| A Sales Guy | A Sales Blog | Sales Consulting - Part 2


#heykeenan Take 14 Coaching vs Training, What’s The Difference?

Hey peeps, #heykeenan 14 is up and cranking.

In this Take, I answer a great question by the great Gabe Villamizar, social media king of Utah. 😉

There is a big difference between coaching and training. Yet few people understand it.  Great question Gabe.

Send me your questions for #heykeenan, if you shout out, and I’ll shout back.


Are You Using Social Media Yet?

So, where are you on this social media thing?

Do you have a Twitter account? Are you on LinkedIn? Do you use Google +?  Or are you one of those people sitting on the sidelines still trying to figure out why social media even matters, because you have too much to do to be bothered with what someone is eating for lunch. Let me help you out. Consider this a Sales Guy Public Service Announcement:

 Social media makes quota!

Yup, it’s pretty much that simple. Sales people who use social media outsell those who don’t by 72%. So, if you aren’t using social media right now, odds are you are getting your ass handed to you by 72% of the sales people who are using it.

Let me drop a little more wisdom on you.  Sales people who use social media exceed 110% of quota 23% more often than those who don’t. These are the people going to President’s Club. 54% of social media users said they can track at least one deal directly to their use of social media. Twitter or LinkedIn has made them money. 10% of people using social media say it directly contributes to their business and have closed over 5 deals last year as a result. These people are making a lot of money with social.

Non-social media users, those of you who think Twitter is a waste of time, well they missed quota 15% more often than social media users.  These people aren’t going to President’s Club and aren’t making money.

The argument is over. Social selling works, but even more alarming is that it’s no longer a competitive advantage; it’s become part of the price to play.  Sitting on the sidelines is no longer about missing an opportunity; it’s about falling behind. Don’t fall behind any longer. Get social.


Go! Join Twitter or something…times wasting.

Wow! What an Awesome Email I Got Today.

It’s not uncommon for me to get calls from business owners, CEO’s, heads of sales, etc. asking for help. In some cases, there is a good need to work together, and we enter into a contract. Other times, for whatever reason, it just doesn’t make sense. In these cases, the person or company isn’t ready, they don’t have the money, they have resource issues, etc. Regardless, they just aren’t ready to hire me. In spite of their position, I always like to help them out. If I can offer insight, a framework, a methodology, a new place to look for an answer or just a referral, I’ll do it.

I don’t like getting off the phone with someone who needs help without giving them at least something they can use.

The note below came from one of these people. The CEO of this company called me and had lots’ of questions. The timing wasn’t right to work together, but I could see where his problems were, and so I gave him a bit of direction.

I guess it helped.

Too often we give only to get, and I think that’s the wrong way to look at it. I’m super excited for these guys; it sounds like things are going well, and they are about to blow up!  Good for them! I’m glad I was able to help.

“I truly apologize for wasting your time by being unprepared for our last scheduled phone call.  This is not an excuse, and it shouldn’t be perceived as one.  (Bottom Line by the time you get through this long email it will save you a bunch of time [that I wasted], to let you know where NED is now and how big of an impact you have made, also many different ways for you to get involved if you would like to)

I reached out to many influencers (acquaintances of yours) for advice during our restructure starting in 2013, they all continue to provide that with free and powerful knowledge and insight.  Back then I asked for a little bit of help and though it seemed from our phone conversation that they were going to dive in and help.  Then I realized a week passed, still learning every day,  after no response and call back from my emails and voicemails that I was way too far behind for them to help.  My point is, I understood why they didn’t respond about four blogs after I contacted them. 

So I kept reading, and we latched on to a sales guys content.  A lot about what you guys believe in reminded us of ourselves.  Then you emailed me offering free help. Both 30-minute calls went for an hour.  Although I haven’t thanked you yet and I can’t thank you enough.  That 2 hours you spent changed our organization forever.  Also nonstop reading and watching webinars from primarily  You, Jill Konrath, and Anthony Iannarino.  Other content from Top Sales World and Jim Connoly and so many others helped a tremendous amount.  But it was You primarily and then Jill and Anthony’s content that helped us get where we are now.  We still have a lot to learn and a long way to go!!!

I came from the mortgage industry and spent eight years in a very self-centered sales system.  Saving people $200 or even $800 a month wasn’t cutting it for me.  I shut down my branch and dedicated my full focus here in 2013.

We introduced network maintenance in 2008, and we had a decent partner.  We could never communicate the value we wanted because we were not taught the right way.  You sent the problem identification chart over months back.  The work has not stopped.  It’s a blessing.  It’s been overwhelming at times, but we love it.

After we filled out that problem identification chart we started digging into buyer personas and created many different personas with different messaging that was all about the client and not us. 

