The Sales Hacker Podcast
The Sales Hacker Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

51. How to Move from Feature Selling to Gap Selling w/ Keenan

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This week on the Sales Hacker podcast, we interview world famous sales expert, consultant, trainer, and thought leader, Keenan.  We walk through his humble beginnings at the Denver Chamber of Commerce and dive deep into the concept of “Gap Selling”, referencing the book Keenan wrote and unpacking how to move from feature-centric to problem-centric selling and, in doing so, transform your win rates and sales effectiveness.  

One, two, one three, hey everybody, welcome back to the sales hacker podcast. That was my that's my like sort of traditional announcer of voice. At any rate, it's Sam Jacobs. It's your host. I am the founder of revenue collective. We are an exclusive community for commercial operators of growth companies all of the world, where in six cities. Officially, I'm actually reporting this from Austin, Texas, where we're trying to figure out if there's enough people that care about accelerating their careers at the VP level and above that want to join revenue collect of that makes sense to have an Austin chapter, but that's not the point of why I'm talking to you right now. Why I'm talking to you right now is because we've got Keenan on the show today. Keenan is the founder of a sales guy, which is his consulting firm, his recruiting from his training firm, and he's also the author of gap selling and he is a passionate and controversial, some might say, sales leader and thought leader and he's an incredible guest and've got a lot of great insights. Really. You know, what comes through in this conversation is his passion for selling and his passion for being great, and it's really it's a really an amazing story. And then we also dive deeply into really the power of discovery and why gaps selling, which is the book and the philosophy that Keenan teaches is all about connecting this this concept of a current state which is untenable, to a future state which is ideal, and making the current state as uncomfortable as possible. We've talked about that a lot in the podcast with other guests. Keenan does a great job of emphasizing emphasizing these ideas. Now, before we get to the interview, we want to thank our sponsors. The first is chorus. That's chorus that AI, the leading conversation intelligence platform for high growth sales teams. Chorus, for course, transcribes and analyzes business conversations in real time to co traps on how to become top performers. Now with chorus, more reps meat quota, new hires ramp faster and leaders become better coaches. Everyone in the organization can collaborate over the actual voice of the customer. So check out chorus DOT AI forwards lass salesacker to see what they're up to. And our second sponsors, of course, outreach. This is the leading sales engagement platform. Outreach support sales reps by enabling them to deliver authentic communication at scale, from automating the soul sucking manual work that eats up selling time to providing action oriented tips on what communications are working best. Outreach has your back. Now, without further ado, let's listen to this amazing interview with Keenan on the salesacer podcast. Hey, everybody, it's Sam Jacobs. Welcome back to the salesacker podcast. Today we've got a very, very special guest. We've got Keenan on the show. Now, there are probably three people out there in the world that don't know who keen it is. So, if you don't know who he is, he runs a sales consulting, recruiting, speaking and Training Company called a sales guy, which, of course, he started, and he also wrote a very powerful and influential book in the field of sales called gap selling, which he's going to walk us through and talk to us about. So, without further ADO, Keenan, welcome to the show. What's up? Sam Jacobs, mom man, if you all are out there, listening and you don't know, we've recorded this two times already and each time the computer crash. So we're hopeful of this is the third time is the charm. But now, at this point, Keena and I know each other pretty well. So, Keenan Joe, it's driving insane. God. Okay, let's hope, let's hope and pray that this will work out. But you know, there's some you've written this book APP selling. You are a very influential and noteworthy thought leader on the sales scene and in the in sort of like helping companies grow sphere. But there's a few people out there that don't know who you are. So, in your words, tell us what a sales guy is and what you all focus on, and then we'll dive into a little bit of background and then we'll talk about the book gap selling. Yeah, so a sales guy is sales consulting, recruiting and Training Company. We help companies make their number like we try to change the way people sell by providing the guidance, direction, insight, knowledge and fundacial elements to developing and executing just badass sales teams. That's impressive. And then and there's a recruiting component to so you also help them find great sales people. Is that right? Yes, absolutely, absence, which can be tough sometimes. And is it? Is it international, national, and do you have a sort of geographic area focus where most your clients are? Just if we want to have out international brother, I mean you know, we we it's what is it? Two Thousand and nineteen? People find you and when you have a mouth as big as I do and you've written a couple of books and you have a decent online presence, they find you. Like I have to. I got to go to Ireland in two weeks and was an Australia earlier this year and yeah, I'm got to go to Israel soon. I'm all over the place. That's awesome. That's fantastic. Well, how did that? Let's how did you get into this? You know, what's your background? How did you become a sales guy, quote unquote, and and walk us through a little bit about sort of, you know, the life's journey and also along the way, I'm sure we'll...

