Winning Big Through Hustle and Grit w/ Jim Keenan [Episode 4]

Jim Keenan is CEO of A Sales Guy, Inc., whose growing empire includes a national sales recruiting firm. Keenan is also a top sales blogger who is regularly featured in Forbes. He has a reputation for extreme straight talk and he doesn’t disappoint in this episode. Keenan shares his story about learning how to sell through hustle and grit and how he learned early on the necessity of understanding a customer’s buying motives and selling the intangibles. Keenan is a master at motivating sales reps to action. Get pumped up and ready to crush it with his go-to tips on how you can build a killer sales team and amp up your sales.


About The Show

It’s time to Accelerate! Hi, I’m your host, Andy Paul. Join me as I host conversations with the leading experts in sales, marketing, sales automation, sales process, leadership, management, training, coaching, any resource that I believe to help you accelerate the growth of your sales, your business, and most importantly, you.

Let Us Introduce You to Our Guest… Jim Keenan!

Hi, welcome to the show today. Our guest is the Sales Guy, Jim Keenan, mostly known as Keenan, author, speaker, consultant, aspiring smart conglomerate. And he’ll tell you a little bit about and you can find him online, asalesguy.com. Keenan, welcome to the show.

Thanks, brother. Thank you very much. I am happy to be here.

Great. So rather than have me spew out some standard PR release about who you are and what you did as you tell the audience, what you do and who you do it for?

 The Company

What do we do? So, A Sales Guy. We have two divisions, A Sales Guy Recruiting and A Sales Guy Consulting. And simple method is we try to help sales organizations grow revenue either by finding kick ass, badass people and or by helping them restructure the sales organization, be a structure strategy, people and process. This year you’re quick off the cuff.

Perfect. How did you get your start in sales and why sales?

 How Jim Keenan Got into Sales?

Oh, my goodness. Sales in general? Yes. Yes, that’s like a lifelong story. The bottom line is I just learned how to sell as a kid to get out of trouble. When someone would write, I did a lot of stupid shit. And so, some will get mad at me. And I started to realize they weren’t mad at what I did necessarily, but the long-term consequences, or the disrespect for other people.

And I became very in tune with other people’s motives, very, very in tuned other people’s motives. And I was quickly able to take those motives of those objections and overcome the objections. And  that’s when I started to realize I was a good salesperson.

And then I was an entrepreneur by nature. I was a kid in the neighborhood who did a lemonade stand in the haunted house and this and that. And sold stuff for the school raffles. I was always winning that stuff. People just like, oh, this guy can sell. When I got to school, everybody’s running around offering me, hey, I got a friend who has a job. You got go talk to him. And it just kind of fell into it.

What was Jim Keenan first job out of school?

I was a sales rep for the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce. I was actually in a little-known fact, almost nobody knows. You get a check out of this for years. I modeled around the country and I was in South Beach, Miami for the season, modeling. And a friend said, look, I got a job for you. You got to come home. I did the back of the napkin math.

And I was like, I’ll make more money in the long haul if I go get a job. I’ll make more money now in the short haul. But I was like, screw it, I’ll go the long haul. I went long and came back and took the job.

If I dig online, I’m going to find photos of you as a male model?

You might. And I’ve never actually done it digging for that. I did runways, runway for Tommy Hilfiger, met the guy several times. I did remember Eastern Mountain Sports, that’s sporting goods store. I did their stuff all the time. Was all over their stuff in their stores. Now I must remember back in the 80s I made in and did stuff for them. And Jocelyn’s. I just did all kinds of stuff back in the day. I never got to the GQ level, but yes, I did all kinds of stuff.

I never knew that. That’s fascinating to hear that about you. What were you selling for the Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce?

Memberships. Okay. All right. Yes, memberships. In the first year, beat almost every record they had. I was their top rep. I was there one year and crushed it, beat people that been there three or four years. Everything I did known or believed about selling fell right into place. Just hustle, understand their buying motives, and all this stuff was innate to me from all those years of getting myself out of trouble.

