On this episode of the Massimo Show

Rod sits down with speaker, author, business savant, and leader of B2B sales approach and consultancy, Anthony Iannarino.  

Anthony was raised by a single mom, who was raised by a single mom and what he liked to do most in high school was not be there. He spent a lot of energy trying to get out of school and when he got to high school, he had an experience that shaped his life.  

“We were very poor.  We ate mac and cheese, hamburger helper or fish sticks” Anthony tells Rod. Foods Anthony would never eat again. At 13, A friend of his got him a job washing dishes at Villa Milanos.  Anthony would put in 40-50 hours a week.  “They would feed me lasagna, prime rib and chocolate mousse” he recalls.  “Joey Milano’s mother would come around and say ‘you are so skinny you need to eat more!’”.  That’s when Anthony fell in love with work…and good food! He was floored by the idea that they would pay him to work and feed him and if he needed a reason to skip school before he’d certainly found it now. 

But work and food weren’t Anthony’s only passions. He also loved music.  He started a band that went though a few members and name changes but eventually they were in LA. Despite his love for his metal band LA is not a cheap town and Anthony had to get a job. 

Anthony found himself in an outside sales role out selling all of the other sales guys and feeling as though he was really helping people. With a good job and a band on the rise he was feeling great. But he learned that things change quickly. 

A change of…Brain 

One day Anthony had a grand mal seizure walking to his apartment.  He was taken to UCLA where they found a giant spot on the front right lobe of his brain.  They told him he had cancer and he needed a lobectomy but he asked for a second opinion.

“They said it could be an Arteriovenous Malformation.  That is a congenital disease where arteries and veins grow into a knot.” Anthony explains to Rod.  After testing, it turned out Anthony had the largest AVM they had seen. He had several long surgeries that resulted in a small part of his brain being damaged and removed. 

At 25 he was considered brain damaged, with no college degree and no real plan for recovery. 

But after surgery, Anthony recognized it was like his brain was on fire, in a good way.  He was easily reading a book a day and felt like he was making more neural connections. “My neurologist said we have no evidence that is true, you are freaking out because we cut a piece of your brain off.” Anthony tells Rod. But it turns out the doctors were wrong. There is a lot of plasticity in the brain and we now know a trauma like this can create new neuroconnections.  

That is when Anthony went to college. He completed a 4 year degree in three years working full time and went on to take the LSAT scoring in the top 15%. He got the Dean’s academic scholarship to law school but after receiving his law degree, he decided business was a better place for him. Anthony was fortunate enough to go back into the family business and attended Harvard Business school, graduating with his OPM in 2005.  The family business was temporary staffing. 

When Anthony took over the family business and became the sales leader he had to figure out how to transfer his knowledge to other people who may not have the character traits or skills.  “It took me a while to figure out how to help people recognize they had assumptions that were out of line with reality.” Anthony tells Rod. “My job is to teach them what reality requires of them and then have difficult conversations to make sure they could make decisions even if they weren’t happy about it.”  When Antony first started at the company the revenue was at 3M.  It grew to 50M. 

“What you are really doing when you are selling is helping facilitate a decision for your client about what and how they need to do it.”  

Putting Pen to Paper

The very first publisher that contacted Anthony about writing a book asked him for a manuscript, and he delivered 17 Elements: The Periodic Table of Sales Success. It included the idea that Mindset and skill sets are what one needs to succeed in sales. Character traits dominate the skills and the acquisition and willingness of the skill to be able to try new things.  Anthony defined some of the elements as:

  • Discipline
  • Optimism
  • Caring 
  • Competitiveness
  • Resourcefulness
  • Determination
  • Initiatives
  • Communication
  • Accountability

Over twenty-five years, Anthony has boiled down everything he’s learned and tested into one convenient book that explains what all successful sellers, regardless of industry or organization, share: a mind-set of powerful beliefs and a skill-set of key actions. 

Listen in as Rod and Anthony talk about being optimistic about the future and still doing what needs to be done. 


Anthony Iannarino

Anthony Iannarino · The Sales Blog

Anthony Iannarino is the Founder and CEO of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting firm. With individual and corporate training and a sales-focused learning management system, Anthony helps salespeople and organizations grow, develop, and reach their full potential.

  • 17 Elements: The Periodic Table of Sales Success
  • The Only Sales Guide You’ll Ever Need