...talk about some of the concepts that inform your perspectives on gap selling. Yeah, yeah, so, look, I've been a sales guy in my whole life. Like that's the bottom line, and I even know it. Like my aunt used to call me that, you know, and I don't think she was being nice when she did it, but she was so used to call me that. I just had a knack for influencing people. And and really, let's break it down, that's what sales all about. It's about influencing people's decisions. And as a kid, like if I wanted to play a certain sport, but play a certain game on the playground, you know, and all the other kids want to play kickball, and I wanted to play high and go see I get those kids. Those kids play in hind go seek if it came held a high water, and I figured that out right. And then I was also a little hustler, like I you know, my school had this this big raffle competition and I went out and sold more raffle tickets in anybody. So like ninety raffle tickets and nobody else sold anywhere closer that'Xi. This one key too, so like seven books, which is ten a book, and I did a door to door and I busted my hop I mean, imagine how many doors you got a knock on to sell ninety tickets. You figure if you get one person to answer the door before doors, you know you get knocking on four hundred doors with this clown. Got His mom to come down. We found it. I sold more and got her to buy more tickets to put him over the top. I remember the assembly. You want to see a kid seething. It's almost like if the sports, you know, Games today zero win on somebody sitting there not paying attention or picking their nose and they watch him, they would have found me because I was seething mad and I was sitting that thing and I could even tell you what first place was. But second place was a like a coupon for free ice cream cone. I want to stick that up the principle's ass. I was so pissed off Suman because because he didn't earn it, like the kid in nerd his mom is walked in bottom. We know, we know as a name. Who is this kid? I don't remember. I just remember I lost and I was mad because I worked so hard. But anyways, and so I did that most of my life. You know, as a kid who started, I can miss all the kids, other kids, all the kids to pull their money and we did lemonade stands. I build haunted houses in my basement. I was always selling and building something. And then, you know, in two thousand, know what, Ninety seven, I was living in Self Beach Miami. I was modeling. I did it for Tommy Hill fo girl and and you know, East Mountain Sports and and you know, it was called may company back then, and Nord strum's and I mean I did for all kinds of stuff. My Buddy called me up and said, Keenan, it's time to come home, you know, to be a supermodel. You getting old. I got a job for you selling chamber memberships you. So I did the math in my head and said, all right, I'm going to come home, I'll sell chair memberships. You're going to pay me a thousand of bucks a week. And this is a ninety seven. I was twenty seven years. I was like Hell Yeah, I'll do it. Had you ever lived in Denver before? Yeah, I actually had. I was. I had modeled in Denver and finish school, and that's really how it happens. I'm modeled in Denver and I did it part time. Finish school and didn't really have anything on the horizon. So you know, modeling is sort of like baseball. You you go to markets and you build your book and you it's called building your book, and you shoot with as many people as you can, you do editorial stuff, you get as many gigs you can and you build your book and then you go to bigger and bigger markets. Well, Miami was the stepping stone to getting to New York and you go there during the season, usually from about January to March, December to March, and so I figured out I'll be down there, build my book and see if I get in with New York and keep going. And after about a month, month and a half, and I was doing okay, but it wasn't really going very far. That's my buddies to just come home. Do come home and I got a job for you. So I said fuck it, came home. And so, and this is I mean, obviously when you're modeling you're selling your body and you're selling your good looks, but you know, the Denver Chamber of Commerce was your first official sales job, if I'm not mistaken. Yes, walk us through, and that led you somewhere. That led you somewhere, that led you somewhere, that ultimately led you here walk us through that process and also super curious about there was this moment in your career when you decided I've got to start sharing my ansights and talking about my struggles and walk us through the development of that, because I think that was the inflection point that led us to this, to this moment right now. Yeah, yeah, totally, totally. So I give my buddy credit. So he had his own business and he was a member of the Chamber and the president said, the head of sales said they were looking for a new person and he said you got to hide this guy, Keenan, it's what he called me. Said listen, Keenan, the chamber is packed with all these business minds and business people and who's who have Denver. So go there for one year. You'll meet all of these people. You able to parlay that into a new job. So that was a good sales job. On him himself. I still could. That makes sense to me. So I went there and I broke every sales record. You could imagine, number one, biggest sale, most sales in a month, bost sales and the year like I was crushing it and I was doing really, really well, and then this company came in that sold it consulting services. I saw the writing on the wall. I mean if the chamber there's I mean it's it's you're not really going anywhere. The average membership was like six hundred bucks, you know, and I knew there was bigger, more complex professional selling gigs out there. So this company came in, was it consulting services, and I was like who? I think this is a big sale. So I said that they were open an office in Denver and I said, Hey, man, I'd like to talk to you about coming to work for you guys, and he was like look, you're an impressive guy. You, you, you know. I sold them a membership and I saw them one of the twenty five hundred...