Here is where it gets better.  We attracted the attention of some big players in our industry and happened to catch the biggest player in our industry as one day we decide to pick up the phone and discuss a partnership with them. 

After months of negotiations, which are still ongoing, we came to an agreement where we were offered exclusivity for the US Canada & Mexico.  Exclusivity means growth and sales quotas.  Our partner is allowing us to grow on our terms.

You may never know how much of an impact you have had on our organization, I applaud the amazing team of leaders that I lead as well.  I’m not saying we didn’t do the work needed because sacrifice became our middle name.  When you reached out to us for free, you showed me there was hope that someone much more knowledgeable than me cared to help us.  I can’t thank you enough brother!

I have one of your quotes in our business plan; I hope you don’t mind, I gave you and your organization credit of course. It came from a blog you wrote back on July 29, 2015;  it is titled “Value” What the F%*K does that mean.  The whole blog was great and a certain part that really aligned with our thinking.

Value as a word doesn’t mean anything. It’s a placeholder, a catchphrase for something that is dynamic, contextual and requires acknowledgment from others. So when we whip around the word value, we’re not offering much insight. Value for one person is different for another. Value changes from product to product, service to service, idea to idea, and offer to offer. Value isn’t a thing; it’s an agreement.

Our entire team loved it.  When we communicate this to a client because we believe it, it demands respect and changes the dynamic and ton of the relationship.  They let their guard down sooner. 

A big part of our concern is the rate they want us to grow; I think this is just one area you can help us.

Again I truly appreciate all the free knowledge you put out there, along with your peers.  It’s better than any college in the world for people who genuinely care about putting others first because that is their passion, regardless of industry. 

I hope this gives you an idea of where we are heading, and I would like to discuss the sales projections I have with you.  They seem astronomical. However, that was me basing production at 40% below our current quotas.  Each one of our sales reps are setting five appointments on average per day with an expert!!  I obviously could not base production off of that of 3 sales people vs. the 25 we plan on boarding by July 2016.

If you could have someone on your team reach out to reschedule our call, that would be great.

I apologize I wasted your time, and I hope this eliminates some time and work for you if we do choose to work together in the future.

I put your name in our business plan because I feel that if we spend any dollar on outside sales support, which we will, it should be with your organization.  Thanks for the inspiration and all that you do brother!  Our entire team is thankful as well!

I hope to hear from you soon!”



You “Can’t”

It’s not that you can’t get ahold of the CEO.

It’s not that you can’t make Presidents Club.

It’s not that you can’t find more “A” players.

It’s not that you can’t penetrate that big account.

And it’s not that you can’t get your team to use a CRM.

It’s that you haven’t yet; and that is an entirely different situation.  The minute you say you can’t it’s over.  Done.  Put a fork in it.  Give the fat lady some roses because she’s singing.

Can’t is final.  It means exactly what it says—- You CAN’T.

So why keep trying?

I have three daughters.  In my house, we’re not allowed to say we can’t.  What we CAN say is “I don’t know how”, “ I need help”, “ I need more time”, “ I need to figure it out”, “ I need to try something different”, “That didn’t work”, “I’m stuck”.

But we can’t say “I can’t”.

What should you say instead?  How about “I haven’t yet”.   YET.  When we say I haven’t yet, we keep trying.  We accept the journey isn’t over and that we need to try new things.  We persevere.  We put in the work.  And we get it done.  We don’t stop.

It’s not that you can’t.  It’s that you haven’t.  And that’s okay.  Don’t say you can’t; because you CAN.  You just haven’t YET.

Why You Aren’t As Good As You Think You Are!

I have some bad news for you, you are probably not as good as you think you are.  I know, it’s not something you want to hear, but you can’t argue research.

According to research by David Dunning too many of us suffer from incompetence, but also, and more disappointingly, we don’t have the capacity to know we’re incompetent.

In other words, in many areas of our lives, we suck and don’t know we suck. Worse yet, we THINK we’re actually good.

In this Episode of The Word, I spend time with David Dunning, author of the Dunning-Kruger Effect research. What he shares is fascinating and a must listen for everyone hoping to get better.

This episode is one of my favorites.  You will be blown away.


Don’t Build a Sales Organization. Build a Teaching Organization!

You want to know where the biggest opportunity for sales growth is today? Do you want to know what is the one short thing you can do to blow out your numbers and crush the competition?

It’s to turn your sales organization in to a teaching organization.

Times have changed and so has your job.  As a sales leader it used to be you had to build a sales organization that could sell by telling, pitching and closing.

But those days are gone.  Over.

Telling is not selling.  No one wants to be pitched.  And closing will happen by itself if the sales person sells right.  Here’s the deal.

Let me drop some mad wisdom on you:

  • There is way too much information on the web.
  • Your customers and prospects are way too busy to waste their time on a “pitch”.
  • In most cases they’re 50-60% through the buying cycle before they’re even talking with one of your sales people.

