Commitment to Excellence – A Review of The Lost Art of Closing by Anthony Iannarino
As an author of a bestselling book on closing myself, I eagerly anticipated Anthony Iannarino’s new title The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales. Let me cut to the chase – this book is brilliant. Anthony Iannarino manages to accomplish the impossible by clearly defining a set of micro-commitments that are necessary to successfully close the sale – that apply to every type of sale.
This is no small achievement. There are many different types of sales: B2B, B2C, complex, single-call, etc. Offering solid advice that works for every type of sale – let alone a very specific and prescriptive formula – is an extremely challenging task. Here Anthony’s years of experience of writing daily for his blog (The Sales Blog) which serves a wide audience probably makes him the only person who could have written this book.
The Lost Art of Closing refines the concept of “Sales Advances” as defined by Niel Rackham in his seminal work SPIN Selling and categorizes the types of micro-commitments necessary for the culmination of a successful sale. It really goes beyond this in fact, by suggesting a logical sequence to these commitments – again that apply to every type of sale. This framework is a massive benefit to sellers of all kinds.
The Philosophy of Gaining Commitments
Right out of the shoot the book addresses the number one challenge that salespeople tend to have – fear and reluctance – by offering what will be a paradigm-shifting philosophy for most readers. And that is that sales is service. Now that’s my term, not his. Anthony describes it this way: “Selling isn’t something you do to someone. It is something you do for someone and with someone.” Customers are seeking a positive change of some kind and helping them make the micro-commitments necessary to achieve that positive change is an act of service. There is no reason to fear or hesitate when you are helping and in the service of others.
Yet change – even positive change for the better – can be hard. So Anthony invests time in outlining a process that helps facilitate the positive change that customers want in their lives. In fact, one could argue that sales is more about helping customers navigate change than anything else, and Anthony addresses this in a most excellent fashion.
The 10 Commitments That Drive Sales
Here are the ten commitments that drive sales:
- The Commitment for Time
- The Commitment to Explore
- The Commitment to Change
- The Commitment to Collaborate
- The Commitment to Build Consensus
- The Commitment to Invest
- The Commitment to Review
- The Commitment to Resolve Concerns
- The Commitment to Decide
- The Commitment to Execute
Anthony devotes a chapter to each of these commitments. The format he follows for each one is immanently practical an in a style that only Anthony can do.
Each chapter offers discussion, philosophy and specific advice for the most common challenges in each area. Specific phraseology and sample vignettes are given for each commitment. Every chapter is very prescriptive and something that every sales professional will be able to comfortably adapt to their own style. I very much applaud this formula for both its structure and economy because I know how much it is desired and needed by sales professionals seeking to improve their game.
Complex or Simple?
I’ve seen a couple of comments suggesting that The Lost Art of Closing applies only to complex sales. I completely disagree with this. Even within a single-call close all of these elements still take place – albeit much faster. Dissect your calls and you’ll discover that they are all there. And in that regard Anthony’s formula represents an excellent way to analyze and refine the sequence and cadence of your dialog. Investing the time to do so will pay you handsomely. You may even discover that you were missing a step that has been holding you back.
So what do we have here?
The Lost Art of Closing is simply a fantastic reference and tool for every salesperson new or experienced. I guarantee even the most seasoned veteran will find a way to improve in each of the commitment areas. My first time through the book I found myself saying “Wow, I’m going to read that again.” Given that I read over 100 books a year (most of which are on sales) that’s quite an accomplishment. And, Iannarino accomplishes this in an economy of words that is simply amazing. The style is outstanding and the book clips right along and pulls you through it. This book simply hits the bulls-eye. Tactical, specific and applicable advice in a minimum amount of words. All in an area that every sales professional can find value. I defy any sales professional to walk away from this book without becoming a better version of who they are.
Bang for the buck, books are the most valuable resource ever. And The Lost Art of Closing is among the best of the best ever. It’s easily my favorite title of 2018 and I recommend The Lost Art of Closing to sales professionals both new and old. I give it my highest recommendation. Read it today. You’ll be glad you did.
You can find The Lost Art of Closing: Winning the Ten Commitments That Drive Sales on Amazon HERE.
Until next time!