...dollar ones. That's three x the average sale, right, and he's like I like he was doing, but I think we're going to need some more expertise because you don't know anything about our industry. You don't even sell them for a year. And I'm like okay, because but I'll introduce you to the the new branch manager. So new branch manager shows up and he said Hey, I hear you're interested in coming to work for us. I said Yeah, totally and I'm like, I'm like a little labrador retrieve a puppy. I he goes, look, because I heard good things about you, but because we're opening this brand new office, we need somebody. Is exactly what he said. He goes, we need somebody who can hit the ground running. You have you have only been sign for year and you have no experience in our space. What I'd like to do is have you come in in six months or so or a year after we've been established. We can give you the attention you need. And I looked at him. I said, okay, that makes sense, but let me ask you this question. Have you found this person yet who has all this experience and can do that, hit the ground running? And he said no, we haven't. And I looked him right in the eye and I said I challenge you to find this person quickly, because if you don't, you'll bet you'll be behind the eight ball because you could have hired me. I would have been training and been on the ground running by the time you found this guy. I challenge you to find that person quickly. It was my exact words. He chuckled a little and said okay, great idea. He calls me back two weeks later and it's exactly what he said. I'm not kidding, goes, you son of a bitch. All I kept thinking about I challenge you too, and he thought it was the funniest thing. And so they hired me with this one other girl, just like what they hired me at the chamber with this one other guy. The guy that had me at the chamber didn't make it. Three months I became a top producer. They hired me with this other girl because she was just, you know, out. She was the safety net and I was the risk. She didn't make it. Three months I was the number one REPP in that company, I mean in that branch. Then I became the manager that I became a partner, and so I just did that three years slate it, and then another client came along and they hired me to run their manage mode and division. It was two hundred and twenty five people, three hundred million in revenue. So I went from basically modeling on the beach of South Beach Miami in one thousand nine hundred and ninety seven to two thousand running a one hundred and twenty five person three hundred million dollar sales division three years. Wow, that's amazing. And then there was a point at which you just started. Is it you started a blog or like what you there's a moment at which you started describing your experience. Walk us through that process and that thought process. Yeah, so what happened was what happened was my career went so fast that my resume couldn't support it, if you will right. So here I am running this in and I'm fortunately it was in manage mode and which is basically provides a dial up service for all you big dial up companies. Well, they were moving to Broadban and this company's never brought band solution. So they went from flying high to basically nothing. And I lost my Gig. Okay, no big deal. I went out in the in the world to get a new GIG. People like no, like. I wasn't. It was before social so I couldn't really compete like these guys that would run and doing the same thing I was doing. They were forty five, fifty whatever, with twenty thirty years experience. So I started a company. It failed that I took another job, sort of that to take a step back, which I wasn't Kenu. It wasn't a huge step, but a somewhat of a step back. It wasn't key on it crushed it there again, crushed it there again. So I said I'm not going to be in a position anymore where I have to compete on my resume. I'm tired of this. Like I'm not doing this. So I said I what I'm going to do is I'm going to start a blog and I'm going to blog every single day about what it's like running sales teams, how to coach sales people, how to build sales organizations, how to build processes, like the whole gamut. And then the thought was, look, if a couple hundred people, or a thousand people at best, follow the blog and they know who I am and they like my stuff, if I ever need another job, all I have to do is say on the blog, Hey, I'm leaving such and such place. Anybody know of any opportunities? And I figure, you know, you get a thousand people out there that could you know that could help you find a GIG. That would shorten the process. That was the thinking, that was the logic. That was like the first kind of personal brand building, you know, in the era before linkedin. It sounds like, yeah, yeah, that was linked in the I don't know if liked you make me so. I started in two thousand and nine. So I think linkedin was just starting or it wasn't very old. They were around, but it wasn't. The thing that you're describing wasn't very popular on Linkedin at that point, which is, you know, thought leadership as a means of professional development. No, so that's what I did and I wrote a blog post for seven hundred and twelve days straight, roughly, you know, may have missed a couple here and there a front time purposes. Where seven hundred twelve blog post and two years into it, it just all of a sudden. I mean, look, it was incremental, but people reaching out to me and that my stuff was twitter was big at the time. Twitter at my stuff was getting retweeted all the time and some, some established people like Jill Conrath and all this took notice and we're sharing my stuff and saying pay attention to this guy and and Blah, blah, Blah Blah. And next thing I know, yeah, I've got...

...people call me up asking me to consult with them. So I can't. Left my job and started a sales guy. And the reason it's called the sales guy, no offense to any of the women are out there anything, that was the name of the blog. So I had so much Seo cred and so much cred it didn't make sense to me to try to come up with a new name. Yeah, you can't do it. So what are the core you know we can. I mean this will probably move into the the concepts of gap selling, but when you think about what you're teaching, you you're flying all over the world. You are obviously a big personality, but you've got a lot of substance to share with people. What are the main themes that you were that you were that you were exhorting and trying to get sales people to adopt so that they can perform more effectively and they can crush it in the way that you did? Thank you great question and you're right. I work really, really, really hard on the substance because when you have a personality like mine and you don't conform to the gray suit, blue suit, tie shoe bullshit, people looking for a reason to discount you. These look right. So you know, I take pride and and one of the things that I really lean into, and I leaned it it most of my life. I didn't understand it until I started really breaking down the concept of gap selling is that selling is has nothing to do with you. It is not about you. Nobody could give a shit about you or your product or your services or anything. It's not about you. Yet most sales training his always pushed this idea that it's about you and your product. Like I remember some of the pitches and in decks I used to get when I first started. Opened up with we're in the five hundred and we have this many employees and we have this customer set and we've got this, and then it talking all about them and the product. That customs yawning. They're like I could just what, this is a waste of my time, I don't care. And so I learned this. You know, it's the fun out to a quick story. I learned this a lot as a kid because I used to get in trouble a lot as a kid. Match Ye's Shocker, yeah, shocker. I didn't do anything stupid like rob banks or steel cars or stuff like that. I just did stupid stuff that do people crazy. Anyways, I wasn't even a kid, but one of the examples was when I was in college. I came home one night and I had a g and I was at a bunch of buddies like two in the morning and had his big, huge lawn, the think of an east coast you know, Kisco School, East Coast School, big, huge, Long Green Lawn and and a winding road that went around it. I don't know what came over