The Only Sales Guide You'll Ever Need

By: Anthony Iannarino



What this book is about

There is no easy fix to becoming the kind of salesperson who generates world-class results on a consistent basis. But there is a path to that destination, and Anthony Iannarino is your guide from beginning to end.

In this book you'll learn the 9 mindsets and the 8 skillsets you need to master in order to become a world class salesperson.

Part 1: Mindset: The beliefs and behaviours of sales success

Self Discipline

Some of the most important commitments you make in this life are the ones you make to yourself. In fact, each of the elements of sales success depend on it.

There are three qualities you need to develop to increase your level of self-discipline: willpower (acting now in spite of no immediate reward), fortitude (courage in adversity), and accountability.

There are five ways you can develop those qualities:

  1. Create a discipline list. These are the things you do on a daily/weekly/monthly basis that create the ultimate results you want;
  2. Do the things you hate doing first;
  3. Make your commitments in writing;
  4. Make your commitments public;
  5. Eliminate distractions and multitasking.


Sales is hard and full of rejection. Without a steady dose of optimism, it's almost a certainty that you'll give up before you reach mastery level.

How you deal with your failures will determine your future. An optimist deals with failure by accepting it, embracing it, and learning from it.

To give you the ability to react that way to your failures, here are five practices to help you develop your optimism muscles:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal. Start with writing down three things you are grateful for each day.
  2. Keep a record of the value you create. Reminding yourself of your successes will help you realize that you've created success in the past, and your next one is right around the corner.
  3. Discard unhealthy beliefs. Write down the beliefs that are holding you back, and what's at stake if you don't let them go.
  4. Avoid cynics, critics, and burnouts. Surround yourself with supportive and growth-minded people instead.
  5. Go on a negativity fast. Skip the news and gossip columns.


Caring about your customers is critical to your success, and is all about the desire to (a) understand what they want, and (b) create positive outcomes for them.

It requires you to be empathetic for, intimate with, and present to your customers needs.

Here are five ways you can turn caring, which is usually free, into a competitive advantage:

  1. Be a student of people. Always pay careful attention to verbal cues and body language when talking to your customers.
  2. Put yourself in the customer's shoes. Put yourself in the customers' position and feel what they are feeling.
  3. Listen for and accept your customers' interpretation. Accept that their interpretation of events and facts are true, for them.
  4. Make caring an action. It isn't enough to think the right thoughts, you have to do the right things.
  5. Remember the little things. Follow up. Thank your customers for orders. Make sure they get their outcomes delivered, not just the product.


Sales is a zero-sum game. One salesperson wins the business, and everybody else gets nothing. So, sales requires the ability to be a strong competitor.

A strong competitor is the combination of three attributes: desire (wanting it enough), heart (the ability to work hard over the long term), and action (obvious, but worth stating).

Here are three ways you can ignite your competitive spirit:

  1. Play your game. Don't play your competitor's games.
  2. Study your wins and losses. This is critical to not repeating the same mistakes over and over.
  3. Leave no weapon unfired. Think widely about what resources you have available to you, and use them all.


After the sale has been made, you need to continue to be resourceful to your customers. Sometimes, for decades. Why? Because your customers continue to get hit with new challenges that require them to produce new results.

Here are 5 ways you can be more resourceful now:

  1. Spend time thinking. Schedule at least an hour per week just to think about creatively solving your customers' current or future problems.
  2. Generate ideas. There's a saying that the only way to create great ideas is to create a lot of ideas. So, get used to doing that.
  3. Explore ideas without judgement. Don't play devil's advocate in this stage.
  4. Identify alternatives. Use your current ideas to find even more new ideas. Combine some ideas together to make a new one, as an example.
  5. Stay positive. This is hard work, and requires you to stay in a positive frame of mind while you do it.


You need to constantly keep yourself in motion. That requires you to be proactive, engaged, and innovative.

Here are three ways that you can ensure that you always remain in motion:

  1. Get ideas from your team. Get a monthly meeting in the calendar where you meet as a team to get new and fresh perspectives about how to add value to your clients.
  2. Build on your experience. You have a large reservoir of past experience in different industries. Pull from those to understand how to apply insights in one industry to another.
  3. Swim against the industry tide. Analyse the way your client's industry currently does things, and then generate ways in which it could be done differently. Some of those "different" ways will be "better".


What does persistence look like?