I just went in and killed it. And the other guys reserve complacent sitting around?

No, they worked hard. No, they worked out. There were some good ones. There were months, was this one girl, Cassie. She was tough. I mean, I had to work hard to beat her. Another dude was Jeff, he used to be the top dog. I had to beat him. But I just figured out and I think at the end of it, I just beat them all. Yes.

And did you have that aspiration to go into sales management or were content just to be selling?

No. I had aspirations going to sales manager because that aspirations to move up the ladder. I wanted more responsibility. I was always a leader as a kid. I went to camp and by the end of the camp, I’d be the guy who had like, was the so-called, intern camp counselor who would work with the camp counselor. You know, I’m saying I was just always sort of a leader. Right. So, I always wanted, or I always wanted more responsibility. Always.

And where do you go from the Chamber of Commerce?

I went to a company called Born Information Services, was an I.T. consulting firm. And it’s a funny story. I’ll make it quick. But I had worked at the chamber for a year and I sold them their membership. And there were multiple levels and membership levels. And I sold them one of the more expensive ones and said, by the way, what do you guys do when they said we I.T. consulting and is the ‘99 right before 2000.

And I was like, well that sounds cool. Technology is becoming ubiquitous.I mean this email things can happen. That’s like a good place to be. I said I want to work for you. And they said dude you don’t know anything. You’ve been selling for a year. You don’t know anything about technology, you don’t know anything. And I was like, no, I don’t. But I can sell.

And the guy soon brought into the branch manager because they’re opening an office in Denver. And he said, I’ve seen you work for us, but I’ve seen you have no experience. And I said, Yes. And he said, look, you seem like a bright guy. He said, what I need to do is I need to find someone with experience. I need to find someone who can hit the ground running and get the office up and going. And once we get going, I’d love to talk to you.

And I looked him right in the eye. His name was Mike Sexy. I looked him right in the eye. I said, Mike, I completely understand what you’re saying. I have one question. He said, what’s that? I said, have you found that person yet?

He said, no, I haven’t. I said, so therefore, every day that goes by you don’t find that person. I could have been working coming up to speed. I said, eventually you will cross a crescendo where you will have lost time if you don’t find him. The question you have to ask yourself is, will you find him fast enough that I couldn’t be up to speed and be successful? And therefore you on the losing end of this decision. But I  challenge you to do that. He  got a chuckle and he go, okay, I appreciate it.

Two weeks later, he calls me and says, you son of a bitch. All I’ve been thinking about you is looking me in the eye and saying, I challenge you. And he goes, let’s talk. They hired me. Months later, I was the third employee in the office. I was a partner within three years or two and a half years. I was their number one rep in the out of the branch office. And then I became sales manager within three years and ran the team here. Yes. Just kept going and going.

Selling Intangibles

Well, that brings up a question I’m going to ask later as we talk about your recruiting business and so on. But you know, if you’re a sales rep and you’re selling yourself to an employer, how do you sell those intangibles like you did? What’s the key? What’s the lesson, the takeaway for a sales reps? Listen to this. Looking perhaps for the next job, the next opportunity. How do you package those intangibles like you did?

Great question. It is one of my biggest passions. When it comes to sales and that’s hiring salespeople and more importantly, salespeople learn to fricking sell themselves. You do exactly what you do when you’re selling the product, right? When I was talking to Mike, unbeknownst to myself, intuitive. But what I quickly realized what his challenge was.

He’s opening an office. He needs to get up and going quickly. He hasn’t found the person that can do that yet. He’s looking for experience. But if he doesn’t find that experienced quick enough, he’s going to lose sales here. That’s all business problems, right?  Just like any other type of business problem. If you’re selling a sales acceleration tool. If you’re selling a H.R. system? If your selling a finance system. Those are the business problems.

