What is gap selling, basically?
Gap selling is a sales strategy that focuses on the difference between a customer's present situation and their ideal future one, and exploits that difference to persuade the consumer to pay more to bridge the gap.
Main reason why salespeople should not be overly focused on selling their goods or services.
In order to effectively impact the choice and not just be an order taker, salespeople should concentrate on knowing the customer's desired outcome and resolving their problem rather than merely selling their product.
Why are closed questions and why questions discouraged by some sales trainers, and what is the justification for this?
Sales trainers might advise against closed and why questions because they fear rejection, are unsure of how to continue the sale, or worry about changing their tactics.
Keenan's main suggestion is to mentally prepare oneself by realizing that rejection is just business and not personal.
One sentence summary of the response: Keenan suggests not to identify with the rejection and to understand that prospecting is a continual effort that necessitates a high work-to-return ratio.
Marcus Cauchi: [00:00:00] Hello, and welcome back to the Inquisitor podcast with me Marcus Cauchi. Today, it's a genuine pleasure to have Keenan who is the CEO of A Sales Guy and author of Gap Selling, which is one of the books I read. And I thought, thank God, finally, someone who knows what they're doing, and it speaks to how I like to sell.
60 second introduction
Marcus Cauchi: So Keenan, would you mind giving 60 second introduction to who you are and your background to how you got here?
Keenan: I mean, so my whole life. Started selling as a kid, then got a job selling anything you do. Well, you just keep moving forward on, I guess. And so then I started a blog in 2009, that blog came really popular.
Then people reached out and said, Hey, can you help me? I've been reading your blog. And I said, it's gonna cost you this much. And they said, okay. And I'm like, Ooh, that was easy. And so, all right, maybe I'll start a consulting company. Started a consulting company of one and nine years later. Here I am.
So why Gap Selling? What's the gap?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So why Gap Selling? What's the gap?
Keenan: The gap is the [00:01:00] space between what current state and the future state. It's where the motivation to move is it's where the, the value is, right? So people don't understand that when we buy something we're motivated by the size of the gap and we will pay more.
And that gap is that my current state, whatever my current state is and what my desired future state outcome is the bigger that gap, the more money I'll pay to fix it, the more inclined, the motivated I am to do the work, et cetera. So it's called gap selling.
One of the big problems is that sales people often are fixated on selling their product or their service. Why is that a crucial error?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So it's a fabulous concept. And one of the things I particularly love, cuz I've been selling this concept for years as well is the only thing all of us ever sell is change.
And I think one of the big problems is that sales people often are fixated on selling their product or their service. Why is that a crucial error?
Keenan: I call product centric, selling versus problem centric selling, right. And what I like to say is at the end of the day, people don't even want the product. The product is a vehicle.
The product is a conduit to [00:02:00] some desired outcome. If you're trying to sell your product and you don't understand what their desired outcome is, if you don't understand where they are today, why they're unhappy with where they are today, why they're miserable today and why they wanna be where they're at tomorrow and what they want to get
by achieving some desired outcome, then selling your products like selling blind. Actually I call it you're not selling, you're an order taker because you, the job of salespeople is to influence. I pay salespeople to influence the decision. And if you don't know those things and you can't influence the decision, you're just spouting a bunch of shit.
And the buyer saying yes or no. And then you take the order.
The nine truth bombs around selling
Marcus Cauchi: Music to my ears. You talk in the book about the nine truth bombs around selling. Do you mind sharing the sum or all of those with the audience, please?
Keenan: In no particular order, there's always a gap in every sale you have to have be gap in every sale. Sales is about change.
Sales is not always about change. My favorite is nobody gives a shit about you. In every sale is a gap. I had that one [00:03:00] .All sales are about change. I had that one. Sales are emotion. Customers do like change when they feel it's worth the cost. I got that one. Asking why gets customers to yes. Sales happen when the future state is a better state.
And then the last one is my, is my all time favorite, which I got is no one gives a shit about you.
Worst advice: don't ask why questions and don't ask closed questions
Marcus Cauchi: One of the worst things I was ever taught right at the beginning of my sales career was don't ask why questions and don't ask closed questions. And those were two of the shittiest bits of advice that anyone ever gave me completely.
So many people tell you don't ask closed questions. And I, I fundamentally believe that's because they don't understand how to sell past no, and they fear a no. And secondly, they're terrified that you might be directing the prospect and that's our job. Our job is to influence the sale and influence the emotional state of the buyer.
Keenan: Mm-hmm .
Marcus Cauchi: Why in this day and age, after all the evidence being out there are people still peddling that [00:04:00] shit.
Keenan: Well, first of, I don't think they know the evidence, right? The sales training space is, uh, widely, widely broad spaces. Millions of players. It's not, has never been the, this hundreds, if not thousands of quote, unquote sales trainers and sales training.
