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The One Group Missing Out On The Benefits of Sales Data

Sales people are not leveraging the benefits of good sales data.

Don’e believe me?

Off the top of your head, can you tell me your exact close rate?  Can you tell me how much is in your pipeline right now?  How much is scheduled to close by month for the next 3 months? Can you tell me where you are to quota for the month, how about the quarter? Can you tell me where you are to quota for the year? How much more do you have to sell? What’s the gap?

What about your average sales cycle?  Do you know that? Do you know your average deal size? How much do you know about your personal selling stats? How do you use data to help you get to quota?

Here’s the deal. We’re sneaking up on 2016 planning, and if you’re like most salespeople, you don’t know them and you DO NOT include those numbers in your plans or reviews.

We are inundated by management’s request for data. Management is constantly asking us for numbers, they are constantly looking for the data, they use it every day, but for some reason, salespeople don’t.

I am baffled by how little salespeople know about their own stats, their own numbers.

Yes, most salespeople know their number to date, their quota and how much more they have to sell, but that’s where the data train stops for most sales people and that’s a problem.

When I was in H.S. I played football. I loved it. I was good enough to always start, sometimes just one way (defense) other times two ways (defense). Sometimes, I played “all-ways” and played on special teams too. I would never come off the field.

I was an unsophisticated kid. My dad didn’t play sports or know much about them. So, my frame of reference was pretty remedial. It was did I get to play, did I make touchdowns or interceptions. That’s about it. I didn’t understand the game. I didn’t know anything about YAC (yards after contact). I didn’t know much about yards per carry. I wasn’t aware of total rushing yards, or yards per game. I was cluless to the metrics and data around being a running back. The other running back on the team, Darren, was very well aware of them. I remember he had a 200-yard game (which at the time, I had no idea if that was good or not) and at the end mentioned he had a goal for that year to have a 200-yard game. Before he said anything, I had no idea that something like that mattered. I didn’t understand the game.

I was a good running back. Darren was injured one game and I played the entire game at running back. I had 149 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns.  It was a good game. Unfortunately, at the time, that didn’t mean very much to me.  I just knew I scored two touchdowns.

During my H.S. football career, had I understood the data and how it all came together, I would have been even better. I could have focused on improving my yards per carry. I could have improved my YAC. Looking back, I would have killed to understand the power of that stat.  I could have elevated my game to a whole new level, because I would have had the data to help me improve. I wasn’t as good as I could have been.

Sales is the same way and as sales people, our ability to get better is steeped in our understanding of the data. The number and stats act as insight to where we are strong and where we need improvement. Like a dashboard in a car, it lets us know where to take action.

Sales people, don’t let management be the only ones who use data. Build your own dashboard and track your own metrics. Focus on your close rate, your average pipeline size per month, average times in pipeline, etc. Find your YAC, your yards per carry, etc. and work on improving them. Data can be your friend if you let be.

If you’re not sure what to track, I have a list of the 6 killer individual sales stats for salespeople to measure their success.  You can check them out here.

Whatever you do, don’t forgo the data. It can make a difference.


Hard Work is a Bitch

Hard work is a bitch!

Tiger Woods hits 1,000 balls AFTER each round in a Major.  Lindsey Vonn spends 8 hours a day in the gym, 5 days a week.  Michael Phelps spent 40 hours a week in the pool, and that didn’t count his gym time or road time.

Hard work is a bitch and the truth is you have no idea what hard work really is. If you want to make Presidents club, if you want to make a lot of money…. If you want that promotion to Sales Manager or to Chief Sales Officer, you need to work your ass off. You have to put in unrealistic effort.

Here’s the problem, we’ve been conditioned not to work hard.  We’re pounded with things like Work-Life Balance, or terms like Workaholic suggesting that working too hard is a bad thing.   We’re told that working hard is the way to success but then told if we work too hard, we’re not being healthy.

We celebrate superstars who achieve greatness, yet chastise those putting in the time to achieve greatness.That’s one hell of a paradox we’ve created isn’t it?  Here is the deal, no matter what it is you want, if you want to be the best — you have to work your ass off.  You have to learn what hard work really is, because I can tell you right now, if you’re like most people, you have no clue what hard work is. Most people find hard work to be unreasonable and they are right. Hard work is unreasonable and this is where the win is.

Hard work takes more effort, time, pain, focus, and sacrifice than most of us are willing to put in and that’sthe beauty of it all.  Be happy most people think hard work is unreasonable, because they won’t do it.  Those who think hard work is unreasonable, don’t work hard – and that’s your in.