It’s a different world my friend.  The days of talking AT your client are over. 

Today sales people have to be able to teach their customers and prospects.  They have to be able to educate them.  And as a sales leader it’s YOUR job to teach them how to do that.  You have to build a teaching organization.  You have to build a sales organization that has more information than your customers AND your competitors.  You have to build a team that can teach their customers and prospects something they didn’t know.  Like: how to solve a unique set of problems.  What solutions may be available to them.  What risks lay in wait.  Where the market is going and more….

You have to build a sales organization that is known for its tremendous knowledge and insight—- not its product expertise.  If you want to have a sales organization that can kick ass and win in todays selling world, stop building “selling” teams and start building “teaching” teams because THAT’S where the win is.

The Dumb Get Confident, The Intelligent Get Doubtful

In 1995, McArthur Wheeler walked into two Pittsburgh banks and robbed them in broad daylight, with no visible attempt at disguise. He was arrested later that night, less than an hour after videotapes of him taken from surveillance cameras were broadcast on the 11 o’clock news. When police later showed him the surveillance tapes, Mr. Wheeler stared in incredulity. “But I wore the juice,” he mumbled. Apparently, Mr. Wheeler was under the impression that rubbing one’s face with lemon juice rendered it invisible to videotape cameras ( Fuocco, 1996 ).

We bring up the unfortunate affairs of Mr. Wheeler to make three points. The first two are noncontroversial. First, in many domains in life, success and satisfaction depend on knowledge, wisdom, or savvy in knowing which rules to follow and which strategies to pursue. This is true not only for committing crimes, but also for many tasks in the social and intellectual domains, such as promoting effective leadership, raising children, constructing a solid logical argument, or designing a rigorous psychological study. Second, people differ widely in the knowledge and strategies they apply in these domains ( Dunning, Meyerowitz, & Holzberg, 1989 ; Dunning, Perie, & Story, 1991 ; Story & Dunning, 1998 ), with varying levels of success. Some of the knowledge and theories that people apply to their actions are sound and meet with favorable results. Others, like the lemon juice hypothesis of McArthur Wheeler, are imperfect at best and wrong-headed, incompetent, or dysfunctional at worst.

Perhaps more controversial is the third point, the one that is the focus of this article. We argue that when people are incompetent in the strategies they adopt to achieve success and satisfaction, they suffer a dual burden: Not only do they reach erroneous conclusions and make unfortunate choices, but their incompetence robs them of the ability to realize it. Instead, like Mr. Wheeler, they are left with the mistaken impression that they are doing just fine. As Miller (1993) perceptively observed in the quote that opens this article, and as Charles Darwin (1871) sagely noted over a century ago, “ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (p. 3).

The Dunning/Krueger Effect author David Dunning is going to be on The Word this Thursday at 11:00 MST.  You don’t want to miss this.

Find out where you’re at risk of succumbing to the Dunning/Krueger effect.

Word Call to Action



Beware Corporate Hacks, They Kill Innovation and Growth (And Just Suck to Work With)

What’s a corporate hack?  A corporate hack is that corporate guy or gal that plays the political game like a master. Corporate hacks are the people in the organization who always have a personal agenda, and are shrewd executioners of it. They rarely take risks. They don’t rock the boat. As a matter of fact, they are squeaky clean, except after they’ve brilliantly minimized someone else or some other group in the eyes of the CEO or executive. They are inauthentic. They don’t focus on collaboration; they are in it for them. They steal credit. They always have an agenda.

To the corporate hack, everyone is their friend on the surface. They’re quick to throw out platitudes to gain support and propagate their image as the nice guy, the one you can count on. But watch out. They will get you. Corporate hacks would be brilliant Survivor players. ‘Cause that’s what they do all day.

Not that playing politics is completely a bad thing; sometimes it’s required. The problem with corporate hacks is most of the time; they’ve perfected their craft to overshadow their incompetence. Corporate hacks are rarely good at what they do. They bring little value as an employee, so they leverage their political savvy to hide their incompetence. I can see corporate hacks coming a mile away.

Unfortunately, I had to deal with a corporate hack just yesterday.

Within minutes of getting on the phone, I knew I was dealing with a corporate hack –

  • He started the call with platitudes.
  • He was artfully condescending
  • He asked lots of questions but REFUSED to answer any (he was a slippery shit)
  • He expected things of others he didn’t expect of himself
  • He dropped names and methodologies that were tired and weak in order to impress
  • He was hypocritical
  • He was inauthentic, I mean off the charts inauthentic

That last one is a big one. Corporate hacks are inauthentic; they lack any genuine nature. They play people against each other and the company. They’re always hiding their agendas. They don’t embrace authentic debate, but rather to the contrary. They engage with calculated precision to drive to a point, leaving their targets little wiggle room to move lest they look like the problem.