Here's a true story from Anthony's past. He called one of his dream clients every week for seventy-five weeks and left, you guessed it, seventy-five voice-mail messages. And, you guessed it again, he eventually got the order.

The idea with persistence is that you want to give yourself the best possible chance of being in the right place at the right time.

Of course, you want to do it in a way that doesn't make you come across as a nuisance, so every communication should include value-producing information.

Here are three ways to improve and apply persistence to your sales routine.

  1. Reframe setbacks. Failures allow you to make adjustments and improve. View them that way.
  2. Reset the game clock. Every time you don't make a sale, move the game clock back to the beginning and start again.
  3. Try something new. When you are thinking of an outcome you are trying to achieve, come up with a list of actions that can get you one step closer to the goal.


The best salespeople know that the most important communication tool you have in your arsenal are a great set of questions and the ability to listen well.

In the early stages of the sales cycle, any statements about you or your company should be in response to client questions only.

How do you get better at communicating? Here are things you can do to get you started:

  1. Practice being an exceptional listener. Don't be planning your response as your prospects answer your questions.
  2. Put yourself in their shoes. Try using their words to explain your ideas and you'll come across as somebody who understands their world.
  3. Master the art of asking great questions.
  4. Write, rehearse, and use scripts. Thinking on your feet is a necessity, but you should be using scripts for as much of the process as possible. Knowing what works and then executing on that is critical.


There's an old saying that "People don't want to buy a quarter inch drill. They want a quarter inch hole."

Your customers are interested in outcomes, and what you sell is only a means of obtaining it.

The insight here is that you need to become accountable for producing results for your clients, and here are three ways you can start to get better at it:

  1. Move from products and solutions to outcomes. You are selling outcomes in the form of better performance or accelerated results.
  2. Verify, verify, verify. Always ensure that the result you are selling is being accomplished.
  3. Take responsibility for the outcome. You are ultimately responsible for what you sold, whether you like it or not.
  4. Get help and rally your troops. From the outset, do whatever you need to do with the resources you have to ensure that your client is going to get the outcome they want.

Part 2: Skill Sets: The abilities of sales success


In order to sell, you need to be able to get people to make commitments. Sales has become more and more complex over time, and it now requires you to master the ten (yes, ten!) commitments to close a sale.

  1. Commitment of time. The first thing you need to get a commitment for is their time.
  2. Commitment to explore. Your clients need to commit to exploring what a working relationship with you would look like.
  3. The commitment to change. It’s likely implementing your solution will require change.
  4. The commitment to collaborate. Your client must be willing to make the leap to make “your solution”, “our solution.”
  5. The commitment to build consensus. Winning complex deals requires buy-in from many stakeholders.
  6. The commitment to invest. Your dream clients need to be willing to invest time, energy, and money.
  7. The commitment to review your solution. You need to get this commitment from all stakeholders in the process.
  8. The commitment to resolve concerns. You need a commitment from the prospect to give feedback on your proposed solution so your have an opportunity to resolve concerns.
  9. The commitment to decide. You need to get them to agree to move the process forward together.
  10. The commitment to execute. This comes after the sale, but it’s critical to get the results and outcomes you sold them.

There are 3 things you can do to improve your chances of getting a yes for each one of those commitments.

  1. Know your outcome. Know what commitment you are working towards at each stage of the process.
  2. Use natural, honest language. Don’t use tricks or manipulation. Be polite, professional, and direct.
  3. Ask for commitments after creating value. If you are creating value in every stage of the process, it is much easier to ask for the commitment in return.


If you want to close deals, you need a strong prospecting plan and execution strategy.

Here’s a five point plan to help you get started quickly.

  1. Identify your targets. A list of sixty dream clients is a good place to start. You can contact fifteen per week and have time left over for other prospecting work.
  2. Focus on nurturing dream clients. The idea here, as Anthony says, is to “create value before you claim any.” Prove you are a value creator.
  3. Build campaigns. Your first “touch” might be a connection request on LinkedIn, followed by a personal email that includes value added content, without asking for anything in return (yet).
  4. Used planned dialogues. Don’t wing it. You only get one chance to make a first impression. Make sure it counts.
  5. Make prospecting a daily discipline. Sending three value added emails and making three personal phone calls should only take you an hour per day. Get that in your calendar.


The best way to sell outcomes is to tell a story that envisions a brighter future for your prospect.

The ingredients of a great story include a hero (your client), an assistant (you), challenges the hero faces, a “dragon” that must be overcome, a vision for a brighter future, values, and finally, a wonderful outcome.

