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BANT Sucks, Brand You Is Critical, And Why We Need Better Sales People

I did a fireside chat for the Denver Enterprise Meet Up.  I don’t know what came over me, but I was in rare form. I was fired up.

I shared my thoughts on the state of sales organizations today. On the patheticness that is BANT (Budget, Authority, Need, and Timing). I talk about how salespeople struggle with finding true business problems and more.

It’s an hour, but absolutely worth it. It’s one of the more intimate engagements I’ve done in a while.

Enjoy!

Can You Compete And Win In The 21st Century? [Quiz]

 

80% of people aren’t ready for the 21st Century

This means fewer job opportunities, lower salaries, fewer promotions, more failed businesses, and more for those not ready.

The Information Age has ushered in a new era of success and with it a whole new set of skills.

How do you stack up?

Are your skills up to par for the 21st Century or are you part of the 80% of people who aren’t ready?

Take this 21st Century readiness quiz now and find out how prepared you are to be successful in today’s new world.

The price of not being ready is MASSIVE.

Take this 3 minute quiz below and find out if your ready NOW!

Watch What Would Have Been Called Impossible, Happen!

We’ve all done it. If you say you haven’t, you’re a liar, and therefore, you probably do it more than most people.  We’re guilty of saying something can’t be done or that something is impossible. We’ve all been the Debbie Downer arguing something won’t work under the guise of being realistic. We do this all too often, but the truth is, we’re being victimized by our limitations and putting it on everyone else.

Watch this:

 

Imagine some guy, cause in the 1950’s it would have been a “guy” sitting around saying, we can’t do this in less than 1 minute.  I can already picture him arguing that it “can’t” be done. And from his perspective, he’s right.

That’s the problem with people; we lack the vision, the creativity and the confidence to think big and see bigger. We operate from our current worldview, using the realism argument as support for defeatist arguments that say, “It can’t be done!”

Imagine trying to tell the naysayer who said it couldn’t be done in less than 60 seconds, that it could be done in 5 seconds. I can see his head exploding with rage, and frustration, accusing anyone with the audacity of believing that of being idiots and  living in a dream world. He’s telling everyone why it can’t be done and why they are wrong, and he can prove it.

Here’s what’s wrong with that approach. We prove what we set out to prove. If the questions are why can’t it be done, that’s the answer your going to get. However, if the question is, how can we do it, the answer changes.

I get it; we’ve all been guilty of this mindset. We’ve all taken the position that it can’t be done, but it has to stop. It’s time to ask the question differently. We need to stop asking the question why can’t we and only answer the question, how can we.

Muhammad Ali said it best:

“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”

Don’t be the guy who fights everything, the one using reason as an excuse not to think, not to push the limits, not to strive for more. Don’t ask why not and start asking how. It makes all the difference. Ask any pitstop crew.

The only thing that is impossible is what our minds tell us is impossible.

Why Hustle Isn’t What’s Most Important

 

hamster-wheel-2-o

Have you ever seen a hamster on a hamster wheel?

They are hustling. You can’t argue that! But are they getting anywhere?

Exactly, and that’s why this notion of hustle is played out.

Look, don’t get me wrong, you have to work YOUR ASS OFF if you want to be successful and the truth is most people won’t and don’t put in the kind of real  hard work required.  The reality is, for most people, their definition of hard work isn’t anywhere close to the true definition of hard work is.  True, real, hard work is unreasonable to most people. So yes, hustle or hard work is critical to success, but few people are willing to work that hard.

For those who are willing to hustle, most hustle for a little while and quit.

Why?

For some, it’s because they discover hustle is too hard. They realize they just don’t want to work that hard.  For others, it’s because they are hustling on the wrong things. They are hustling for “hustles” sake. They’re working hard. They’re hustling, just like a hamster on a hamster wheel and getting nowhere.

The key to hustle is to know where to put in your time, where to focus your hustle, when to prioritize your hustle, and where to stop focusing your hustle. Successful people out work others, but it’s where they outwork others that wins.  It’s what they prioritize in their hustle. Winners put their hustle into those things that have the greatest return.

Knowledge:

Take note people, not many of you are going to like what I say here, but the truth hurts. Few of you hustle in the knowledge department. Few people have deliberate learning plans. Few people spend 20 or 30 percent of their time learning. They spend so much time doing, running on the hamster wheel, that they don’t expand their understanding and knowledge of what they’re doing. They don’t become experts. They don’t know more than everyone else. They don’t become connoisseurs. Knowledge is the most important and dominant trait of the successful. They learn more than everyone else and are constantly staying ahead of the learning curve. If you’re a hustler, how much time are you hustling knowledge?