 Now go bust your ass!

The ONE (or 50) Things You need to Know to Get Your Customers Attention

The ONE (or 50) Things You need to Know to Get Your Customers Attention.

There are a million things sales people need to do to get the customers attention and make the sale.  But there is one that is far more important than any of the others.  What is it?

It’s knowing, ahead of time, what problems your customers are struggling with.  I’m constantly amazed

at how often sales people reach out to a customer with no clear understanding what problems their customers COULD be dealing with.

Here’s a test.  Right now, write down 5 key problems your customers could be facing that your product or service can fix.  How long do you think it would take? Can you do it less than 30 seconds? Are you struggling to list 5? If you want to get your customers attention, you need to be an expert in THEIR business and that starts with knowing what they are struggling with before you even pick up that phone or send that email.

Before you engage with your customers or prospects make sure you’ve got these three things covered:

*                       Know what problems they could be struggling with


*                       Know the IMPACT of those problems, what pain do the problems create


*                       Understand the root of the problems, what causes them, how to address them and why they exist in the first place.

If you can do these three things before you ever talk to a customer, you’re more than half way to the sale.  A customer can have one problem or 50 problems and the more you know about them, what causes them and how to fix them, they more in demand you will be.

 So, what are your customer’s problems?


#heykeenan Take 17

Carlos Gil asked a great question that really made me think.  He asked how I define Hustle. Hustle is a word that’s being tossed around a lot lately, but I think we’re selling the word short.

In Take 17 of #heykeenan I share my definition of hustle and what inspires me.


I enjoyed this one, it was emotional, because the more I thought about it, the more it became personal and emotional.

If you have a question for me, hit me up on Twitter at #hastag #heykeenan. You shout out, I’ll shout back!

Are You Creative Enough?

I am constantly amazed at the complete lack of creativity in sales people.

Sales people are the extreme athletes of the business world, yet for some reason too many of us subscribe to the herd mentality — doing what everyone else does. The problem with doing what everyone else does is ONE, it’s boring and TWO, it lacks creativity.  Making it in sales requires creativity.

I promise you, the majority of people who are on the Presidents Club trip right now, didn’t do things like everyone else; they got creative.  Being creative means doing something other people haven’t thought of.  It means pushing the envelope. It means looking at a problem from a totally different angle.

Being creative means, not accepting traditional results.  Creative people get creative because they want more and don’t settle for the what the herd can get. The herd all eat the same grass.

Do you want to be eating the same grass as everyone else?

To be more creative consider these 4 things:

  1. Have the courage to be different, it takes guts to be creative, your approach shouldn’t be like everyone else’s and that’s the point.
  2. Broaden your awareness of your environment, your products and your customers. Creativity requires more knowledge than the heard.
  3. Switch up your environment, put yourself in different places — change inspires ideas.  Read books, blogs and industry mags you normally wouldn’t. Force your brain to play nice with others.
  4. Accept anything is possible.


If you start with, “It can’t be done”, you are right and everything stops.  Creativity is a commitment to do things differently.  Why eat the same grass, it’s a big field.

Break away from the herd!

Was This Helpful?

“Was this helpful?”

“Was this helpful?”

I always end every client call, customer meeting AND sales call with that question. People aren’t used to being asked that. There is always a pause of bewilderment before their response.

I ask this question because it occurred to me that just because the meeting happened and we have next steps and I thought it was a good meeting doesn’t mean everyone else did.

I believe that when people commit their valuable time to a meeting, I have a responsibility to making sure they get value for that time and the best way to find out is to simply ask; “Was this meeting helpful?”

Whenever I ask this question, and after the brief  pause of bewilderment, I almost always encounter an honest reflection.  I can see their eyes dart to the upper right as they evaluate their experience and whether or not it was helpful or valuable. (If it’s on the phone, I can always hear them pause as they think about the meeting and what they got out of it.)

Asking if the meeting was helpful is a fantastic gauge. I’ve never had someone come right out and say “no.” But, you can always tell if you didn’t deliver by their reaction. When you killed it, they use words like absolutely, definitely, this was great, it was very helpful, I learned a lot, it was definitely worth our time, etc. When I miss the mark they say things like; yes it was or just yes. Typically, these yes’s come with a depressed, mono tone. The verbal and visual cues are present. When that happens, I simply take control and say; “It feels like we left some things unresolved or you could have gotten more out of this. Tell me, what can we do to make sure you get more value from this meeting?”