I quickly inserted myself as a solution to his business problem and said, okay, I get it. I stated it back to him at the time and realized I don’t think I realized what I was doing. But I said, okay, here’s your problem, you need to hire someone quickly, you don’t have that person yet. If you don’t get that person fast enough, you lost time that I could have been working. Are you willing to take that risk?

That’s just citing Mike’s business problem, right? I got the guy thinking about it and treat it exactly. Not kind of like, not similar to, not almost like, treat it exactly like a sales call. And you’re sitting across that interview and you ask them every question you could possibly imagine about that sales organization. Why they’re not making their sales goals? What some of the salespeople are doing successfully?  Where what they’re doing poorly.

What they’d like to see the sales team do differently? Why don’t think that penetrating accounts? Why they think they could improve in the territory management? And when you get all those holes, all you talk about is how you and your selling approach and your sales methodology and the things you’ve done in the past, fix those holes. Oh, you said your team struggles a territory management and getting into a counseling. They don’t know who you are.

Well, let me tell you, one of my things I’m best at is selling the intangible and connecting with people don’t understand. How do I do that? I leverage education. I educate people before I start selling the people. Now I’m filling your holes. You can’t help but hire me.

Okay, let’s look at the flip side of them. Why is that so hard for business owners and business managers, CEOs and PPC sales to make good hiring decisions?

They don’t trust it.

Two reasons. First, most people don’t sell that way. Most people get across from me. First they play the game. They tell you they think you want to hear. I’ve watched people sit on the recruiting side. I don’t spend too much time in my crews. But every once in a while, I interview people and I watch them sell themselves out of a job because they start telling you what they think you want to hear.

They focus too much on this checklist of stuff. And if you don’t have the perfect checklist, you get bounced out. So, salespeople one, it’s hard for sales managers because salespeople don’t know how to sell themselves. The second one, is sales manager and sales leaders eat chickenshit. They’re afraid to hire people who don’t have this certain checklist, 10 years experiences, SaaS experience. One of my favorite ones is to all your listeners and sales managers.

Listen up. If it doesn’t matter if someone has sold SaaS or not. SaaS is no different than any other sale. It’s a freaking platform. Let it go, right? They’ve got to let it go and they’ve got to trust, right? They want the checklist because they want the tangible stuff.

And then finally, it’s because when they try to get the intangible stuff, they don’t know how to look for it. They don’t have to test for it, or don’t know how to ask questions for it.

I’m a firm believer of testing, salespeople in the knowledge they need to have, the skills they claim they have. And yet it seems like managers have something. They think it’s such a radical idea. I mean, I had a client that was trying to hire a director of sales that was going to be both a manager and a bag carrier and need to be self-sufficient doing presentation.

We brought the candidates in that we’ve screened the resumé and brought candidates in that we thought were going to fit the job and put them in a room with a laptop and a brochure and said put together a three slide PowerPoint presentation on this product. We’ll come back in 10 minutes and pitch it to us. And only five of the 20 we brought in stayed around to do it.

Oh, my gosh. Wow. Okay, there you go. There’s people, salespeople themselves, not being committed to the process and not knowing how to do it.

Yes, as I was thinking I thought was beneath them or whatever.

Good. Well, that’s filtering because it’s beneath them. You can’t count on them to be good salespeople. Well, that’s what they want, and they do when they get the job. How do you help companies verify and validate claims that salespeople make while they’re selling themselves to them?

Verify and Validate

Most of the problems I see oftentimes with hiring managers as they fall in love with the candidates before they do the reference checks. The reference checks just become performing at that point.

From a recruiting side of the house, we don’t help our customers or clients do that.  It doesn’t really fit in a lot of times. They don’t want to. They don’t believe they have a problem. They think they’ve got it right. And there’s been times we’ve had conversations with our clients and use what a fantastic person goes about.

You know, they  seem good. They seem pretty good. But we just felt that they just have enough SaaS experience.