The Little Shit: 

This focus of hustle has HUGE gain. Why? Not because it’s hard, or sophisticated, but because few people do it.  People HATE the little shit. I’m guilty as charged on this one. The little shit is the mundane, boring, stuff everyone hates doing that in collective makes a big difference. Hustling in this area is big. Spending time doing all the little things that most people won’t do creates separation.  It’s how you get ahead of your competition. You wanna make big changes, don’t make one or two big changes, make lots and lots of little changes. Focus on the little shit, put your hustle there, that’s not running on the hamster wheel.

Innovation:

 I could have called this creativity too.  Most of us spend our hustle trying to copy, follow and fit in.That type of hustle is running on a hamster wheel.  You may be working hard, but you’re not going anywhere. True hustlers are hustling to find ways to be different, to be first, to be unique, to be innovative, to separate themselves from the pack.  Use your hustle to differentiate, to find new solutions, to solve problems others haven’t solved.  Put your hustle to innovation and creation.

Hustle matters, working hard is critical. There is no doubt. I will never argue that. The problem is too many people are being told they can hustle their way to success, and that’s just not true. You have to have a good idea. You have to know more than everyone else in y0ur space. You have to expand your knowledge base daily. You have to do all the little, itty bitty, boring, frustrating, annoying things that seem not to matter. You have to have luck. Hustle alone won’t do anything but make you tired.

Don’t be fooled. It’s not the hustle that wins. It’s where you focus the hustle.

Are you hustling right or are you running on a hamster wheel?

 

The Difference Between Winning and Losing in Today’s World

The rules to success have changed. If you read this blog, you’ll know I’ve been saying this for quite some time.

We’re headlong into the information age. The time when most of us grew up, the industrial age, is well past us, yet far too many of us are clinging to the industrial age, skills and strategies that no longer work for success. We’re still condition to the ways of the past.

Two groups of people are quickly emerging in this change, those gaining an advantage and those falling behind. There is one fundamental difference between the groups. Those winning are doing something those that are falling behind aren’t.

Taughtleaders Lesson 5 Join Us!

This Tuesday I’m spending an hour with those who are winning to show you what those winning are doing.

In Lesson #5 of the Taught Leader’s series we’re focusing on the winners, those people who have recognised the change and have adopted the new rules to success.

Find out what today’s success stories are doing to accelerate their career and create more opportunities for themselves. Join us this Tuesday at 11:00 MST for Taught Leaders Lesson #5: Real Success Stories.

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The Hardest Thing In Life, Is Not Giving A Fuck

 

keenan

Life is hard.  That is a fact.  It’s hard for a lot of reasons; family, work, health, relationships, money, shit the list of life’s challenges could be a mile long.  But, one of the hardest things in life is something we don’t talk about much.  It’s something all of us, I mean every one of us struggle with, yet it goes largely unaddressed most of our lives. This difficulty of life we all struggle with is not giving a fuck what other people think.

Our entire lives are wrapped up in what other people think of us. From the minute we wake up in the morning and decide what clothes to wear to how we do our hair, we’re influenced by what people think.

It’s not just physical either.  We censor our language, our opinions, our ideas, everything in fear of what others will think. We put so much of our lives through the, “what will others think of us filter,” that we lose who we really are.

It’s so common for people to blend in and subject themselves to what other people think that we’ve invented a phrase for those rare times when someone doesn’t  care.

You know that phrase we use when someone just stops caring. When they’ve become so fed up and just lose it. You know, it’s that “I just don’t give a fuck” mode people get in.  We’ve all seen it.  Someone is driven to the point where they’re tired of acting, filtering, and holding back.  They just go for it and let it all out! They just stop givin’ a fuck.

We need more of this in our lives. We need to be in “I don’t give a fuck” mode more often.

All of us live our lives through the lens of what other people think. It’s just who we are. Some of us are more susceptible to it than others. The problem isn’t that we care what other people think, it’s that we care too much, and we let it affect our decisions and actions too often. It’s when we let it impact our ability to live our lives and achieve the things we want that it becomes a real problem.

When that happens, and it’s happening for most of you right now, you don’t live your life for you, you’re living it for and because of everyone else and that sucks. When that happens, you’re cheating yourself.

I get it. Sticking out, being exposed, and not complying with the norms is hard.  But, if we actually want to live, we must learn to embrace our own voice, our own story, our own path regardless of what others think.

We need to embrace our individualism. We need to be brave.  We need to direct our lives, not be directed by them. We need to walk around with a giant; I don’t give a fuck, attitude. I am who I am, and I don’t give a shit if you don’t like me, what I say, my clothes, my car, my ideas, my hair my anything.