Here are some things you can do to become a better storyteller.

  1. Find the Arc. Every great story has a progression of events that brings the hero to a climatic event.
  2. Find the details that bring your story to life. Make sure there are enough details to make your story feel real and alive.
  3. Be entertaining. This is easier said than done, but try including an amusing anecdote or story that you experienced in the past, that is relevant to the prospect.


Before you can tell the story, you first need to understand where your prospect wants to go. This requires you to dig down to the root cause of the prospect’s pain.

As you’ve probably heard before, asking “why” many times while listening to your client will help you drill down into the root issue.

Here are 5 ways you can improve your diagnosis, quickly:

  1. Don’t interpret your prospects experience through your own. Don’t lead with your experience, allow the client to tell you theirs.
  2. Don’t ignore your client’s vision. Your prospect might have different ideas about what a solution looks like than you do. Always start from there, instead of brushing that solution aside.
  3. Consider the constraints and obstacles. It’s critical to uncover things that will hinder the implementation of a solution. Understanding the financial, process, or external constraints in the way is critical.
  4. Ask the difficult questions. “What is the cost of not improving performance?” Or “why hasn’t the problem been solved before?”.
  5. Allow your prospect to teach you how to win. Remain curious and patient throughout the process and your prospect will show you how to win the deal.


Mark Hunter, the author of High-Profit Selling, reminds us to “never negotiate the value the customer will receive.”

Sometimes you’ll get to the end of the sales process, and your client will ask you for a price break. Your response should be to remind your prospect that the pricing model you presented was engineered to get the exact results required.

Here are 4 tools to help you become a win-win negotiator:

  1. Remember that you can walk away. You must negotiate a win-win deal, or nothing at all.
  2. Don’t negotiate until you are selected. If you are asked about price, respond by asking whether or not you are selected.
  3. Negotiate only once. Be certain that your first negotiation is your final negotiation.
  4. Speak honestly and creatively about sticking points. Great negotiators create winning agreements despite conflicting needs.

Business Acumen

Prospecting, storytelling, and closing are what Iannarino calls “first generation” sales skills. Then, we have value creation, which he calls “second generation” sales skills. These are all necessary, but insufficient to excel in today’s environment.

To succeed today, you need to have (you guessed it) “third generation” sales skills, which requires you know actually know how business works. Market strategy, unique value propositions, financial metrics, and a bunch of other stuff that when combined, actually helps your client company produce better results.

Here are 7 things you can do to raise the level of your business acumen:

  1. Read business books and magazines. This is the lowest cost eduction you can get.
  2. Read non-fiction books that have nothing to do with business. This will give you situational knowledge;
  3. Find company tutors. Your colleagues know enough to help you get up to speed.
  4. Get mentors. Lots of other people in your network can help, too.
  5. Let the client teach you his business. This is the working person’s MBA.
  6. Write down what you learn. This will help you recall and refresh your knowledge over time.
  7. Get a formal education. This is expensive, but helpful for a bunch of reasons.

Change Management

In most cases, implementing your solution in an organisation is going to require significant change in your client’s business.

Here are 5 things you can do to help make this change possible:

  1. Identify and build your team. Who do you need on your team inside the client’s organisation? Who will benefit most from your solution? Who has the most influence internally to create change? Get these people on your side.
  2. Identify the obstacles to change. One of the biggest obstacles, always, are the people in the company that oppose the changes your solution requires.
  3. Deal with conflicting interests. Make a list of all potential conflicts, and devise solutions to them long before you make your presentation to stakeholders.
  4. Build and sell the case for killing the status quo. In order to do that you need to clearly demonstrate why the status quo is either undesirable or dangerous.
  5. Play politics. If you need to, modify parts of your offer to win over enough people so that you can actually execute the deal.


Leadership is something you have to earn as a salesperson. And even if you don't have a formal leadership title, you'll still have to lead the people in your organisation to get the results your client expects and deserves.

Here are 3 things you can do to improve your ability to lead others.

  1. Read and study leadership. Don't like reading? Choose books with numbers in the title, because they've done the work already.
  2. Learn to "own the outcome.' No matter what, take responsibility for the results your client receives.
  3. Lead from the front. Be in the action, leading through example.

In this book you'll learn the 9 mindsets and the 8 skillsets you need to master in order to become a world class salesperson.


So there you have it - everything you need to start developing the 9 mindsets and the 8 skillsets you need to master in order to become a world class salesperson.

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