Are you kidding? Are we really talking about this? I can’t help those people. But when it comes to my clients on the consulting side, we build a methodology for the hiring process. And one of the things we do, which we do on the recruiting side is, we force our clients to build what we call critical success factors. Tell us what is critical to getting this job done. And almost inevitably, they come back with some high-level stuff like good critical thinking skills, SaaS experience.

No, no, no, no, no.  Get in the job, get into it, get into it up to your elbows and knees, up to your elbows and shoulders and what do they have to do? And then we start getting to some good critical success factors. I’m making one up. The person have to be fantastic prospector and they have to generate large amounts of top of the funnel.

Okay. That’s a critical success factor. We can measure against that. Another one could be they have to be very detail oriented because they have to draft their own proposals and they have to be convincing via the written word. Right? Yes. They convince via the written word so they can be his oratory because propose a critical way to respond are and we hate them. That’s just the nature of our world.

Okay, great. You get two, three, four, five with those critical success factors. And that’s where we spent 80 to 90 percent of the time focusing on. We wouldn’t get to the other stuff, right? But if they don’t have those three or four things, we know they’re going to fail. Right. And then we build evaluation process just to assess those. And it just depends on what they are.

One is an example. One thing I love Mark Roberge’s talked about in his book, The Sales Acceleration Formula, is one of the things they found that was critical to success was, being coachable. In his interview process, he had them do a demo on the fly, then would tell them what he liked about him, tell him what he didn’t like about him, coached them and ask them to do it again.

And he would assess how well they took in the knowledge, what he says, absorb the knowledge and how well they applied the knowledge, and he could determine how coachable they were simply from that. That was a methodology designed to find and assess a particular skill set or critical success factor. And we do the same thing here.

And test it, which are so important. Test it. Yes. You hear an opinion on my belief, and I’ve practiced over the years is that if somebody has a claim that they make either verbally or on the resumé, they need to build a validate and verify.

Yes. And that’s your job to be able to come up with ways to do that.

A scenario.

Yes. All right, we got two hypothetical scenarios. I’m asking everybody these questions.

The first one is you’re a CEO or a sales manager of the company. You got  a brand new, very innovative product. Perhaps you’re creating a new category, a new market niche with it. What are the two things, the most important things you need to do to build critical momentum in the marketplace for an innovative product. I mean, how do you sell innovation?

I’m a huge fan of teaching. In the market was the thing I’m zeroing in on. First thing you have to do in the market is almost everything you put out has to educate and teach and not about your product per say. It can be one of every five pieces you put out, but you have to educate on the problem. You have to educate on the impact of the problem.

You have to educate a why the problem wasn’t solved. You have to educate on what happens when the problem is solved. You have to educate on the impact of the change going from where it was today to where it is tomorrow. You have to educate on everything you can. You have to be constantly teaching people who come to you, get in touch with you or surround themselves with you. It’s all about education and teaching. And you got to build a sales team that is able to educate and teach, right?

Do get someone their mavericks. I got to give the man credit, Mark Schuster, he wrote. He’s not a sales guy. I’m jealous because I wish I had written this. He wrote his four types of salespeople and he called them superstars, mavericks, journeyman and get rid of them or fire them. And basically, was an axis of those who do really well with structure and direction. Those who do really well. You know, they’re very natural salespeople. They don’t need a lot of direction.

Sometimes they actually fight it, but they can sell the intangible and then the superstar can do both. You need mavericks, those people who can sell the intangible, who can spin a vision and a story that gets people connected. You can educate them along the path that don’t need nestle to follow it step by step, right? You need those types of people.

Excellent. I love the answer. Okay, stay with us. We’re going on a short break. Come back. Jim Keenan, sales guy, can share with us some of his tips are quickly amping up your sales. We’ll be right back.

Welcome back. My guest today, Jim Keenan. You can find Jim online at asalesguy.com. All right. I got another hypothetical scenario for you.

Another scenario.

