve been writing, and writing and writing. I’ve been sharing ideas and sharing ideas. But I put marketing first. It’s coffee and then it’s writing. And what I’ve discovered about the writing process – and I had always heard that writers write really early in the morning. I’ve come to discover, one, when you wake up, your mind is clean. The world hasn’t started making demands of you yet so you’ve still got all your psychic RAM. You’ve still got your best thinking because your brain is working. At least that’s the case for many of us. I have some friends who say 11 o’clock at night’s the best time for them. And maybe their brain is in its peak form at that time. But there’s no interruptions.

On the way to get coffee, I step over my dogs. They don’t even wake up. They want nothing to do with me that early in the morning. Kids don’t. Wife doesn’t. Businesses don’t. So you can get a lot of work done in a relatively short period of time. That hour and a half is like 3 or 4 hours any other time of the day.

And then from there, I can get into other things but I’ve gotten the client acquisition piece, the main thing that I’m doing to generate traffic to the site, to generate value for people who read is by putting the blog post out there, creating connections, building my mailing list which grows every single day and I just get inquiry after inquiry.

I told you – I think maybe we connected over the fact that you’ve sent me a note saying ‘The link to your B2BSalesCoach.com site is down.’ and it is down because I had to take it down because I can’t take any more business which is a great problem to have.  And it gives you a sense of how effective this kind of a strategy could be.

So onto the story that you asked me to tell. At the Ohio Growth Summit, a woman came up to me afterwards and said “I don’t get up early in the morning. I don’t have a strategy for writing posts. And I’m in this content marketing space and I’m a copywriter. You get up at 5:00 every day?” and I said “Yes” and she said “Okay, I’ll do that but I’m not going to write a blog post 7 days a week. I’ll only write one 5 days a week. Do you think that’ll help me?” And I said “Well, how many are you writing now?” and she said “Really, none.” And I said “Yeah, it’ll help you. There’s no question that it’ll help you.”

And so maybe 6 weeks have gone by and I got an email saying ‘I’ve been getting up at 5:00. Some days a little later. Some days 4:30. And so far I’ve landed 2 new accounts and I’ve got 2 more prospects in the pipeline that I’m certain I’m going to win. This has totally transformed my business. And thank you so much. This has changed my life.’ And I think that it can have that kind of results for people.

If you go out and you put marketing and sales first, you tend to grow your clients and you tend to do really well. And if you pretend that there’s going to be time later and you try to take care of everything else but that sales and marketing piece, eventually, you run out of runway.

Mike Zipursky: You know what? I think, Anthony, if I don’t dig a little bit deeper here, all of my listeners are going to email me and complain.

I understand you’re writing daily. You’re putting up an article on your blog. But what else are you doing? What other considerations? I mean, can someone just go and write on their topic and expect that they’re going to get inquiries and land clients? What other pieces are going on? Or what else are you doing? How are you approaching – writing the blog pieces? Are you thinking about keywords?

Anthony Iannarino: No

Mike Zipursky: What else is happening that’s allowing this to work?

Anthony Iannarino: I think about what do I need to write to actually help someone with a challenge that they’re having right now? So I’m thinking about the people that want to hire me. What are they faced with? And I’m writing the answers.

I tell this story to people: I had one old consultant call me and rip my face off because he didn’t like the fact that I’m giving my intellectual property away. And he said “You’re a dummy! You’re supposed to save your intellectual property and you’re giving it all away. Anybody can just print your blog post if they want to. And you’re dumb enough to put an archive link up there where they can go back to the last 4 years of what you’ve done.” I let him rip me for a little while and as the conversation went on he said “And by the way, how are you getting all these clients?”