How much of your life goes through the what does everyone else think of me filter?  Be honest, if you say none, you’re lying, and you’re full of shit. Take a deep look inside and ask yourself, when do you care most about what other people think and how does it affect your choices, your behaviors, and your attitude?

You have them; you just need to know what they are and how they affect your life.

As much of my life as I’ve built around not giving a shit, there are other parts that are major challenges. There are absolutely areas of my life that I care WAY too much what you think, and it’s not a good thing. I have to fix it, or I’m not going to get what I want out of that part of my life.

Simply put, stop giving a fuck about what other people think. Be you, be different, be your own person and LIVE IT.

It’s the hardest part of life, but if you can do it, it just make the rest of your life that much easier.

 

Are You Using SnapChat for Sales?

My snapcode. Be sure to take a picture of this and add me on SnapChat.

My snapcode. Be sure to take a picture of this and add me on SnapChat.

Alright, most of you know I’m a huge advocate of social selling. It works, I advocate salespeople use it and learn how to incorporate it into their selling process.

In case anyone still finds it necessary to debate, here are two studies I’ve done that highlight the impact of social selling on quota attainment and sales team success.   I’ll let them speak for themselves.

For the most part, there have been primarily 3 social networks for selling; Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. YouTube, and Instagram are great for personal brand development, but not so much for social selling, making quota etc. (If anyone has examples of how to use Instagram and YouTube to sell, please share in the comments. I’m always down for new use cases.)

These three networks have been critical for what I describe as the four elements of social; discovery, listening, engagement and expression.

While all three offer some level of all four, each excels in one over the other.

Twitter is the ultimate in discovery. Everything is public. Things are easily shared and retweeted and information flies around. It’s the best way ever to be discovered or discover.

LinkedIn is the ultimate in listening. It’s good for discovery too, but not as good, because not everything is “public.”  You have to be connected to people to see their information and they decide whether or not you have access to their stream. You have to be “accepted.”  But once in, it’s the best tool to listen to your customers and clients, etc. They share personal information about their business, when they are on the move etc. LinkedIn is the best way to listen to what’s happening.

Facebook, is the ultimate in expression.  There are few rules on Facebook. It’s a shouting match. People don’t mind if you “express” constantly. They’ve come to expect it.  Facebook is the best place to say, hey check out me out, read my stuff, watch my videos. etc.

Again, all of these social networks deliver on all 4 of the social elements, but some do one part better than the others.

Now let’s add SnapChat to the mix.

This is gonna be a longshot, but I like where SnapChat is going. SnapChat is low on discovery very low. Unless you have a solid network elsewhere (Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, lots of personal contacts in your phone, etc.) building a following on SnapChat is going to be hard. Being discovered on SnapChat is not easy.

However, SnapChat wins when it comes to engagement. It’s a killer engagement app. It’s easy to reach out to someone, get through the clutter and engage.  SnapChat gives you good info around engagement as well. It tells you if and when someone read your snap and if they “screened shot it.”  There is also less engagement noise on Snapchat than other platforms. At least right now.

Is SnapChat The Next Big Thing?

I don’t know. I can ‘t tell you that. Like most new tools, only time will tell. What I do know is that it’s growing rapidly and is now the second largest social media platform behind Facebook.

snapchat-statistics-2

What I do know is that good sales people know to leverage the best tools to help them do their job better. Like any good artisan, they recognize that they are as good as the tools they use. Great sales people are always open to new tools and are continually looking for any and every competitive advantage they can find.

I’m playing around with SnapChat and learning how it works. I’ll let you know what I find out and how it works for sales people. Until then, my suggestion, get on. Play with it, and see how and if it could be the tool you need to drive your sales quota and get a competitive advantage.

Remember, the winners are those who embrace change.

Let me know what you guys think?

Also, we’re breaking down SnapChat and Selling on The Word on April 7th. You don’t want to miss it.  Register now!

The WORD w- Carlos Gil - Blab.im

 

Why How You Think is Killing Your Career

 

Everyone has a mind almost nobody knows how that minds works.-Art Markman (1)

Most of us like to believe we’re thinkers and pretty good ones at that. But, the sad truth is, we aren’t. According to University of Texas Psychology professor and author of Smart Thinking Art Markman, we suck at thinking, and it’s to our demise.

We’re not wired to think. Our brains use tremendous amounts of our energy and are always working to minimize its workload. One of the tools our brain uses to do this is to default to habits or the expected, to do what we’ve always done. To the brain, thinking is hard work and if it can avoid it, it will.

Two reasons we don’t think:

  1. The brain is 3% of our body weight but consumes 20 – 25% of our energy. It’s trying to minimize the amount of time it spends working
  2. We want to be told what to do. We want a procedure

Therefore, if success is your goal, learning to keep the brain thinking is key.