You’re a new manager hired into a team that’s been stagnant sales wise. You’re under pressure. You made it SaaS company and you’ve got that metric. And if you don’t make a difference within 30 days, you’re out. What two things to do in the first week that could have the biggest impact?

Get to know the team. Get to know the teams. If I only had two weeks, the first thing I would say to somebody is if you know going in that they’re going in the wrong direction. Don’t have to take a job with the expectation that you’ll turn it around in 30 days. You need to get by and on the front end that if they’re going in the wrong direction.

There is no panacea. And if they think hiring you as the panacea, you’re not going to be the scapegoat. You’ve got to negotiate more time. But using your hypothetical, I think the most important thing you can do in the first two weeks is get to know the team. I mean, embed yourself in the team.

Who are the players, who are the influencers, who are the strugglers, who is not going to fit? Who is going to fit? Who can rely on? Who can you not rely on? What are their skills? What are their strengths, weaknesses? How do they interact with one another? How do they collaborate together?

And that’s your core sales team. And then look at the surrounding team. Who’s running marketing? Who is running product or product marketing? Who influences them? Who is supporting sales? Who is detracted from sales and basically know all the players involved as much as you possibly can?

Okay. I like it.

What is the single biggest challenge the salespeople have today?

The Biggest Challenge For Salesperson

I’m going to say… THEM.

If you would ask this question four or five years ago, I would say competition in the market. We are still coming out of a slow economic time. And people aren’t loosening up their purse strings. Your value proposition had to be substantially higher and you had to, et cetera, et cetera.

But today, people are spending money. We’re seeing growth. We have all of the tools in the world to support you in that effort. You’ve got social selling is an additional tool, a value proposition or approach, a strategy to help you. I think it’s people, salespeople themselves. I still don’t believe the average salesperson can sell to save their life.

I encounter salespeople every day from a recruiting perspective or try to sell me on stuff. And they’re absolutely lack of ability to find out what the true business problems are. Their lack of understanding of business principles, business acumen, the processes and the approaches at which their product or service affects. I mean, that’s the big one to me. If you sell something nine out of 10 times, that product or service affects my current way of doing things.

And so, if you can anticipate or better yet, you’re educated and schooled on how we go about our business in the areas of our business processes and our business methodologies in the area of which you sell in the market. You should be asking me those questions.

Hey, Jim, how do you currently do X today? Would you mind sharing me the challenges of trying to deliver Y or whatever the case may be and get all that out of me and then say, oh, look, we can make that process easy, we can make that methodology and we can simplify those approach and get me engaged. But they don’t. They don’t.

They just want to start talking about their product. They move really fast. I had a guy coming up the other day and say, I’d like to talk to you about getting you lists. I didn’t think he knows. Why would I spend five minutes? You’re talking a list. Why do I need a list? Why would I need a list? Why would I need your list? I don’t use lists like, no. I hung up because okay thanks. I thought to myself, yes, you’re your biggest problem. Right. So, salespeople are their biggest problem.

The Attitude

When I think about you. I think about attitude, right? I mean, your attitude is great, right? You’ve got the badass thing and you live it. You are this person that you portray. And have since has a role in your success.

What role does attitude play in sales success and how can people develop a more fearless attitude that gives them the confidence to ask some of these questions and act the way they need to act?

This, my young brother, is a deep, deep question. Look, I don’t know why people don’t have the right attitude. I don’t know why people don’t commit to themselves. That’s what I would tell you right now. Everybody listen. You may not like this, but you don’t commit. You’re not committed to your job. You’re not committed to much of  anything. I may not go so far as your family because I know you feel that way. Oh, my God. I may dig that hole for myself.

Let me tell you how. I’m actually going to post this graphic today or tomorrow on Twitter. The world is an interesting place when it comes to commitment and getting stuff done in growing, right? If you look at when people do things, a bell curve, if you will, right? When you do something, when you commit to something, whether it’s playing soccer, whether it’s learning to be a salesperson, whether it’s your job, whether it’s skiing, whether it’s whatever.