In his view, I’m giving my content away and it’s costing me something. But in my view, he’s smarter than I am, he’s been consulting longer than I am, he probably has a greater ability to help some groups of people than I do, but no one knows it. He’s a secret agent. I tend to think of things through the lens of what’s the buyer looking for? And the buyer is either dissatisfied or they should be dissatisfied so I write things to help people see the gap between where they are and where they might be. And then buyers are also looking to recognize their needs. So I write things that help them understand what they might need if they’re faced with a certain problem. And then they try to evaluate their options. But one thing they do when they evaluate their options is decide ‘Who do I think can help me?’ And when you’ve had the chance to be in somebody’s inbox for hundreds of days, if they’ve gotten your newsletter every week for a couple of years, you’re the person that they start to look to for those answers. And I’ve gotten the permission to come in to their inbox, and to have conversations and share with them. It’s a natural fit.

Mike Zipursky: So for someone that’s listening to this and saying ‘Okay, this is great. I’d like to get the same kinds of results.’ If they get started, how quickly do you think that they’re going to be able to see some sort of traction? I mean, when you started your blog, what kind of timeline were you looking at before you started to see some results from it?

Anthony Iannarino: When I started posting daily. I bought the blog in 2007 and I really did nothing with it. And then as ’09 started to creep along, I was reading Seth Godin everyday and watching what he was doing. I was watching Chris Brogan who’s now a good friend of mine and Chris was writing a lot about how to use the social web to connect with customers. Then he wrote the book ‘Trust Agents’, and I read Trust Agents and honestly, I didn’t get it the first reading. It took me a couple readings to get what he was saying. When I read it the first time, I kind of intellectualized it, but the second time I was like ‘Oh, this is a recipe book.’ You’re just supposed to follow the recipes. And I’m like ‘Okay, now I get it.’ So I started following the recipe.

And in that December, I went and I told my wife “I’m going to get up at 5:00 in the morning. I’ve got this thing to share and I’m going to start writing a blog post every day. And within a year, I’ll be keynoting sales conferences for $10,000 a speech.” And she said “I really don’t understand any of what you just said, but it sounds like a really good plan to me.”

I got up and I started writing. And I got my first speaking gig from the blog, October of that year. It took 10 months of writing every day. But I did more than that so I connected with a community like you’re doing here. I built connections. I shared everything from everybody else on my space. I have a tribe right now of about 35-40 people in the sales world. They’re consultants and trainers, and I share all their stuff. I share all my competitor’s stuff and they share mine. I built that presence over time, but it really took about 10 months before I got the traction.

If you’re going to approach this, it does take time. But I will tell you: good content, it will definitely make a difference. And the frequency – it doesn’t have to be every day, but there needs to be some regular frequency where people can feel this connection to you but they don’t if you just blog sporadically.

Mike Zipursky: Right. So what you’re saying is frequency, valuable post, educational articles for your ideal clients – the people that you want to connect with and then you also engaged and connected with other people in your industry even if they’re competitors which might seem counterintuitive to some people, but it’s obviously working for you.

And then anything else along those lines? Were you doing any other kind of social media that helped you? Any kind of advertising? Anything? Search engine optimization?

Anthony Iannarino: I don’t ever think about search engine optimization. I use Synthesis from Coffee Blogger. I have no idea what the score [29:43] means or what I’m supposed to change. And some scores – it’s almost like a game for me. I can get like ‘Hey, I got two 100s.’ I have no idea how I did that and then other days I get 35 and 42, and I hit the publish button anyway. It doesn’t mean anything to me. I don’t think that that’s what matters. I think that you make a connection with people and that’s what really, really connects.

I did use AdWords when I started the coaching and consulting thing early on and I had success with AdWords without having any kind of blog. I don’t know what it would do if I had what I have now with AdWords, but I don’t feel like I need it from this point because I’m at the point where I’m turning business away.

Mike Zipursky: Right. And so when people they read your articles and they contact you, do you have a specific process that you’re using to kind of turn them from people that are just inquiring into actual business that the people could benefit from?

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah, mostly it starts with me trying to understand their challenges, their problem sets and their goals because there are a lot of people who I can’t help. I don’t want to spend time with people I can’t help although some of them would like me to spend time with them because they read me and think ‘Well, you’re the guy to help me.’ but sometimes I’m not. Sometimes they need somebody with a different background and mind to help them. I’m not a B2C guy. I’m a B2B guy. And if they’re B2C, I’m not the right guy. Some of them were in commission-only gigs which I’m opposed to when it’s a young person and they’re just being taken advantage of. It’s tough for me to help them because really, what they need is a good coach, a good teacher, a good sales manager so I really start with this qualifying.