me be like hey, let's go four wheeling, and I just drove right across a lot right well, of course I'm gonna get caught. I mean I'm done with the bricks. They get caught and the Dean says you're off campus. They didn't get me out of school to kick me out of they kicked me out off campus. Well, I was an immigrated minor. I have no where to go. I lived on campus. That was my home. I didn't make enough money to get my own apartment. I couldn't drive in every day. So I looked at the looked at the dean. I said, listen, let me ask your question. Is You and I knew exactly what I was doing. I said, is your objective to throw me out of school and she goes. No, look, she goes. You're a good student. You bring it to a small school because you bring good Vue to the school. But what you did on the car, there's absolutely positively no way that I'm going to let you, list stay on this campus after what you did. And I said listen, I appreciate that, but if your goal is not to notice, I said it twice, if your goal is not to kick me off campus, that is effectively what you're doing. I'm an emancipated mine. I cannot afford my own apartment where in Denver and Newton. It's too expensive. I don't have the money. I am going to just have to drop out. So I took her. I said, so, what is your objective? Is She goes, you need to be punished for this. But I said okay, I appreciate that, and she said there and she stared at me for saying you could see the wheels turn it, because what was happening is her desired outcome was not being met by the punishment. Does that make any sense? Make sense to me. I love what you're doing here. Yes, so I just left it there and I didn't say another word. And she and a wheels attorney. She goes, okay, fine, I don't want to kick you off cameras. I don't want to undermine your education. So here's the deal. You have to stay off campus for two weeks. So I hidden my girlfriend's dormitory and I could come to class. I just could be nice. So I is high. I literally found a way to hide out for two weeks and then showed back up on campus at night and got back into my room and men's my dorm. So I tell the story in that I learned a long time ago that you need to focus on the buyer. What is the buyers desired outcomes? What is the buyer want to accomplish? What is the buyers current state? What makes them unhappy with the current state? What is the future state there trying to achieve, and how can you influence that? In that space between the current state and the future state is called the gap, and the bigger the gap, the greater motivation they have to buy, the more money they'll pay, the more engaged they'll be with you and the higher probability you have of closing the deal. And that's what gapsigns all about, and that's what I learned. So how do you how do you teach? It?...

Sounds like to the point of gaps selling the key, but tell me if I'm wrong. The key is making that gap as wide as possible and creating justice, yawning abyss between the current state, which is, I guess, hopefully, what you're trying to get the buyer to understand is that their current state is an abysmal, you know, hell, whole shit pile, and then the future is something beautiful and wonderful where everything is changed. How do you drive that wedge between that gap and make it as big as possible? Brilliant, Brillant, and you nail it in. You know, you used all the good keenan words, but in this one I actually use a much subtler, but I believe, more impactful word. The current state needs to be untenable, right it yes, at tenable, and one of the things I say in training and I say in the book and and I teach people is your job is not to tell the customer anything when it comes to their current state. You cannot tell the customer their currency because perceptions involved. What you can do, and what you should do is you should ask enough questions to uncover the full extent and contextual elements of where they where they are today, and what their environment or current state looks like and how it exists. And so the way that I do that, as I break it down into five sections, and your discovery or in your engagement with your customer, you want to know as much as you can about the literal and physical environment there in. And by the way, this is it relates to the product of service you sell. Do not ask questions that have nothing to do with what you sell, the outside of the context of what you sell, but based on what you sell, you want to ask as many questions and you want to uncover the physical and literal environment at which that buyer is currently living in existing, and what I mean my physical and little it's not the problems yet, it's not that. It's just it's the non judgmental stuff. Right. So, if, let's say you sell cyber security, and I'm making this up as I go so I'm probably going to stumble, but you just want to you may want to ask questions about the type of systems that you use today. Is it on Premi, is it off prem what type of software is it who's involved, how big the organization, you know, Blah, physical and literal. That's all you want. But then from there you want to understand what are the problems within that current situation and you want to talk, talk, but we can't do this. We can't do this. We're getting fishing, more fishing attacks. We like, we can't stop as many fishing attacks. We can't train out people. They're not they're not following the rules, like they're not taking the training there below us. So now I know the problems. Then from there I want to dig a little deeper, to say, I want to get to the impact of those problems. So because more fishing deals a getting because people on taking the training, because of this, because of that, are getting actually more mal we're weapon to buy more computers and we have to shut down the network where people have to come to in the morning. We missed our numbers for two four. You know, we got sued, we're out of compliance. We we're a lawsuit over Hipah, like, okay, who? That's a big impacts. Then I want to go the next level. I want to understand. Okay, what's the general emotional state of what's going on and it could be indifference, it could be fear, it could be anger. And so what I understand that now. I've got a good, really good understanding and the last thing I want now is the root cause. I want to be able to ask them, or or suggests them, what the root cause might be, because the root cause then acts as my conduit to my service, because if I know the root cause or I can explain to them what the root cause right, I can get them to agree with the root causes in my product of service eradicates or dresses the root cause. I have just get any seamless transition from their current state to the desired future state. And then I go into that. So understanding this, what are you guys shooting for from a cybersecurity perspective? What the future goals? What is your hopeing to accomplish? How would you measure success? And you do the same thing with the future state, physical, literal problem. What problems go away? The new impact? How is your organization going to be impacted by the new solution, the new desied emotional state? And then finally, the flips out of the root causes. What is the solution they're going to employ. What a souce you could employ. When you take a buyer through that whole process, you don't have to do anything. They basically sell themselves, they tell you everything and they just walk themselves right through the door. That sounds sounds sort of like easy to describe but hard to implement. One of the examples that you've given me in the past that I thought was awesome was this concept of was the example about a test? How much would you take to pass this? Know it was. It was like how much would you take to save your life? Walk us through that metaphor. Yeah, exactly, yeah, the Pill Metaphor. I tell us all the time. I love this. So what I say to people it looks it in my training, and ask them, okay, how many of you have ever had a Migraine? And a few people raising hand a said okay, well, those of you had it, you're going to appreciate this. I want everybody here to imagine they have a blistering, blistering, blistering migraine headache like sensitive, noise, sensitive, you can't get out of bed. It's Sunday morning and you can't get out of bed and you can't do anything and I say how many of you would pay five bucks...