I hate corporate hacks. I feel bad for the company he works for because they just hired him. But, I guess that’s not my problem. I don’t have to work with him.

Carl Icahn said it best in this video; we promote the wrong people to CEO, and I argue we promote and hire the wrong people all the time.


Look, corporate hacks become this way because we reward them. Too many leaders are unable to spot them or are enamored by their placating, ass-kissing, shell and promote them up.

Corporate hacks eat companies from the inside out, as they move their way up the ladder, sucking the life out of companies. The higher they go, the more damage they cause, unskilled and incompetent, their political savvy wrecks havoc.

The victims of these clowns?

The true innovators, the risk-takers, the challengers, those who are completely committed to the company first and who will put up their hand and say we should do something different; this isn’t working. We need to go a different route. There is a better way to do this. Those who challenge the boat almost always find themselves in a battle with the corporate hacks. The hack wants credit for the idea or wants to squash it because it doesn’t align with his agenda.

Corporate hacks can almost always be found in big companies. It’s almost impossible for corporate hacks to hide in start-up companies or small companies. Small companies require too much work to be done. Corporate hacks don’t like work. Small companies are more results oriented. Corporate hacks don’t rely on results; they rely on politics, not performance. There is no place to hide in small companies. Corporate hacks need hiding places.

Until yesterday, I hadn’t engaged with a corporate hack in awhile. I honestly believe my brand scares them away. (Ironically, this hack made reference to my sites and the “swear” words). Unfortunately, this hack got through and put the worst taste in my mouth.

Here’s the deal. Don’t be a hack. If you’re one, it’s prolly too late. But for the rest you, don’t do it. Spend your time focusing on your skills, not everyone else. Put the company first in action, not in words. Be willing to be wrong. Do the dirty work. Don’t steal credit. Don’t patronize. Don’t be condescending. Don’t have an agenda. Just do good fucking work, take risks, be authentic, be willing to look bad everyone once and a while, tell it like is and be committed to the cause. (Hint: The cause ain’t you!)  It’s pretty easy not to be a hack.

Now back to my hack free world.

Breaking Down The Challenger Customer

Do you remember the book the Challenger Sale? The book that got everyone fired up because they said relationships wasn’t the most important skill in selling?  Well, the boys are at it again and I got to interview them.

The authors of the Challenger Sale just launched the Challenger Customer and it’s already a Wall Street Journal bestseller (#2). Like the Challenger Sale, The Challenger Customer is based on reams of data that suggest the selling technics we are using to sell into companies today are wrong.

Damn! They did it again

The key surprises:

  1. There are now 5.4 players in the average sale. That’s 5.4 people you have to convince to buy.
  2. Deals are only 37% of the way through the sales cycle before internal conflict peaks and kills the deal.
  3. Bringing the RIGHT stakeholders together to learn before they buy boosts their willingness to pay a premium by 70%
  4. There are 7 clear buying personas in your customer
    1. The Go-Getter
    2. The Teacher
    3. The Skeptic
    4. The Guide
    5. The Friend
    6. The Climber
    7. The Blocker
    8. (and you have to know who each one and who you’re dealing with)

This episode of The Word is a MUST see. There is more sales information packed into this than you can imagine.

What the CEB has learned will have a profound effect on how sales teams build and execute deal strategies from here on.

Check out and let me know what you think.

Why Should I Work for You?

Why should I be excited to work for you?  No, really.  Why?  Why work for you as opposed to any other sales leader out there?  Please- whatever you do, don’t tell me it’s because you’re a good guy or girl, fun to work with and because you support your team.  It will make me throw up in my mouth.

I need more than that.  And frankly; so do you.

That’s not enough.  I want a vision.  I want to be inspired.  I want to know we’re on a mission.  I want to know we’re part of something bigger than just slinging widgets.

And I want to know YOU can lead us there.

I want to know you can get more out of me than I can get out of myself.  I’ll work for you if you create a culture that gets me excited to come to work.  I’ll work for you if you have the vision that can make us the best sales organization in the world.  I’ll work for you if you set us on a mission that matters.

I’ll work for you if you’ll LEAD.

If all you’re going to do is support me, keep it.  You won’t know why you’re supporting me so it’s a waste of time.  If you’re a good guy or girl who’s fun to work with- Great! Let’s have a beer. But I’m not going to work for you.  I have enough friends.

You see, none of this matters to me if you don’t know where we are going.  If you have no vision, if we have no mission, if you can’t build a culture worth a hill of beans— I’m not interested.

I’ll work for you if you can inspire me to bigger and better, if you can lead us to accomplish great things, if you can create a culture of greatness, if you can help me grow into a person who can be a critical part of that vision then YES! You’ve got me!

So— is that you?