And by the way, bums me up but we were asked to participate in the Gartner and magic quadrant and we weren't picked. I think the reason is because one it's still so diverse and there's still so many people so that no one's really paying attention. I think a lot of people have their own little selling methods and if they change those, they're afraid that they won't have anything to sell,
right. So they keep peddling the same thing. But secondly, I think you said it and it's more important is people don't know how to sell past no. So it just, it's easy. If someone doesn't know how to sell past no. And you can't teach 'em how to sell past no then don't then teach 'em how not to get no. Which doesn't help them,
Why are they still teaching people not to ask why questions?
Marcus Cauchi: so why are they still teaching people not to ask why questions?
Keenan: I haven't [00:05:00] a clue why someone would teach them that I haven't a clue now. I was never taught that when I was taught that don't ask closed ended questions. I was always taught that, but I was never taught don't ask why.
Marcus Cauchi: I was always taught or I was initially taught,
don't ask why? because people can get defensive. And can be, it can feel like an interrogation a bit parental. Why, why are you doing that? Why aren't you doing this? And, but the problem is that people don't understand that if you can camouflage the question
Marcus Cauchi: And soften it, or yeah.
Keenan: Give a stroke beforehand
Marcus Cauchi: and your intent is right. And I'd like to explore the psychology of the sound in a second. Then people don't resent you asking a why question because your job is to find motive cause
Marcus Cauchi: and intent. And if you can't find those three, then you're on a very sticky wicket. So maybe tell me this, in terms of your mindset, when you are teaching people to go into the sale, what's the mindset that they have to approach it with?
When you are teaching people to go into the sale, what's the mindset that they have to approach it with?
Keenan: Find first and foremost, find the problem.
The broader guilt skillset or the broader objective of a sale is to find the gap, measure the gap, find the gap, measure the gap, define the gap, right? So what I teach people is they, they always wanna silver the bullet. Well, gimme some questions. What questions can I ask? What question I ask? I'm like, I can't give you the questions, but I can tell you is what information you need to find.
And so I talk about it in the book, you have to build a pick chart. Every product of service only solves a handful of problems, right? I've only run into a few companies that solve could be perceived as unlimited problems. They're not, but they're just so complex. There's a lot. But outside of that, you should know going in.
So I said, become a problem finder, right? I want you to find the problem, measure the problem, find or define the problem and then figure out the future state, find the future state. Find the, define it. And then you have a gap and that's all you have to do. So whatever choice of questions you use to get the buyer talking about what's going on in their world and what they're responsible for and where they are now in [00:07:00] comparison to that, everything's in, in co comparatives.
That's all I tell 'em to do. I just say, oh, but then I show 'em how to do it.
Marcus Cauchi: Okay, so let's move on to the, uh, thorny perennial problem of prospecting avoidance.
Keenan: Yeah. Yeah.
What is it that causes salespeople to fear strangers saying no to them?
Marcus Cauchi: What is it that causes salespeople, first of all, to fear strangers saying no to them?
Keenan: I mean, look, no one the same thing that at least we'll go with men.
I can't speak to women, but the same thing that makes a guy not walk up and talk to a girl in a bar, right? I mean, he, he sees her and just when you're young, right. You see her across the room. You're like, oh my gosh, like you're completely smitten. And you know, you may never see this person again and you don't go say something, cuz you're so afraid of saying no, which puts you in the exact same position.
I'm not going and saying anything you basically said no for, for her. But the feeling that you get, that, that sense of rejection, some people just don't know how to handle it. And so they just avoid it.
What advice do you suggest people take in terms of preparing for understanding that the rejection is just business?
Marcus Cauchi: So in terms of preparing yourself psychologically, [00:08:00] what advice do you suggest people take in terms of preparing for understanding that the rejection is just business?
It's not personal.
Marcus Cauchi: And it it's just part and parcel of the job.
Keenan: Your advice is the best advice. Like I, I tell people all the time, just the minute you learn that it's no, not about you, right. As long as you don't attach yourself to the no, you're fine. And another thing I think that people don't do prospecting though, is the effort to return.
I don't think we talk about that enough. Right? Prospecting is like working out. You just can't go to the, to the gym and work out two or three days and then expect everything to change the results of the gym come by doing it consistently day in and day out, day in and day out for months and months and months, and then maintaining it for years, you have to continue to do it, or it goes away, right?
That's prospecting. So between getting the no and the [00:09:00] rejection, but also recognizing that you could prospect. And prospect and only get, you know, a couple of opportunities a week. People just, I don't think they like the work to return ratio.
Marcus Cauchi: Well, this then raises an another really important question.
Why is it that so few first meetings converting to second meetings?