...for that? Every hand goes up and I say keep the hands up until you wouldn't pay it, and I say fifty bucks, hundred bucks, and hands stopped to come down. Around a hundre. I go two hundred and a few more and around five hundred. It's fascinating, like I should like. This is really cool study. Almost every time I do this, right around five hundred dollars, we the majority of people's hands go down, no matter what group. It's powerful. So I said okay, great, I said, now let me ask you a few more questions before you decide. I said how many is what if I asked you what do you have to do tomorrow and you told me that you have a he said, oh, yeah, right, I have a proposal do and I said, Oh, what's the proposal for? And you tell me it's sales proposed. I say how much is it worth? And you say it's worth fifty million dollars and I said no, kidding, and I'm saying what's Your Commission on it? And you like Fiftyzero. I'm like, you've got a proposal for fifty million dollars, which fiftyzero commission due to you, due tomorrow, and you say yes, I see. Is it done? And you say no. I said, can you get it done with this? Said we're headache. You say no. I say how much you quote and you say my quote is is twenty million. So I she's going to double quarter. You say yes, this is going to send you on Presence Cup. You say yes. I say, what about ACCELERAT is? You guys have accelerator? Oh my God, I was even thinking about that. Yes, I would hit ACCELRAT is. I said, so this thing is worth anywhere from fifty two hundred thousand dollars to and you go yes, and I said, well, how much would you pay for my pill now? Would you pay a thousand bucks? All the hands go back up, right and I say would you pay two thousand, five thousand, around five or seven thousand? All the hands come back down and I said okay, Great, now that I've got seven thousand, I let me ask you another question before, before we make this transactions. And how long has this been going on? And you say to me it's funny. You ask. I never had he's a headaches in my entire life into the last four months. And then I say when is it hurt? He said that's weird to hurt some one particular spot. And then I say, okay, wait, does it have been? Master, with your motor skills, you see, yes, when I reached from my glasses, or I do this, I miss some more, I stumble a little, and I said mine, if I take a picture, I EMRI and you say yes, and I say, boom, you've got a malignant brain tumor. You got to die months. Jesus, Yes, right, and I see, you got to die in six months. My pill will solve that problem, to get rid of the malignant brain tumor. And I say so I said, how many of you will pay tenzeroll my pill? Now, all the hands go back up, and then I say how many pay Fiftyzero, hundred, thousand, a million, like every hand stays up, and then I say, okay, put your hands back down. Now I'll put theirs back and I said I want to do one more thing. I said, now that you've all been I cured you all of cancer. You love this pill, you come work for me and now you have to sell this pill. And then you you have some guy in the phone who you just find out he is a malignant brain tumor and he's gonna die in six months. And you in the pills a million dollars. How many of you come back and put in the cram that this deal is going to close and you tell you manage, you pumped, you're going to close this million dollar deal. About seven ace of the hands go up and I said, now, hold on a second, let me ask a question. How old is this guy? And they all just stop and stare at me and I say, and he said, I say he's ninety years old and he lives in a nursing home and his kids haven't come to see him in eighteen months. He hadn't seen his grandkids in two years. And all the people who went into the nursing home with a debt except one other person. And who don't like? Yeah, who doesn't like I said, how many people think that person is going to pay a million dollars? All the hands went back down. And so what I do use to illustrate this is frontent purposes. The pain in the problem is the same. It's the outcome. It's the space between the current state in the future state, that gap that drives the sale. So in the first one, when you could sit around all Sunday and drive and write it out, it wasn't a very big gap. In the second scenario, when you've got all this money in hand and your jobs at hand, etc. It was a much bigger gap. Thing I spend more time and effort to solve it. And the next one, where you thirty five years old or forty years old, you're going to die soon, you're not going to see you kids graduate from high school, you're not going to walk your dotta down the lane, down the island for a marriage you like hell, though I don't want to dine. It's every the biggest gap of the entire world. But then when I bring it down and say you ninety, Ninety five years old, living in a nurse who don't go see your kids, you're still dying just like the thirty four year old, but the impact of that, is done newly, is big. So now you shrunk the gap. And so if we're selling and we don't understand the size of the gap, we're not selling, we're taking orders because we have no influence on the sale whatsoever. That's what gaps selling about. That's the metaphor. Is it as simple? If you know, if you're a salesperson out there listening and you want to start out, you know you're excited about this podcast you're in. You're inspired by what you're saying. Is it a pimple? Is just, you know, stop talking so much and start asking more questions? Is that a good way to start practicing? Are you inspired? Saym my inspiring new and them extremely expired. Do I know I sound I usually sound like I'm just above catatonic. So maybe you know it's like to still a little tweak. Exactly. It's all on my context, in the gap.