Thinking is critical to success in the 21st century because of how quickly the world is changing. Without thinking, all we do is do what we did before and, therefore, we won’t be able to respond to the rapid changes and challenges of today’s business environment. Thinking allows us to be flexible and responsive to change. It’s our biggest and best weapon to change. It keeps us from operating form autopilot.

In the Think chapter of Not Taught, I highlight a 2010 IBM study of over 1500 CEOs. In it, seventy-nine percent said, the world was become increasingly more complex and that they don’t have the talent or leadership to navigate it. This observation, this problem their experiencing, is a result of the inability of people to think.

If you want to be successful in today’s world, you have to improve your ability to think. You have to learn to think. Believe it or not thinking is a skill that can and must be developed, like any other skill. Thinking is a behavior that can be learned. It’s not an automatic reflex. You have to treat the thinking part of your brain like any muscle and commit to using it.

How odd does that sound?  You have to commit to thinking, because if you don’t, you won’t.

To be a better thinking requires learning, or more specifically the acquisition of knowledge and information (Chapter 13 Deliberate Learning) and ask why.

According to Art, most of us suffer from the illusion of explanatory depth. In other words, we don’t know nearly as much about something as we THINK we do.  Therefore, the question why helps us understand more deeply the context of a situation.

If you’re trying to accelerate your career, if, you’re reading Not Taught, and you’re committed to getting to the next level, learning to think is part of the critical path.

Watch this episode of Taught Leaders with Art and take copious notes. Art shares concrete steps and approaches on how to engage your brain that will help you and your team become better thinkers.

Art is a genius when it comes to the skill of thinking. I recommend you follow him and learn from him at all these places:

Twitter: @abmarkman

Book: Smart Thinking

Podcast: Two Guys on Your Head

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The Taught Leader series is a weekly series highlighting those who exemplify the tools and skills discussed in my new book Not TaughtEach week I highlight a different chapter and share the killer stories of the people who have become experts in the area. I provide readers with all the wonderful goodness these early adopters and 21st-century success stories have to offer. The goal, to help you learn the new rules to success and crush it in the 21st-century.

What, you haven’t read Not Taught? 

Then get it here. Hurry up; you’re already late.

You can download a free chapter of Not Taught here;

Listen to the Taught Leaders Series on iTunes here:

 

How Our Big Event Failed Today #rockymountainfly


When you swing for the fences, sometimes you strike out.

We’re sitting here at DIA with our tail between our legs, dejected.  Our grand plan to welcome Virgin America to Denver has been thwarted.  You can read about the plan here. (It was a BIG plan, trust me. LOL!)

We conceived this plan back in November when Virgin announced they were coming to Denver. The goal: have a fun, engaging event that would have gotten tons of social media attention.

Instead, it flopped.

  • The flight we THOUGHT we were going to send off doesn’t start till tomorrow.
  • Virgin planned a HUGE event coming IN to Denver at 11:00, which included Sir Richard Branson, which is getting massive attention.
  • The current event planners politely asked us not to do anything, not wear our t-shirts, give out books, or ANYTHING. They are vigorously protecting this event.
  • They even asked us not to take pictures.

I’d be a liar if I said we aren’t crushed.

That being said, we knew it was a long shot. We knew we were swinging for the fences.  We knew there was a chance the entire thing could come crashing down and we went for it anyway.

As I talk about in Not Taught, you have to take risks.  You have to be willing to swing big and risk failing and lose everything. We did that and this time, it didn’t pay off. We got our asses handed to us. I think the hardest thing about taking risks and swinging for the fences is getting back up and going for it again.

As I’m sitting here thinking about how much time, money, and effort we put into this, I’m doing everything I can to not let it deject me or the team. We were all VERY excited.

At A Sales Guy, we play big. We have crazy ideas, we push the envelope. We chose this event because we felt Virgin and Richard Branson had a similar culture and wanted to celebrate their arrival to Denver (and get a little love and attention for Not Taught and A Sales Guy too. I’m not stupid. ;))

We’re packing up and heading out. We’re respecting Virgin America’s request not to affect or disrupt their big event. We get it.

With that said, we’re still excited Virgin is here in Denver and will be flying them soon.

Now, I need to go brush myself off and find the next horse to get back up on.

We will be back, crazy ideas await.

Good luck Virgin America, we hope this is the first of many routes out to Denver.

See you on a flight to San Francisco.

//keenan

P.S. We have two hundred Not Taught books to give away.  If you have an idea or your organization is interested in and event, hit us up with your idea. Obviosly, nothing too crazy for us.