At some point when your business gets big enough, you start with money as a disqualifier because you have to raise your rate when you run out of hours and so you keep raising your rate and that knocks some people out of your pipeline right out of the gate.

Mike Zipursky: How much time will you typically invest when someone inquires and they’re interested in working with you or they send you an email and say ‘Hey, I’d like to get some help, coaching and some support for my B2B sales process and for my organization.’ How much time will you typically spend with that person? What kind of interactions would you have before you actually start charging them?

Anthony Iannarino: I will have a full hour discussion just to figure out where they are and how I can help them. It may not be through coaching or consulting. It may be me giving them some different advice or telling them to go to somebody else who’s better suited for their problem. But I’ll spend an hour with them if I can.

Mike Zipursky: And do you do a certain level – are you doing qualification before you spend that hour with them to find out? Do you have any kind of assessment?

Anthony Iannarino: No

Mike Zipursky: So someone could just send you an email and say ‘Hey, I’m interested in getting help.’ and you’ll get on the phone with them for potentially an hour?

Anthony Iannarino: Yeah. It normally takes me some time. Somebody who’s not a client right now may be a client later on. It may be me giving them the help that I can give them and pointing them in the right direction. Later on they say ‘Hey, he’s a good guy. We should think about him for something else.’ Who knows? Try to be nice to everybody.

Mike Zipursky: Anthony, finally, you’re writing daily and for people that don’t consider themselves writers, any recommendations for them as to what they can do to become better at writing?

Anthony Iannarino: Read Stephen King on writing. Writing Wells – read those things.

Again, it’s like swimming. We’re back to that. Is that the more you do it, the better you get. And if you want to make the best mistake you can make, I can share my favorite one that I did early on and I still have the blog post to prove it. I typed right into WordPress. If you want grammatical errors and spelling errors that you can’t see that are invisible to you and horribly embarrassing, write directly into WordPress instead of something with a really good grammar and spell-checker.

Mike Zipursky: But that didn’t hold you back, obviously.

Anthony Iannarino: No, it didn’t. But at some point I went ‘I’ve got to do something different.’ And I switched to Word where I had a reasonable shot at picking that stuff up. I’m still not the best editor in the world.

Mike Zipursky: Well, but that goes to show that you don’t have to be a perfectionist. You don’t have to be perfect every time. You can still achieve a lot just by giving a really good effort.

Anthony Iannarino: More action – that helps.

Mike Zipursky: Well Anthony, again, thanks so much. I appreciate your time and you sharing with all of our listeners. Thanks so much. It’s been a lot of fun.

Anthony Iannarino: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

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  • vinodh

    Hi,
    This is the only blog on the web where experience of real world consultants are posted periodically. mike you have become guru of consulting profession.
    regards
    vinodh

    • http://www.consulting-business.com/ Michael Zipursky

      Happy to help Vinodh.

  • Stepp

    Mike, I have been a consultant for 15 years full time. I enjoyed reading through this interview. Learning from others helps me fine tune my own skills. Thanks Stepp Sydnor

    • http://www.consulting-business.com/ Michael Zipursky

      Stepp – glad to hear it! Thanks for letting me know.

  • Wozniak LLC

    This was a great resource. You produce quality work. Thanks.

    • http://www.consulting-business.com/ Michael Zipursky

      Thanks Wozniak!

  • http://www.socialsinergy.com/ Adam Dukes

    Any way top download these podcasts? I’d love to put them on my phone so I have something to listen to at the gym. Would be greatly appreciated.

    • http://www.consulting-business.com/ Michael Zipursky

      Adam – you should be able to grab that all here: https://itunes.apple.com/ca/podcast/business-consulting-buzz-podcast/id600106614 and if you’d like to leave a review and add your rating that would be great!

      • http://www.socialsinergy.com/ Adam Dukes

        Perfect! I ended up listening via the website last night at the gym, but like having it on my phone to listen to anytime.

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