Marcus Cauchi: Why is it that so few first meetings converting to second meetings? After putting all that effort in the stats on this are typically globally, the average is seven out of eight first meetings do not result in a second meeting.
Keenan: That's easy because most sales people are product centric. So they get in on that first meeting, they probably ask a question or two and then they start just spewing their product.
So the buyer is like, meh, meh, I don't need it. It's not what we need. That's why.
Marcus Cauchi: So the conclusion to draw from this is you've never listened your way out of a sale or questioned your way out [00:10:00] of a sale, but you've talked your way out of plenty.
Keenan: Oh God. Yeah. Look, one of the things that's so awesome about gap selling is if you do it right, you know, before your buyer knows, if they should buy.
Because you understand what your product service does, you understand all the features and functions, you understand how past customers and, and buyers have benefited and how it's changed their business and how it's impacted their processes, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, because you know, all that, the buyer doesn't. What you don't know is the buyer's side of the stuff, the problems the buyer's having, the impact that's having, you don't know the buyer's gap, right?
So if you do an actual discovery and you listen and you actually get a framework for their gap, you have a rough idea. You already know right away, is it? That's probably not a good fit. I don't, I don't see how they would benefit from this. And you can tell the buyer. And so now it's not you being told, no, you not getting a second meeting.
It's you discovering you don't need a second meeting, but if you do see a decent size gap, then the next conversation is, you know, Hey, Marcus, based on this conversation, as you can see, it appears that you, there are certain things you're struggling with. You just said, this is a problem. You just said, [00:11:00] you have this breakdown in the process.
You just said this. It seems to me, there might be some value in us continuing this conversation to see how we can fix this for you. Who says, no, I don't wanna fix this. That's the whole point buyers are saying, no, I don't want your product. They're not saying no, I don't want to fix a problem. So the first stage is to get them to admit they have a problem.
The second stage is to get them to agree, to want to fix the problem. The third stage is to get them to on a journey with you to fix the problem. Once you start going on the journey, now, the sale's moving and what happens after they agree to go on the journey to fix the problem is now it becomes, uh, a sort of a, a polishing exercise.
How big is the problem, really? How big is the gap, really? What's the cost of solving the gap? What is the, the size of the desired outcome? And is it worth, what I'm asking in the effort, and then if it's not, and they don't buy, if it is, 99.9% of the time they buy.
Marcus Cauchi: I think you've just pointed to something else.
That's really critically important which people [00:12:00] in sales tend to shy away from, which is that, if you understand your product, your market, your customers, the kind of problems that you resolve, then odds are very high that you're not gonna come up against either an original pain or an original objection.
Keenan: You can't
Why is it so few sales people plan, rehearse, and then post call debrief to learn for the lessons?
Marcus Cauchi: Again, why is it so few sales people plan, rehearse, and then post call debrief to learn for the lessons?
Keenan: I don't think a lot of people are taught. I think the sales industry itself in the main thinks they're doing a pretty good job. They think people do this, they think they're salespeople are these types of sellers.
Right? And then their definition of, of it being done or, or someone being good at it is pretty off in hindsight. I mean, I know how I got the gig, but in hindsight, uh, one of our largest gigs ever was with the company. And, uh, I went out to do the training and the. [00:13:00] CRO sat next to me. So I was up in front. I was before, right before COVID like, literally like my, I did like 12 trainings for them over a nine month period or something.
My very last training was like a week before COVID it was over. He was sitting next to me and he said, this is his quote. He said, I love your book. I get this stuff, right. He goes, I like some of the tweaks, but I get it. And I'm excited to watch our sales team get it. And, uh, and, but, but he sort of implied, it was really nothing new, but it was just a, a nice tweak on some old things.
By the end of the training, he stood up in front of his entire class and he said I was wrong. What I thought was kept selling what I thought was problem centric selling was not. So I think that's one of the biggest problems is a sensor and identity within the sales world that they think what they're doing is, is what you're describing or what gap selling describes
they think their solution sells. They think they're trusted advisors, but it takes me two minutes to get in and listen to someone's sell. And I'm like, no, it's not. There's a great level of cognitive dissonance going on in sales and [00:14:00] a great deal of belief that an apple is an orange.
Marcus Cauchi: That then means that we are looking at the wrong place for the source of the problem.
Keenan: We don't really think there's a problem.
Marcus Cauchi: But we know there is cuz um, last year, I mean we did a research study and last year only 13% of sales teams hit quota. Only 44% of individual reps hit quota.
Keenan: Collectively macro level. It's interesting. I'm not gonna take you down this hole, but here in the United States, we're in a crazy debate like this in itself.
So at the macro level, it's clear, right? That sales is an issue in the United States at the macro level. It's clear racism is, is an issue in this country.
