Ken Revenaugh speaks to CEB members

July, 2010 – Fast Track Tools founder Ken Revenaugh spoke to Corporate Executive Board members on July 13, 2010 to highlight the value of a detective workshop in moving sales people to value selling mindset. One of CEB’s research programs, the integrated Sales Executive Council (iSEC), recently published a case study describing a member company’s success in using the detective workshop.The detective workshop was developed by Ken Revenaugh, Chris Ahearn, and Doug Ferreira and most recently used at Oakwood Temporary Housing. For years, iSEC members have been asking how to get sales reps to ask better questions. And for years, members’ investments in discovery and questioning skills training have almost never worked.

The problem is, asking better questions isn’t about questioning skills—it is about a questioning mindset. No matter how well you train reps, they won’t feel like they have permission to spend time asking questions as long as their overriding mindset is “always be closing.”

That was exactly the situation Ken Revenaugh had observed at so many companies and why he worked with colleagues to develop a “detective workshop” to put reps in a questioning mindset, and encouraged ongoing “sales huddles” to reinforce the mindset during day-to-day work. Since implementing these workshops at Oakwood, reps are spending over 15% more time on discovery and 30% less time in negotiations; average deal size has increased 49%.

Ken, in conjunction with the iSEC presented:

  • Why questioning training fails to get reps to ask better questions
  • How simple detective workshops can shift reps to a questioning mindset
  • How to reinforce a questioning mindset in everyday work

This presentation is useful for members who find:

  • Deals are stuck in no decisions, but reps aren’t spending the time to figure out why
  • Reps jump to push products before fully understanding the customer’s needs
  • They are implementing discovery skills or questioning training, and want to make sure reps actually use the skills they learn

The simulated crime-solving workshops encourage an investigative mindset in the sales force. By practicing questioning in a non-sales scenario – via a murder mystery game – reps break away from sales-related tendencies that hold them back from questioning. The detective workshop is also set up such that reps cannot solve the crime without relying on teammates, which drives teamwork to solve problems. The detective metaphor gives managers a common language when orienting salespeople towards questioning.

About the Corporate Executive Board

The Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ: EXBD) drives faster, more effective decision-making among the world’s leading executives and business professionals. As the premier, network-based knowledge resource, it provides them with the authoritative and timely guidance needed to excel in their roles, take decisive action and improve company performance. Powered by an executive network that spans over 50 countries and represents more than 80% of the world’s Fortune 500 companies, the Corporate Executive Board offers unique research insights along with an integrated suite of exclusive tools and resources that enable the world’s most successful organizations to deliver superior business outcomes. For more information, visit

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