When we start something for the very first time, the return on investment is awesome, isn’t it? When you learn something for the first time you put in two hours, you can start to understand it pretty quickly, can’t you? You get better pretty fast, right? Right. And then if you put in a couple of days, you get better even faster. What happens is we learn things, we get involved in things. We don’t have to work too hard to get return and get better.

But somewhere along the line that switches. Then all of a sudden you start going on the downslope. You have to put in more and more and more and more time to get better. And most people don’t cross that hurdle. They do just enough to be okay. I call the people the first people get in and start doing something quit right away. I call them quitters. The people that get in and don’t quit and just kind of play in it and keep working as long as they get a positive return for their hours. One hour of work, I get a lot of return. I call them dabblers.

But when you get to the top of that bell curve and all of a sudden you have to work harder and put in more effort to get little return. They’re your hobbyists. And then as you go down even more and you have to put like ten like the amount of time a professional athlete has to put in to get better is weeks, months, if not years to see a little bit of improvement. They’re your professionals.

And then below them they get superstars. Almost nobody plays in the professional superstar. Most you people playing the hobbyist. Almost everybody is a dabbler. Why they’re a dabbler? I can’t tell you. I don’t know.

But they just can’t commit. The minute it gets hard, the minute they have to actually go the extra mile and actually have to sacrifice. They don’t do it.

I ask salespeople all the time, what’s the last sales book you read? Oh, I haven’t read one a long time. Well, then, how the freak do you call yourself a good salesperson? What is the deliberate learning you’ve committed to over the last six months, year, two years, ten years, twelve years of your career to get better? If it’s nothing. I don’t know why. I don’t know why people think that they don’t have to get better.

I just posted an article about what are you going to sacrifice to get better? Right? If we just talk about one hour of TV a week, right? Stop watching The Bachelorette and or The Bachelor or whatever your guilty pleasure is and read a sales book. Something that one hour a day. That’s all you need. One hour a day.

The Convincer Zone

I don’t know why, Andy, if I had if I knew why. I’d be the new Anthony Robbins. I could tell you why. But it irks me. And I think it’s one of things. I think it’s a lack of self-awareness and I think it lack of accountability. People don’t like holding themselves accountability that full of shit.

I’m telling everybody listening right now. Nine out of 10 of you are full of shit. You’re not as good as you think you are. You’re not committed to getting as far as you want to get. And you’re convincing yourself you are.

I actually wrote a post just the other day. You’d love it if you want to check it out. It talks about what real hard work is and there’s what I call a convincer zone. And basically the idea is hard work as we define. It isn’t what most people define it. Because hard work is measured on two axis. It’s measured actually the complexity, the pain, the difficulty, right? It’s hard but it’s also another axis. And that’s. Do I like it?

And there’s a lot of things that are, quote unquote, complex or rote, onerous, difficult, hard, painful, gruesome that we like to do. That’s really not hard work, right? Right. And then there’s a lot of work we don’t like to do. That’s not very hard. It’s easy. It’s quick like billing and salesforce, for instance. That’s not hard work, but we don’t like it.

It feels like hard work. But we do it and we say, look, I’m working hard. I’m filling up my salesforce. That’s not hard work. When we’re doing those two things, when it’s either we like it and it’s hard work or we don’t like it, it’s easy. We’re convincing ourselves we’re working hard. That’s the convincer zone. What real hard work is, is when I don’t freaking like it and it’s freaking hard. Well, I do that work.

And to your point made earlier. You know, the marginal return you’re getting on, is small, but that could be the difference in winning and losing.

Holla. Yes, absolutely.

Yes, absolutely. One percent makes the difference. There’s a great Tour de France as we’re recording this. The Tour de France is on. And there’s an article I read about professional bike riders, the Sky Team. It’s one of the prominent teams in the Tour de France. And they do everything in terms of how they fix the bikes, the position of the riders on the bikes, how they know their tactics and the race. You know, the diet, everything is designed for what they call the aggregation of the one percent marginal gain.