Marcus Cauchi: Yeah.
Keenan: But when you try to have the conversation, right, here's my parallel. And we try to have the conversation in sales about the individual sales teams, individual sales people.
Nobody thinks it's them. Literally my team makes sales calls all day long about, about consulting in sales training and 99% of the people. Oh yeah, no, my team's doing great. We're doing awesome. We don't need it. Well, my team's doing great. We're doing awesome. We don't need it. Right. Same thing in [00:15:00] the states when it comes to racism.
Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. There's, there's a racist problem, but not me, but not me, but not me, but not me. so that, that sales is bought from that same trap cognitive dissonance.
Marcus Cauchi: I, I think it goes a bit deeper though. The, the, the real source of the problem is management. Because managers have no runway to get into management.
They're normally tapped on the shoulder and told congratulations keen in you're a manager now. So they do what was done to them and they haven't got a clue that the skill set's different completely you don't understand that the four functions of management to hire the best people get the best out of them.
Marcus Cauchi: They need to do their best work every day and then help them to clear roadblocks and protect them from acts of IDC from above. And the problem is that managers don't coach managers don't do pre onboarding. They don't do onboarding. Their idea of onboarding is giving them an operations manual, inflicting HR on them for half a day, and then giving them a phone [00:16:00] and a, a database and told, make calls.
That's the antithesis of management that's am application and it starts right in the recruitment process.
Keenan: You're a hundred percent right. I'm gonna coin us a term if no one's done already. The problem with sales is generational.
Marcus Cauchi: Yep.
Keenan: You have a generational sales problem. Right. We started selling shitty a long time ago.
Someone took that shitty song, got promoted and they trained their people on. So every time a manager gets promoted and someone, an individual contributor gets promoted. It's like a child growing up and they turn around and take the shit that they learned as a kid. And they teach it to the next set of kids.
Right. So I think we have a generational problem. I like that. I agree. Completely agree.
Psychology to change
Marcus Cauchi: And they get worse. Last year was the first year that below 50% of salespeople globally hit, uh, the quota. This year, obviously COVID, I's gonna be a blip in or a fly in the ointment, but I'd be amazed if we even get 20 to 30%.
And I think sales teams are gonna struggle too. The [00:17:00] good managers will have seen it through. And what we are seeing certainly is the ones that are well managed and are constantly trained. Mm-hmm uh, cuz training is like washing. If you do it once you're gonna stink in a week and in a month you're gonna reek.
The problem is that the, that very few people treat training as an ongoing and inve investment in the same way. They don't treat marketing correctly. They don't treat recruitment as an ongoing investment and they don't focus on the right end of the problem. And so what we're seeing, and I, I love the idea that it is generational and, you know, man, hands on misery to man, it deepens like a coastal she, uh, shelf don't have any kids, yourselves.
The problem is that these things are passed on and no one is questioning. I, I interviewed Mark Schaefer and he made a really astute observation. He said, uh, the evidence is out there, but the results are not. And the problem is that the evidence is saying, this is not working [00:18:00] and clearly results are continuing to fall, but for some reason, I think that what we have is a status quo bias.
We don't like to change if we don't have to. And if we don't see the reason to do so .We do if it's the right reason, I think we have fear, apathy, ignorance, denial, and ego as our big competition. So those six are what get in the way. It's not other companies. It's not other sales people. It's those six that are killing sales.
Keenan: You just describe the psychology to change. So take out sales and put anything in there. Like that's just the psychology to change, right. People don't change, right. And in the book I talk, I bring up Elizabeth Moss Kanter and all her research on change. I mean, her and John co have just revolutionized in the world of change.
And, you know, she talks about all those types of things. Why people don't change.
Difference between the why change and why stay
Marcus Cauchi: There was some really interesting research that came outta corporate visions, uh, that I saw recently. [00:19:00] Where they're talking about the difference between the why change and why stay. There's a very different approach required between a retention cell and a displacement cell.
And they talk there about having to break through the preference stability. So you have to destabilize their preferences. You have to get past worry in their resistance to the cost of taking action or making a change by identifying the cost of staying the same. You have to create contrast between yourself and the competition.
Otherwise they struggle to differentiate and you have to overcome their anticipated fear of regret and blame. And this is where storytelling really comes in and, you know, learning those hero stories is really vital.
Keenan: I'm gonna dis disagree with you there. I think half the problem isn't that you're not telling the right stories.
I think everybody's too leaning on these stories. Gap selling is one of the things I'm most proud of. It is brilliant [00:20:00] for displacement sale because it never starts with your product. Gap selling doesn't see the difference between a new sale and a displacement sale. Think about it. Whether your current state is you have a solution or you don't have a solution.