The door is now open, and I have the opportunity to insert more value into the engagement. I can provide more information, answer more questions, provide alternative solutions, be clearer, etc. By asking, “Was this helpful?” I minimize the chance of someone leaving an engagement with getting value.

At the end of your next meeting or client call, end it with, “Was this meeting/call helpful?” Then, just listen.

You’ll learn everything you need to know.

Can You Please Define, “A Lot”


If you’re selling in any proper fashion, you’re working overtime trying to get to the root problem your prospect or customer is struggling with. You’re asking substantial business and process questions.  You’re inquiring about their goals and objectives and the desired outcomes. If you’re killing it, you’re trying to understand their current state and their desired future state.

However in the process of gathering information, if you’re like most salespeople you’re missing a critical step. And, in doing so, your leaving tremendous opportunity on the table.

What are you and other sales people missing? You’re not asking for definitions.

When a customer or prospect says they are losing a lot of money, rarely do we ask, “How much money are you losing?” or “Can you define a lot? When a prospect says they need to see substantial growth, we don’t ask; “How much growth are you looking for?”  When a buyer says it takes a long time to do something, we rarely inquire what a “long-time” is.

Look! More, a lot, less, increase, grow, declining, additional, fewer, longer, shorter, efficient, inefficient, lighter, heavier, greater, smaller, minimize, minimal, maximum, substantial, and meager don’t mean anything without definition.

Too often sales people accept these vague, nondescript adjectives as the gospel. I’ve heard it a million times. A sales person turns to me and says their customer wants to grow faster, and that’s why they’re interested in the product. Or they explain that their customer’s sales are slowing down, and they need to get them growing faster. In neither case, however, does the rep actually learn what faster means or what slowing down means. They just accept them at face value, whatever face value is.

When we don’t define these customer descriptions, we are leaving 50% or more of the sales on the table. We deny ourselves the insight necessary to successfully sell the deal.  Terms like a lot and faster, or slower are subjective even with definitions, but without definitions, they are useless.

Think about it this way. What if growing sales faster to your customer is, one year, and you think growing sales faster is three months. What if more to your prospect is 90% more, but to you it’s 10%.  Those are all very different expectations and objectives.

When we ask our prospects to define their objectives, to define; more, less, faster, etc. we get the information we need to understand truly and precisely the world they’re living in and the expectations they have. It allows us to see exactly where the prospect is struggling. We see exactly what they are looking to make happen. We see exactly where the problems are, how big they are and what it’s going to take fix them. When we leave them vague, we make it impossible to solve their problems. Why, because we don’t know what they are.

Don’t settle for vague, undefined environmental descriptions. When you’re doing your discovery, ask for specifics, ask for details, ask your prospect or client to define exactly what they mean by more, less, faster, shorter, etc.

Without a definition, you have nothing. Don’t have nothing.

Get good at asking; “Can you please define . . . ?





#heykeenan Take 15 with Anthony Iannarino and How Do I Stay So Good Looking?

Hey, peeps, Take 15 #heykeenan is now live.  In this episode, my boy Anthony Iannarino asks a slammin’ question about prospecting; how much should you do, and how do you make time.  Also, sales genius Miles Austin asks, how I stay so good looking?

I know this community has questions, ask em on Twitter or Facebook at #hashtag #heykeenan.

You shout out, I’ll shout back.

Check out all the #heykeenan episodes on Youtube.


Do you know what you’re paid to do?

Do you know why companies pay you?

They pay you to think.

I know, pretty simple concept uh?

With that said, I’m amazed how few of us think today.  We are quick to ask for help.  We expect companies to give us direction, to create a paint by number environment for us.  We expect training, sales enablement, scripts, objection responses, etc.  We expect so much of our thinking to be done for us. That’s just plain crazy!

I’ve got some news for you, even if your company makes it easy, you still have to think. I have sales people ask me all the time what they should do.  Do you know what I say?  I ask them what THEY think they should do? I don’t provide answers right away. Why? Because, most of the time they haven’t thought it out yet.  They just hit a wall, stopped and started looking to others for answers. They are not thinking.

Stop asking people what you should do and start asking yourself what YOU think you should do.  Think. Use your brain.  Be creative. Get those synapsis firing.  Ask yourself tough “what if” questions.  Identify your options.  Weigh the pros and cons.  Look for alternatives. Do the research, and make assumptions.

 But whatever you do, THINK! 

(If you aren’t thinking, then why are you here?)