It's the impact. Yeah, exactly. Look, it's not easy and I'm not going to bullshit people. I try to bullshitit people, and that even with some of my clients. I say you need to understand that some of your people will not be able to pull this off. You have to be smart, you have to listen. I do all kinds of exercise to show people that they're so entrenched and trying to get the customer to answer a certain way or they're looking for a certain answer, that they're not actually thinking through the process right. So I was literally. So you have to ask questions that allow you to understand where the customer is, where they could go, what things could be affecting them. And if you can't do that, you're just not going to be able to get to the depth that you want. So I tell people you have to to have phenomenal critical thinking skills, you have to have excellent business acumen and off the charts listening skills, and I guess it goes critical thinking, amazing connect the dot intuitiveness that you realize, Oh, this means this and that means that and that means that. So here's a good example. I was in a training yesterday with a with a s Ko for client right. They sell a service that allows the adoption and use of software applications to be magnified. Like they minimize people when you can churn when people don't use, don't use an applications, or company spends a lot of money to put in sales force and no one uses the type of thing. Right. Yeah, well, they're their application solves that. What also helps companies who have software externally. So let's say you're slack and you're trying to build in all these users and people come on and they try a free trial for once and then never come back and use it. Let's that's lost potential revenue. So this company solves that problem. Why? I asked them, how many of you have had the conversation with the potential client about what their growth goals are? Are they on the growth goals and if not, what is the difference? Where do they thwere should they be today? Where are they today? Where do they want to be tomorrow? And none of the people ever had those types of conversations and I was like that's really depressed. Like none of them thought of in their successful they're growing like weeds, but they don't think like that. I also said the same thing inside. It said how many of you ever asked the CIO, the head of sales when they invested in work day, they invested in sales force, they invested in Xys Sap? How many you ask them what was the business case for that application and are you meeting the business case today? None of never ask that question. I don't even work for him it. Within two minutes of talking to them and understating the business I was like, well, that's how you sell it. If I've invested a hundred twenty million dollars and implementing a software application. Somewhere there's a business case and I'm apposed to get some productivity returns. Right, yeah, it's I I'm not getting those productivity returns. I'm losing on the business case. You're telling me you can get me back to those productivity returns because that's what your product does. So how in the world is nobody having that conversation within blew me away. Yeah, blew me away. Well, hopefully they should. Yeah, go, they got it now. Oh, they figured out, they got it now. Smart People, Great Group of people. I Love Them. I love the good yeah, but that's most people. It's just not intuitive. It's just not intuitive. Want to you know, there's this concept that you talked about a lot, the difference between problem centric selling, which is, I think, what we're talking about a little bit, and product centric first, I think definitions are helpful. So walk us through the difference between problem centric and product centric and then talk to us about why product centric selling doesn't work. So the basically products interest selling. Put your product at the core. Right. It's about the features, it's about the benefit, it's what what your product can do. It's telling products me in the market it's how it was developed. It's just constantly focusing on the technology. Right, the service that that the could the enablement element of it. Problem centric selling actually starts with uncovering, assessing, evaluating and focusing on solving the problem. So in product centric selling, right, product centric sales people talk about the product, they focus in their company. They tell, they explain. The motivated by quota. Our product experts have technical discussions. Right, they react to demand. I need this, I need that. Right. Their emails and Cocos once. I like to talk to you about my product. Right can? I'd like to sorry about how my product can do this. Problem centric sales people actually talk about business problems, not the product. They focus on the buyer, not their company. They ask questions and inquire rather than tell explain. They're motivated by the customers success, not by quota. They're more like a business analyst the business discussions. They can create demand as opposed to react to demand. They really have to compete on price, where products actor, product...

