Sales Is A Numbers Game - But No One Wants To Be A Number

To a large extent, sales is a numbers game. Few sales professionals would argue that point. You have to throw a lot of tomatoes against the wall to get some to stick.

Lottery Tickets

These days, however, despite pouring on the numbers, many sales people are still struggling for sales. Often times a sales manager will ask a sales person to show greater numbers. It seems logical enough - by increasing the sheer volume of cold-calls, sales presentations, and proposals, they hope to better the odds of finding, qualifying and closing more deals. It is a serious event when a sales person makes the all-important phone call. The problem is that many times, under the pressure of it all and due to a bit of laziness, sales people forget what is on the other side. On the other side, is a person first, and a potential revenue number or opportunity second.

Prospects know that they are a number; they can feel it. Some even hire gatekeepers (a person too) in an attempt to keep the onslaught of sales forces at bay. If a prospect feels like they are just a random number in your call cycle, I guarantee that, short of you selling life rafts as their place is flooding, you will be rejected.

Buyers who know they are a number get turned and ticked off! The implication is that more sales people experience more rejection.  Consequently, more people don’t get the help they need from sales people who have real solutions to real problems. So how do we, as sales professionals, overcome this?

Realize that you are in sales, not marketing.  

Marketers say, ”It slices, it dices, it chops, it grates!” A sales professional would say, “What are you doing today?  Are you slicing or dicing?  Slicing?  That is interesting, how are you slicing? How do your competitors slice? How do your customers perceive your slicing?  Do you have any problems effectively slicing for your customers? Do you see yourself chopping in the future or are you looking into any other cutting markets?”

You Get the idea: Marketing is about getting the masses of prospects to take a look at you; sales is about you, taking a massive look at your prospect.

Prove that they were not a one-call stand.

Sometimes sales people treat buyers like a lottery ticket – we hold out hope for immediate gratification but as soon as it is determined to be a loser, the ticket is summarily discarded and then off to the gas station to buy a new ticket for the next drawing. Like so many ill-fated quick picks, they’ll then sit somewhere on a list or scratch pad never to be checked again.

Prove to your prospects that they are not a number and that you are not a taker. The best way to prove this is to be there. Prove that you are there to partner with them and not just there to cash in and move on. This approach requires multiple touches - not just a cold call. A cold call is just a starting point. Follow up with additional communications such as another call, a proactive online sales presentation or a letter or post card. If your prospects are close by, frequent events where they will be and seek them out with some useful information to share. The purpose of these activities should not be aimed at an immediate sale but to demonstrate that you are looking to make a career-long sales connection. 

Learn the real numbers on which the game is based.

The number that should be the priority is the number of times you touch, visit or follow-up with a prospect.  We run into more and more sales people who are looking to blast off a sales message to a large email list. This simply does NOT work.  The thought is, to put a message into an email and assume some people will read and possibly buy. The communications you have with your prospects need to be customized and personalized. Does this take extra time? You bet it does but the sales elite understand that the extra mile is part of the path they take everyday.

The numbers game that should be played is the ten-touch rule. Do everything possible to have ten interactions with a prospect. The number may vary but, for the most part, I have seen ten as a great rule of thumb.

So you just made a cold call, ok that’s one.  What will you do next?

Comments

  1. Dan Collins's avatar

    Dan Collins

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    Well written and right on the mark. It's all about people talking to people. I couldn't say it any better - so I won't try. Thanks for an exceptional post.

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