That's immaterial. What it seeks out is what is the problem instead of problems of your current state? I I I don't have a solution, or I'm currently using Adobe sign and I, and you want me to go to DocuSign, right? What are the problems that I have in my business, when it comes to contract management, getting contracts, signed, finding the contracts in the future, getting contracts out faster, whatever the, whatever that space is, what are the business problems I have and how big are those business problems?
And if I don't have big enough business problems, it doesn't matter how pretty and fun and whatever, what stores you're gonna tell me or walk me through when it comes to, um, your new product. It's not gonna make a difference. It's like what you said [00:21:00] before, right? It's the idea that everything, every sale is completely different, right?
Every problem is completely different. When you go into this idea of a displacement sale, every person who's currently using Adobe, Adobe, or DocuSign, whichever direction you're trying to go, has a different set of problems with that particular using that particular product in that environment. And if you can find that the unique set of problems that are big enough to say, I ha I can't stay on this any longer,
right. It doesn't it's I use the word untenable. It's untenable for me to stay on this any longer. Then displacement becomes easy. I like stories, but I, I don't really rely. I like here, I've never said this before in the first, if gap selling is done correctly, the buyer creates their own story, unbeknownst to themselves.
Marcus Cauchi: I absolutely agree. And that's exactly how one should sell that said when you are getting to the fulfillment stage, when you're getting to the [00:22:00] point where they're looking for evidence, I certainly, I feel that it's important to have those stories to hand so that you can do the before and after. And what you're doing there is you're saying can absolutely understand
a lot of our clients were struggling with this, and this is the process that they went through to evaluate the difference. They recognized that gap and afterwards, the reason they didn't regret it was because of this, because I think where a lot of, um, selling has got stuck is it's either feature benefit entirely, which doesn't work that's order taking, uh, or zookeeping as Mike Weinberg describes it, which I think hilarious, uh, And the other end is a pure pain play.
I think you have to find a balance between the two because people move away from pain far more than they move towards pleasure. But actually what people want is a better future. And I think if you can combine the two, then you're on a much stronger [00:23:00] playing field. And the net result of that is that what you get is a prospect who's not left in pain.
They have a glimmer of hope.
Keenan: Look matter what angle, we attack and wherever I talk about gap selling it, just look, I'm not gonna lie to you. I didn't consciously have all of this clearly laid out when I wrote the book, but as I talk about it more and I've read it a thousand times and I instituted all these things come together.
So you just talked about people don't can't just buy for pleasure. They, you know, they try to run away from pain before they run too pleasure. Well, if you look at gap selling in their current state, what is that? That's pain. Yes. And then the future state, what is that? That's
Marcus Cauchi: A better future.
Keenan: But what is the word?
Marcus Cauchi: Well, it could be pleasure or it could just be relief.
Keenan: No, not, no, no, no, no, because you want their desired outcome relief is I stop it, but I don't do anything with it, right. So gap selling forces you to ask what is the new outcome? So it's a great point. If I am. [00:24:00] Let's just say, I am really, really sick and I'm hurt right now, right?
Oh no. I, I use the pill example, right? I'm gonna die. I'm gonna die of terminal brain cancer, right? I'm 37 years old. Okay. I have two kids and a wife I've been married for seven years. I'm happily married. Life is brilliant. Okay. The pain is all of the feeling, the physical pain that I'm feeling and the fear of not dying.
Okay. If I make that go away, I've run away from the. In gap selling though, we say what's the desired outcome. And we push people to go deeper and say, what's the desired outcome and get the buyer to say, well, listen, man, I have a bucket list. I haven't completed the bucket list. I wanna watch my, I wanna walk my daughter down the aisle.
I wanna watch my kids graduate, right. So now that's the pleasure. It wasn't just getting out of the pain of dying, right. It's going that next step to get the buyer, to tell you, what are you going to do if I save your life? That's the [00:25:00] pleasure. That's the desired outcome. So when you do that, that changes things.
But the power in this too, is just cuz you stop pain. Doesn't mean there's a positive desired outcome. So I push the story sometimes with folks and ask a bunch of questions and then say, okay, make believe, say, you know, save someone's life and they're all excited. And I said, yeah, but she's 99 years old, lives in a nursing home,
um, hasn't seen her kids in several years has outlived two of her kids. All she does is push around and walk with tennis balls on the bottom and watch Canasta. Is this woman excited to live another 10 or 15 years? And the answer is generally speaking no. So I get rid of the pain. I move them away from the pain, but there's really not a whole lot of pleasure there.
Marcus Cauchi: Mm-hmm
Keenan: You see what I'm saying? Yeah, that's the power of this thing is, is, and to your point earlier, most salespeople think if I can move them away from the pain, then that's the win. But the pleasure is getting the buyer to understand the impact of the desired outcome and of, of, of doing something different.