They’re just looking for a one percent difference. And they know if they get that one percent all that hard work for one percent improvement, that’s nothing to sneer at. That’s the difference in winning and losing.

Holla. Yes, yes.  Most people don’t want to do it though. They’re content. I think that’s it. I think they’re content and they’re happy and so they just accept it.

Yes. And I think also they start protecting what they have, right? And I think business owners, the big lesson for business owners, salespeople have had some successes. Once you start trying to put yourself in a position of just protecting what you have. Then you start going downhill. Yes, no question. There’s no standing still. No. All right. We’re going to wrap up here with some Rapid-fire questions. You can stream of consciousness. You can get one-word answers, or you can elaborate.

Rapid-fire Questions

What’s the most powerful sales tool in your arsenal?

I’m going to go with BombBomb right now. I’m a big fan of BombBomb. My team uses it. I don’t use it as often cause I’m not saying it’s up, but I’m going with BombBomb.

Who’s your sales role model?

I guess Richard Branson is someone I admire, and I’d like to follow MLK because not only did he build the vision, he did it nonviolently. I always think, boy, talking about a sales job. You had millions of really pissed off, oppressed, big, physically beaten down people and he got them to cut them to march into Hell’s Kitchen and not raise a fist. I just want you to think about that sales job for a second. Yes and okay, from that perspective.

And that’s a great point because no salespeople tend to forget that sales is equal parts inspiration, leadership as well as knowledge and all the other things that you know. But in being able to inspire some of it to take a journey with you is fundamental to selling.

All the stuff you just said is sales acts, sales tactics. True sales, in its essence, in its simplest form is influencing change. That’s it. All the stuff you described is how you do that, right?  But sales in itself is influencing change. I agree. And the best salespeople can influence change at any time. Get my kids eat their broccoli, get this man or woman to marry me. Get my boss to get a new office. Get somebody to give me the promotion. Get someone to hire me when I have any credentials whatsoever. Right? That’s all influence.

What’s the one book every salesperson should read?

Execution. Who wrote it? Larry Bosidy and Ram Charan. Okay. The reason I like that book so much, it’s really not a sales book per se, but it’s about execution. And what I really like about it is, it’s literally the most influential book in my life because it changed how I looked at the world.

It forced me to start asking questions about how to get it done. When you start looking at the world through the eyes of how do I get it done? Someone comes to you and says, I need this sold next week. And in the past, I would be like, I could sell that now around do it.

After reading that book, I was like, wait a minute, how am I going to do that? Who do I need to talk to? What calls do I make? What markets do I need to go into? What happens if this doesn’t happen? What I mean is what. And it changed everything. And most people aren’t good at that execution part.

What’s your favorite music to listen to? To psych yourself up for a sales call.

Hip hop and or hip hop/rap and or every once in a while, there’s a heavy metal band that creeps in that really gets my attention. I like Linkin Park. My big one today is, Five Finger Death Punch is one of my favorite bands right now. Pretty heavy metal. I don’t know them. Okay. I think it’s pretty heavy, but it snuck in.

They got a great song called “Wrong Side of Heaven.” And so, yes, to get me pumped I listen to some pretty heavy stuff on the rap side or the heavy metal side. Not intentionally meant for kids, but it works for me.

What’s your definition of value in sales?

My definition of value. That’s an interesting question. How do you define that? My definition that I use what the customer client says is valuable. I dig there. I try to find out how they measure value. And that’s what I shoot for because I think it’s valuable. It doesn’t matter.

What you do to keep fit and healthy?

G-E-N-E-S. I’ve been blessed with genes, thank mom. At 47, I’m still exact same body I had when I was in high school right down to the abs and I don’t work out. You do ski, though. I do ski, but I’ve ski so long and so well that it’s efficient. Like I don’t burn any calories. I mean, I’m sure I do, but I ski so efficiently. It’s not a cardio workout.