...centered people have to compete on price all the time. Right, problems center people can challenge the buyer. They control the sale. They focus on the outcome. Product centered people and product centric selling. They can't control the sale because they're hold into what their product service can do. They're not connected to the problem. They sell features and benefits, they close out at the end. It's completely different. It's entirely different concept. It flips the whole script on its head. How do you move from product centric to problem centric? Stop the thinking about your product. I can literally if you tell me what your product solves, the problem your product solves, I can sell it without talking about the actual product until the customers is I'm ready to buy. So we've talked about this in the past and one of the lost tapes of the Jacob's Keenan, you know, lost. It's like the component Al Capone. I don't know. You know, I don't know where I'm going with this, but but the Rosetta Stone. Anyway. The point is that last time we were on the phone we were talking about here's a here's a challenge, which is that most of the especially in the mid market, cell cycle. The second step we're maybe the third. Maybe the first step is qualification, maybe the second step is discovery. The third is it's called Demo, and it's all about typically the product and it's a bunch of you know salespeople that have been trained that they need to give the demo. The Path to close is to give the demo, and you know, in the course of that demo, most of the time they're not even they're not even asking any questions or sort of just clicking through a bunch of buttons and stuff like that. So do you think that that's a big problem? Do you coach people to stop relying on the demo? Have you seen people that don't even have a demo at all for a software product? What's your thoughts on that? I Love Demos, but you got to do them right. Right if you here's the key with the demo. You don't do it demo until you know what the problem is, until you get the customer to say, Oh yeah, this is my problem and I want to solve it and I believe you can solve it right. And the reason you can get them to believe you can solve it is because if you ask the right questions and you uncover the problem and you demonstrate your understanding, awareness of the depth of the problem, the impact of the problem and all of that, they automatically, by default, believe you can solve the problem. Like you ever been to a doctor and they ask you really be going and say, Oh, I'm not feeling a certain way or I'm having trouble with this. And some doctors ask one or two questions and just send you on your way. Other doctors ask you random, like left field questions and like what is that about? And all of a sudden they get around to yeah, you know, I think it might be this. You like, now I know why they ask those questions. Right. And so when a doctor asks really random questions or demonstrates a high understanding of the problem, does that not increase your comfort level or belief that they can solve your problem? Very much so. Yes. So that with a lot of concils, people miss is it's not your command of this a solution that gets you the credibility. It's your command of the problem that drives your credibility. Your understanding of the problem is what drives you credibility. So, once you want to stand and then it comes time to do the Demo, you only do a demo that addresses the things they said, the problem that affects them. So if you can have a million different features on your freaking product of service, but you should only show six of them or five of them, and they should directly and specific Lee attached to the problems that they told you they were struggling with or wanted to solve or couldn't live within their current state. That's all you show. So you get on the DEM and say hey, LE, you know, you say Sam, you told me that you guys were struggling with X. let me show you how we can solve that using this tool or this feature. And you also said that you this happened to you at this particular time and that can't happen anymore. Let me show you how we manage that so that won't happen. You told me that you're trying to achieve x y Z. Let me show you how I inflex capacitator right, will, will, we'll get you to that spot. And then at it's sorry, go. No, I's just gonna ask you iff. You've been watching a lot of back to the future recently. No, still use it all the time because it's just the perfect filler for any crazy products. For God, I'm sorry, I interrupted you. I probably made you lose your train of thought. No, no, it's fine. And then, and once you show four or five of those and you show the customer how the problems they have go away with what you just showed them, and you anchor than him and he say, can you see how this is going to do that? Can you see how this will keep that from happening? Can you see how you be able to generate more x through this? As long as they say yes, you win, you're done. I love it. I have a we're almost at a time, so I have might here's my last I have two more questions, if you have time for them. To have time for two more questions? Yes, I do. Yes, I first question is what are your top one to two strategies for closing the business? So a lot of reps, especially the early stage, drops, you know, they get to this point where they are having a great conversation, they feel like they've asked all those questions, but they...

...lack the mechanism, in a way similar to like the muscle memory of swinging a bat, comparing it to baseball, of how do I get to the point where this person is signing a contract. So do you have any recommended closing strategies that you use? No, closing. Closing is a waste of time, it's B S if you have to close at the end you didn't do something in the beginning. Right now, with that said, there I'll steal a phrase, because I think it's a good one, from a boy Auntie and a Reno. He calls them micro commitments, I think, and and I call them the next yes, but I like my commitment. So you close by getting the buyer to come along with you on the journey and by checking off all the concerns and issues that have so when I first when I find out the current state and they acknowledge that current state is correct. Then I find out the few to state and they acknowledge a few to stays correct. Then I find out the gap. They knowledge the gap. Then I share with them the solution and they acknowledge they've been said that. I anchor them in the solution and they say it's there. As I move through that process they're closing themselves. So you should get to the very end. It has been times I've done this on the phone. I've got I've done the discovery, I've gotten everything, I told them what we do and then I just be quiet and then like all right, I think this is going to work. What a next steps to getting this wrapped up. I have to ask for the clue, but I just need to know that I brought them along. The reason people used to ask for closes in the past is because they ran too far ahead of the salesperson. A hundred percent product centric and they just really, I mean not ahead of sales person, ahead of the buyer. All right, product centric. They threw out all the features and benefits, they talked about how great the product was. They picked up on one potential need of the customer, some cheesy need, spoke randomly about that. Got All the way to the end and the customer seeing there, may be understood, maybe can't, and they say so, what do you think? Let's do this. Well, they have to say what do you think? Let's do this because they don't know what the customer thinks. They weren't there, like they didn't bring the customer along. They were in six miles. He and at the look back and say, okay, you ready. So No, if you're closing at the end, you're a shitty sales person. You messed up. I love it, all right, last question similar to maybe a controversial opinion, but this is this is fresh. This is fresh question here because I was on Linkedin this week and you did a video where you said you're no more scripts and that generated a lot of outrage from a lot of different sales consultants and people that were yelling at you and very angry with you. I'm giving you an opportunity to defend yourself and explain what you mean when you say no more scripts. Okay, so the argument was my position on scripts, and what I think is interesting a lot of these cats are coming back and basically using the moniker script for freaking everything right. So my definition of script is when you write down something and you put it in front of the sales person and the sales person is supposed to use that to drive the conversation, where they need to read it verbatim, where they need to use it as talking points. With a need to use it is is a guide to talk on the phone. That's a script to me, and what I say is I don't want my salespiece people having to look at anything to guide the conversation because if you're if it's a script of command statements and things just supposed to tell somebody, then you're not selling, because selling is not telling. I don't want you telling the customer we have and at you telling the customer anything, anything by as. You don't tell by as anything. And some people came back and said will you can help them with the questions. Okay, so maybe you can put one starter question in your script, but other than that you, if you had a true script and it was all questions, you'd have the most ridiculous giant. If then hierarchy, then when twenty things deep, could you cannot anticipate the answers to the question so the salesperson knows what question to ask next time when that person answers the question right, be the pathetic. If then you ask one question, if this answer, then this, if this then this, if this is it's bullshit. It's what I said is simple. Being a salesperson's like a doctor, because everybody came back and said, oh well, well, you know Tom Brady does go on the feel without a script, his playbook, and Oh you know Oscar people to go up on stage and they have their scripts and saying thank you and actor said their scripts, and I'm like, exactly, and every one of those situations their job is to tell. Their job is not interaction, and actor doesn't interact Brady's interacting the team, he's telling his team what to do. He's commanding his team what to do. The person get saying thank you. was telling people thank you. Our job is sales. Peoples to Diagnos. We'd uncover the problems. What I said is it's like a doctor, much better parallels to the doctor, and you can't give a doctor a script. You can't Usay here's a script, doc, and when someone comes in, this is what you say. No, what you do, what you do with the Doctor Sam you will educate the shit out of them. So they have massive commands of the ailments in...