And that's what you're describing here. And that's what gap selling just by default [00:26:00] does when you force them to get, build their own story.
Marcus Cauchi: And on that note, the best sales people I know are intelligently lazy. One of my heroes was Carl von Clausewitz, who wrote the manual on war, which all the military used. And he used the higher Prussian officers for being intelligent and lazy minimum effort, minimum loss of life and the best sales people
I know, have the prospect do the presentation, handle their own objections and close themselves.
Keenan: Yes, yes, yes. Yes.
What advice would you give to managers in terms of what they need to do to develop themselves?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. So let let's come back to this issue of management, because it strikes me that if we can address that, that seems to be the source of poor recruitment, poor onboarding, poor training, poor accountability, non-existent coaching.
What advice would you give to managers in terms [00:27:00] of what they need to do to develop themselves?
Keenan: You know, this is an interesting one. Cause I don't claim to be a, a leadership guru. I don't, you know, I don't claim to be a coaching guru. I've like everybody else I've worked with companies, who've sent me off to leadership training and leadership courses, et cetera.
So the advice I'll give here is that I believe great leaders get more out of people than people can get out of themselves. They're like, like we'll only take ourselves so far cuz we're lazy because we don't know because of our inner voice, whatever the case may. So if that, if you understand, is that is the goal, the objective that like that's, that's your success criteria, right?
Then you have to ask yourself what, what skills do I have and what do I have to do that allows me to get people to, to do more, to think more, get motivated, to take ownership and accountability for their efforts to be more creative, to self-assess more, I think [00:28:00] the great leaders get people to self-assess.
I think self-assessment is one of the greatest weaknesses. Our, at least in the United States, greatest weaknesses of our society. No one wants to self reflect. No one wants to self-assess and really challenge their, their strengths and weaknesses. We try to hide them so.
Marcus Cauchi: I think you've hit the nail on the head.
I mean, I spend most of my life holding up the ugly mirror and it's a scary place to go. It takes a lot of courage to self-assess and recognize your own flaws. It takes vulnerability to do that. And I, I was watching one of your videos earlier today on, um, the tips that sales people were giving to other sales people.
And the one thing, no one did, no one said that made great sales people was vulnerability. And I think that's absolutely key. It takes enormous courage to put yourself out there. And in fact, um, I remember interviewing Anthony Iannarino not long ago. And he said for him, and also Larry Levine, their [00:29:00] turning points were where a customer held them to account and said, look, this is shit.
Let me tell you where you're going wrong. And they had the humility to stay and take that direction. That's the best customer ever. Absolutely. That's one that they owe their living to. I think one of the problems here is that many people are very brittle. Their egos are fragile and they take it way too seriously.
And you touched on it earlier, which is attachment in, uh Buddhism and Buddha says that the, uh, attachment is the root to all misery. Salespeople who are attached to the outcome. And verily at a disadvantage. Salespeople who are attached to their egos, not being prickled, um, are massively at a disadvantage cuz they never learn. Your average salesperson
who's been doing it for 10, 20 years has one year's experience, 10 times over, they haven't learned a thing. So [00:30:00] one of the people on your video said constantly be learning, make sure you're putting yourself out there. And be, you know, an avaricious learner. Learn constantly and challenge yourself. And I think one of the most important skills is learning to ask yourself better questions.
What are the questions that you ask yourself so that you are constantly growing and improving?
Marcus Cauchi: So I'm putting you on the spot here. What are the questions that you ask yourself so that you are constantly growing and improving?
Keenan: Two answers to that one is situational. So one is something's going on in my life, right? Whether it's professional or not, the first one is recognizing that something is happening, right.
Whether it's, I'm not getting the results I want or I'm not happy or the business isn't where I want it to be or whatever. So the first one is just being aware enough. In the now, right? That it's, I'm not getting what I want to get. So that's the first piece of just being open and honest enough that, Hey, I'm not where I want to be or this isn't what I set out to accomplish, or my relationship with my kids
isn't what I, where I wanted today. Or I [00:31:00] just did this something I wish I hadn't have done. You know, with my kids, I reacting way. I wish I hadn't reacted. Um, whatever. So at first it was just being aware of where I am today. Then the second one is asking, why, why am I reacting this way of, why am I not reacting this way?
Why am I not doing something I want to do? Why do I continue to do something that I don't feel is consistent with? You know, my goals or objectives, whatever. And so once I start asking why, then I have to get into some deep shit, right? Like what's going on? What am I getting out of this it, and that's where it really gets hard because sometimes I don't always have the answers, right?