May we all be blessed with your genes. So, yes, thanks mom.

The one question you get asked most frequently by salespeople

How do you get someone reengaged?

I think it’s one of the most problems. They go dark. How do you get people go dark to come back into the scene? That’s probably the one I get the most.

What’s your answer?

It’s a twofold answer, the tactical answer is you got to basically back and hold them accountable for what they said. So, they said, oh, I’ll get back to the week or they said whatever they said, you have to hold them accountable. I’m confused. You said you talked to me a week or I’m confused. You said and you put it back on them to hold them accountable. And that’s not a hundred percent, but it gets you.

It’s amazing how people react when they realize that they’re being jerks, right? And then the other one, because it’s going dark, not people you can never got in touch with when someone goes dark. You had some interaction with them, and they said they were interested. They said something, right? They set some invitation.

So, I help people. I say, look, you got a crafting team to hold him accountable. List what they said they would do. You list the timelines. They said they would do it. You say you’re confused because it’s not getting done. And then you challenge them with why not? And what can you do different? How do we close the loop or whatever? That usually gets them back on the line.

There’s no way to sell it, but it gets you re engage. The other part I tell him, though, is you’re in this situation because of all the stuff you didn’t do up to it. You didn’t understand what the value proposition was. You were selling ether and they finally got bored of your stuff or you didn’t take control of the sales process. And when they said, okay, great, let’s talk in a week.

And try to schedule right then or you didn’t attach the sales process to a deliverable or a business challenge. It is important enough, valuable enough to keep them engaged.

Usually it’s a whole series of sales issues, of problems that culminated in that getting back with you and going dark, not actually then it was all you up to that point. And I teach them how to keep that from happening again.

Perfect. Good answer. Good one-word answer, too. Last question.

What do you do each and every day to get better either work or in life?

I read. I read a lot. And now I’m actually watching a lot more videos. I’ve been producing more videos. I find myself watching more videos. And the other thing I do, and this is probably a good way to end. I deliberately learn and I’ve written about this constantly on my blog.

Deliberate learning says, what don’t I know? And what do I want to know tomorrow? And if you can build a mentality about deliberate learning, the sky is the limit. Most people don’t deliberate learn. They learn reactive. They watch. Oh, hey, look, I just learned that. Oh, hey, that was me.

They don’t sit down and say, oh, shit, what don’t I know? And what do I want to know tomorrow? And best yet, what will be most productive for me to learn, today? If I knew about this today, how much better would I be? Okay, great. I’m going to go learn that.That’s amazing of curiosity it does for you.

Deliberate learning. Yes, deliberate learning security also should drive the deliberate learning, but be deliberate in your learning. Don’t be open to learning. That’s everybody. I’ll be open like, no, fuck that. Be deliberate. Know exactly what you’re going to learn and why it’s important and why you want to learn. And go learn it and check it off and then go learn something else.

Wrapping Up The Episode

Perfect. I love it. That has been Jim Keenan, he’s been our guest today. Jim Keenan, a sales guy. Keenan, tell people where they can find you.

You did a good job. asalesguy.com. Keenan on Twitter. Keenan on LinkedIn. And that’s K-E-E-N-A-N. Yes. And if you just Google Jim Keenan, you’ll find me everywhere. So, God. But I did not break any laws because they will find me in an instant. New York minute.

Well, you didn’t break any laws in the show, so we’re good. Thanks. Thanks. How we’re going to sign off. Remember people, if you’re an entrepreneur, you’re in sales and if you’re in sales, you are an entrepreneur. As Jim said, you need to make it a part of your day every day to deliberately learn something new to help you amp up your business. Until next time, this is Andy Paul. Good selling, everyone.

Thanks for listening to the show. If you like what you heard and want to make sure you don’t miss any upcoming episodes, please subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher.com. For more information about today’s guests, visit my website at andypaul.com