...oncologist doesn't need a script because he or she understands the cancer, why it's created, the treatment, where it starts, how it progresses, the different stages, how it presents itself as symptoms, how to triagic right. They know all of this. So when they come in they know what question, they know what question to start with and then they know in their head, based on your answer, what question to ask next and based on your answer, what question to ask next. Then he's a script. Their knowledgeable and that's what I said on the video which everybody missed. I said you need to start teaching your salespeople and your strs and bed ours the business that they're in and the problems and issues and impact and challenges their customers are having and make them experts in those so they can engage them on the why without a freaking script. I feel you know why they say I love it. I love it and I feel your passion and I think, I do, think it's inspiring, because we need more of that. All right, we're at the end of our time together. The book is called gap selling. Where do you have a place where where you would prefer that we buy it? Do you all right? Good, Amazon. It's called gap selling. And then, if we want to hire a sales guy, is it just a sales guycom is there preferred way that we should get in touch with you if we want to interact with you? I. Who Want to hire you? You know, we've got listeners. They want to reach out to you. How should they reach out to you? A sales guidecom in. You know, the form is all kinds of information. Is a form. If you want to talk about consider consulting or training and then if you want just to bullshit with me on the side or connect linkedin. I'm all over linkedin. Just hit me up. All right, we will. Keenan, thanks so much for being on the show and I'm glad that this time it looks like the recording went through. Just don't close your browser when I click stop. I promise I won't. It was a pledge manage. I got fired up there. Sorry, Bro, no, you don't have to apologize. We need more people fired up. The world's too uninteresting otherwise. All Right, thanks for being on the show. I'll talk to you soon. Thank you, babby. Hey, everybody, it's a SAM's corner. That was an inspired and exciting and inspiring interview with Keenan. We're lucky to have him on the show. He's a passionate sales leader and thought leader and I really enjoyed the conversation. I think if we want to take away a couple things from the from the talk, the focus and the emphasis on gap selling is really about great discovery and it's about being problem centric versus product centric. To so many startups that the obsession with how the product works driven by the engineering team and by the founders. It's often a little misplaced. You know, I worked at a company and many, many times folks are lecturing. You know the salespeople on that. They don't understand the product, they don't understand how it works. But there's there's three pillards to this stool. One of them is how the product works and product specific expertise. We do need that because we need to know how it functions and why it functions the way it does. But there are two other critical elements. One of them is how to sell, so sales expertise, and the third is industry expertise, understanding the industry and the buyer that you're talking to and really the the latter two are more important than the than the first one. You need to know what product what problems your product solves. But knowing how it works and whether it's using to do or whether it's you know, whether what type of data like you're creating, is really secondary to the problems that technology is intended to solve, and that comes through great discovery. And so Keenan, over and over is emphasizing you've got to ask questions, you've got to use silence to your advantage and you have to understand and use empathy to put yourself in the perspective of the buyers shoes. You have to understand what she is thinking, how does she approach her day? And you have to get the answers to those questions by asking those questions. And so really again and again in sales you're going to hear about the power of great discovery and why it's so important. You need to be great at asking questions if you're going to be great at sales. You do not need to be good at telling people things right. Telling people things is not what sales is about. Sales is about listening so that you can match the needs of the buyer and the problems that they're facing to the solutions that your product delivers. But you cannot deliver any kind of solution in the absence of context and understanding of your buyer, and that is why it's so important to be problem centric, not product centric, as Keenan mentioned. So this has been Sam's corner. Out of as always, we want to thank our sponsors. Those are chorus, the leading conversation intelligence platform for high growth sales teams, and outreach, the leading sales engagement platform. If you want to get in touch with me, you're always free to do so. Find me on Linkedin at linkedincom forward the word in and then forward. Sam F Jacobs. It's been great hearing from so many different people, so many different people, frankly, that want to join revenue collective from all these different cities and are reaching out to me to understand how. So, if you're a VP level sales, marketing or operating executive that wants to understand more,...

...reach out. But if you have feedback on the show and you want to and you want to talk more about how we can approve the short reach out in that case as well. Otherwise, as you know, I will see you next time.

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