Sometimes the answers are fear. Sometimes the answers attach to things that have nothing like nothing to do within the moment. It could have something to do with childhood trauma. It could have something to do with emotions that I can't pinpoint, whatever. So it's just being vulnerable with yourself,
right. And just asking why, and in those situations where having the answers just saying, okay, now I get this to stop. Like, okay, I get what you're doing. What's more important to you protecting this or get [00:32:00] almost like an internal gap selling, right? What's more important to you to protect this current state or go make the changes to get to the future state.
The changes is the cost, right? Do the effort and then make the changes. So it's, it's really not a black and white. It's just very, very fluid. And it's a lifelong thing. It's not, oh, I did it now. It's done checkbox move forward. Like sometimes I, you know, sometimes I'd be really good at something and wake up a year or two later and realize I've slipped all the way back.
I'm like, fuck I, right. I
What, what are you wrestling with? What are you struggling with at the moment?
Marcus Cauchi: we've all been that. This is a tough question. What, what are you wrestling with? What are you struggling with at the moment?
Keenan: I would say work ethic is one. So, yeah, I'll say work ethic. And the other one is, is sort of a subset of that. And that's being a little more hands on. So I started this company and I did everything, myself, everything, and then I started hiring people and I'm, so I'm letting them do their jobs.
Well, now it's hard for me to get something done through other people. You know what I'm saying? Especially at [00:33:00] much more complex back when I was a sales leader or whatever, that was a little easier. Right. But when I run the whole company and I've got a head of operations and a salesperson and a marketing team, blah, blah, letting really smart people do their job without getting into it every day and saying, fuck it.
And reaching down in. But at the same token, being okay. I'm just kicking back and like, fuck it. They got it. You know what I'm saying? I moved to California this summer and that was the hardest, I'm literally, there's a beach. I'm looking at it right now. It's right there. You know, my kids are visiting and, and so it's like, oh, they got it.
So, you know, so just work ethic, figuring out where I can, what to be touching and what not to be touching.
Marcus Cauchi: Interesting. I, I interviewed Tom Schodorf and one of the things that he did, which was like an absolute stroke of genius is on one page, he has an operating rhythm and it's defines exactly what he needs to do on a regular basis.
So it looks at various areas of [00:34:00] the business. It looks at people development, revenue development, and field communication. And each of those has different functions, different actions, different frequencies mechanisms, intended outcomes, and he managed to grow business that, uh, Splunk from 42 million to 1.2 billion in five years using this operating model so that he could delegate.
Mike Michalowicz's four Ds model
Marcus Cauchi: Have you come across Mike Michalowicz's four Ds model?
Marcus Cauchi: Very smart. So you divide the page into the four quadrants and you have do, decide, delegate, and design. And what many leaders and managers find themselves doing is too much doing. And if they don't let go of that and pass the decisions down the chain of command, then they end up getting sucked in and they fall into the rescue trap.
And because they're not delegating and they're not spending enough time [00:35:00] coaching and being really clear about how those things or what needs to be done and coaching people so they can come up with those solutions and make those decisions themselves without going to the leader and then becoming a bottleneck
again. They spend not enough time on the design phase.
Keenan: Mm-hmm .
Marcus Cauchi: And as a result of that, then what they find is that they feel like they've lost control, but by having that operating rhythm and using the, that 4 D model, That's a fabulous way of feeling and being in control without being controlling.
Keenan: The challenge for me is, um, it used to be control and I'm sure there are certain times, but it's generally speaking now it's I have an amazing operations person and so I let her run it.
But so now the difficulty for me is how do I let someone have control, but yet still feel part of the process and then feel busy. Cuz literally it's like sometimes like I have to go create work because she's, she's doing such a good job and I'm not in it every day. [00:36:00]
Marcus Cauchi: Have you redesigned your own job description?
Keenan: No, that's probably good. I probably need to start there.
Marcus Cauchi: Start with the outcome.
Marcus Cauchi: And then redesign your job. So it plays your strengths, but it keeps you occupied and stimulated so you feel like you're doing important and meaningful work that takes the business forward. And often that's in the design and strategic side of things.
From the sounds of things. You're someone who likes to roll up your sleeves and gets stuck in, if you redesign your job description and then you have the job evolve and work on having your successor, make your redundant. So then you have to keep evolving. That makes it that exciting. If you had a golden ticket and you could go back and whisper in the idiot, 23 year old Keenan's ear, what choice bit of advice would you give him?
If you had a golden ticket and you could go back and whisper in the idiot, 23 year old Keenan's ear, what choice bit of advice would you give him?
Keenan: People ask me this question all the time and everything that I've done in my life has sculpted who I am. And with one exception, which I [00:37:00] will not go into specifically, not publicly, other than that, every single decision I've ever made in my life was a good decision, in hindsight. Now it wasn't necessarily the right decision in the moment, but,
let me talk you about what I mean by this, generally speaking, not in totality, but generally speaking, I had a belief system that is just don't do anything you can't unwind. Just don't do anything you can't unwind. So that means basically don't commit any crimes that make you a criminal, like a, particularly a felon in the United States.
