It’s STILL a numbers game, but…

One of the great truths about sales, and life in general, is that is really is a numbers game. While it’s true that quantity alone isn’t going to cut it, the more you try, the more you succeed.

While it’s become popular from some sales trainers to say that sales isn’t a numbers game anymore, I honestly suspect that more than a few of them are just trying to sound different by saying what salespeople want to hear. The truth, however, and what all salespeople really need to hear, is that sales was, is and will always be a numbers game. The more people you talk to, the more prospects you approach, the more you will close.

You do need to have quality behind those numbers, and make the best of each contact, but in any case, you still need to talk to more people to do more business. That being said, there are some simple ways to make your numbers work for you.

1. Set clearly defined, achievable goals

How many calls will you make, how may contacts do you think you will make, how many presentations, how many sales? It’s helpful to work backwards, starting with the total number of sales you’d like to make for the year, then break that down to monthly, weekly and daily numbers. Then, based on your averages, how many qualified leads do you need to hit those goals? Now, how many live contacts do you need to make to get that number of leads? How many calls will you need to make that many contacts?

If you’re not sure, talk to your manager, or do some research on your specific sector and made an educated guess.

2. Keep track of your numbers

If you don’t have a good CRM in place to do this, track your calls on a sheet of paper. It doesn’t have to be pretty, all you’re doing is keeping count.

3. Keep track of each call

It’s always helpful to note who wasn’t in, who wasn’t remotely interested, and who’s qualified.

4. Know the facts behind your numbers

If someone’s not in, find out when they will be, or leave a clever voicemail. Make note of why people weren’t interested. Did they reject your offer because they really didn’t need your product, or was there something in your presentation that lost the close? If it’s the latter, make special note of that call so you can work on the weaknesses in your presentation.

5. Take some time to evaluate your progress

Once you’ve been tracking your calls thoroughly, you should start to see some patterns emerging. Your strengths and weaknesses will start to show. You may see that you get better responses at a certain time of day, or that you struggle with gatekeepers at law firms. Are you qualifying your leads properly?

Some other questions you can ask yourself include: Are there objections I’m struggling to overcome? Are there personality types I have trouble building rapport with? Did I overtalk and lose the sale? Am I asking questions only the prospect can answer?

You can also take your records to your manager, or to the top salespeople in your company get their feedback. Listen to some of their calls, if you can, and see what they’re doing differently.

6. 100% effort, 100% of the time

One of the most costly mistakes in sales is to let the numbers weigh you down. We’ve all done it. After x number of calls without a sale, discouragement, frustration, boredom, etc., can set it and we find ourselves just going through the motions. Inevitably this will cost you sales. Over the years, I’ve had calls where I was so frustrated that I made the mistake of thinking a prospect was brushing me off, and even said this. It turned out she wasn’t, and I missed out on a hefty commission. Lesson learned.

Now, there are some ways to keep from getting frustrated. I’ll share two that should be helpful. The first is ‘Some will, some won’t. Who cares? Who’s next?‘ Now, this doesn’t mean you ought to give up easily.  I use to keep a ‘Not Interested’ file and touch base with those prospects now and then whenever I was bored, frustrated, or just needed to shift gears. I got quite a few sales from those ‘not interested’ people!

The other is a simple psychological trick that I owe to a sales trainer who called himself ‘Napoleon,’ though that wasn’t his real name. After finishing one call,  we were taught to say, ‘The next call is a sale!’ This might seem a bit too simple, but the truth is, the more ‘NOs’ you go through, the closer you’re getting to the next yes.

Make the most of each contact. Remember that your prospects are people, busy people. They’ve taken a moment out of their day to speak with you, so respect their time and their attention span.


7. Make adjustments

Once you’ve been tracking for a while, and you’ve got sufficient feedback to give you some direction, you can also start adjusting the numbers. Keep doing so until you meet or exceed your goals, and then continue to fine tune your efforts to maximize your performance.

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