Don't break into anybody's house and steal their shit. Don't do drugs. Okay, dope, whatever, but I never touched cocaine in my life. I've never touched any of that crazy shit. You know what I'm saying? So other than that, every decision I made was does this work for me now? So I traveled all over the world when I was 25, literally circum navigated the world.
I moved to Vail and became a ski instructor. I, I bought cars, I couldn't afford [00:38:00] and had the best time driving around 'em and learn how credit worked the hard way. I lived in south beach, Miami first season. I was a model for a while and worked with Tommy Hilfiger. I, I took two years off from school and, and did not in ski and Vail and became a and skate 130 days.
I, I lived in Boulder and bartended at all these really cool fricking, um, bars. So there's absolutely nothing, nothing.
Marcus Cauchi: Sounded like you're someone who likes, who you've become.
Keenan: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Look,
Marcus Cauchi: that's a fabulous place to be.
Keenan: Yeah, absolutely. Look, if, if I die and someone comes down and says, if you had made this decision, you have been a billionaire by now.
Okay. Well, and I, I didn't know that, but based on what I know and where I am and what I've achieved and the life I've lived, I will put my life up against 99.9% of most people's lives, particularly someone who wasn't born to money. And you know what I'm saying? And I've been to 33 different countries. I mean, yeah, no, no.
I win and I wouldn't show, I wouldn't tell myself anything. Wouldn't tell myself [00:39:00] anything.
What are you reading? What are you being influenced by at the moment?
Marcus Cauchi: What are you reading? What are you being influenced by at the moment? What we're reading, watching, listening.
Keenan: Right now I'm reading Behave. Is it sound fine? Robert Sapolsky.
Marcus Cauchi: Yes.
Keenan: The biology of humans that are best and our worst, it's a thick sucker.
Like this sucker's 700 pages. It's fascinating. What I, what I'm liking about it so far, and it is a bit technical, so it I'm reading a little slower than normal, but he basically says that in society today, most people look at behavior interdisciplinary. So in other words, a neurologist will look at it one way,
a biologist will look at through a biologist lens, a GE a geneticist will look at a geneticist lens, et cetera. And he's saying that's wrong. He says, when you make a decision, whether it's to shoot somebody or to pick a new job or to react to somebody, something that someone did you in the grocery line, in that moment, it's, I'm gonna butcher this, but I think it's, um, it's neurology.
Like your body set you some dopamine or something that caused you to react, right? Well [00:40:00] then the step back is the genetics is, oh, what then he says, but you can't do that. You have to look at the behavioralist and look back and said what happened in their life or an hour or two hours ago that made them, or put 'em in a propensity for that to shoot that,
that chemical to them when that happened, because it might not have shot me the chemical when it happened to me, right. So you and I are both there exact same situation. It caused her to have that shot of whatever that made her react that way but it didn't do that to me. What happened an hour before that?
And then what happened years before that, in their childhood? Well, that now becomes this and then what happens genetically and it goes on and on
Marcus Cauchi: very interesting, fascinating. Two books I strongly recommend that you read one is called Range by David Epstein.
Marcus Cauchi: And that's all about generalists being far more creative in specialist environments and the work that you and I do across multiple sectors gives us breadth of exposure.
So a much bigger, uh, range of understanding and perspective. And [00:41:00] another one is Just Listen by mark Goldson. Fabulous manual. If you haven't read that, that'd strongly recommend.
Keenan: I like naming it, but this sucker 700 pages of freaking technical jargon. So somehow
Marcus Cauchi: I'll be getting on audible.
Keenan: Yeah, yeah. takes me a while before I want audible.
I'm listening to, to already, so on audible, I'm listening to White Fragility and to, um, the New Jim Crow. So I'm upside down.
How can people get hold of you?
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Well, thank you so much for this. I really appreciate you coming on. Tell me how can people get hold of you?
Keenan: They can go to keenan.live or a salesguy.com, and I'm easy to find. If you can't find Keenan, you're not working very hard.
You don't wanna find you can't find me, you don't wanna find me. You're just kidding yourself.
Marcus Cauchi: Excellent. Thank you, Keenan. Really appreciate you being on here today and look forward to speaking to you again soon.
Keenan: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Marcus Cauchi: Pleasure. So this is Marcus Cauchi signing off from the Inquisitor podcast
once again. If you've enjoyed this conversation, then please email me at [00:42:00] email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. And if you'd like to get on our mailing list, then please follow the link in the blurb below and I look forward to speaking to you soon. Take care, happy selling. Bye-bye.