Sales IS still a Numbers Game
By: John Chapin
These days a lot of sales ‘gurus’ try to refute the fact that sales is still a numbers game. They say things like, “It’s not about the numbers, it’s about the relationships.” Well, they’re right on the latter part of that statement, it is about the relationships but, in order to get the number of relationships you need, you have to be out talking to a lot of people. It’s simple, the more people you talk to, the more business you will do; even a blind pig finds corn. Now granted, you have to have quality behind the numbers, but assuming you’re talking to the right people the right way, it’s all about the numbers. That said, there is also a second way that sales is a numbers game. You can also use numbers to guide and predict success. Here are six ways to do that.
6 ways to make the sales numbers work for you
1) Set results and activity goals.
Start by setting an annual sales goal. How much do you want to sell, or how much money do you want to make? Once you know this number, you can back into the other numbers. So, based upon your annual goal, calculate your monthly and weekly sales goals. From there, calculate your daily activity. So, if your annual income goal is $200,000 and your average sale pays you $5,000, then you need 40 sales for the year. You can then divide those by 12 and 50 to get monthly and weekly goals, assuming you take some vacation. But ultimately how many proposals does it take to get a sale, how many appointments to get a proposal, how many people do you have to talk to in order to get an appointment, and how many calls do you have to make to talk to someone? That will give you your daily activity which you will then time block each day.
If you’re not sure of the numbers you need in each area, talk to your manager and other salespeople, or take an educated guess. Just start somewhere.
2) Track your numbers.
Have a sheet of paper, use an excel spreadsheet, just have something to track your calls, number of people spoken to, meetings, proposals, sales, and size of sale.
3) Keep track of what happens on each call.
For example, if you made ten cold calls, perhaps two weren't there, two you didn't get in to see, two weren't qualified, two weren't interested, and you got two leads.
4) Get some reasons behind the numbers.
When will the two people be there? Why didn't you get in to see the two prospects? Why didn't the two qualify? Why weren't the two interested? Why were the two leads you did get interested?
5) Analyze the information.
From the above pieces of information, you will start to recognize patterns and areas of the sales process that need work. For example, are you making your cold calls at the right time of day? Are you effectively handling the gatekeeper? Are you calling a qualified list? Are you building sufficient interest? What are you doing right on the leads you do get?
What about your presentations or sales calls? What happened on each call? Did you close the sale? Did you lose the sale because the person got cold feet or didn't qualify for financing? Did you get an objection you couldn't overcome?
What does that information tell you? Did you not build enough rapport? Enough urgency? Was the person not really an interested lead? Did you fail to properly qualify the prospect? What are you doing right and what do you need to work on?
Save these numbers in a logbook so you can come back to them later to review and look for trends. This will give you some ideas as to what you need to improve in order to make more sales. Also, take the results to your manager and the top salespeople in your company, get their feedback, and then work on your weak areas.
6) Adjust the numbers if necessary.
If you find you are not reaching your sales goals, adjust your numbers accordingly. Continue to tweak the numbers until you’re where you want to be.
Finally, just make sure your sales plan includes massive ‘call’ activity. Again, at the end of the day it’s all going to come down to calling on lots of the right people. Hopefully you’re able to figure out your numbers and come up with a plan but when it doubt, just go knock on doors and ring lots of phones. While you can’t always control what happens on your calls, the one element you have complete control over is your activity: the number of people you call on and reach out to on a daily basis.
#1 Sales Rep w 34+ years’ experience, Author of the 2010 sales book of the year: Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards) – also the largest sales book on the planet (678 pages).
John Chapin is a motivational sales speaker, coach, and trainer. For his free eBook: 30 Ideas to Double Sales and monthly article, or to have him speak at your next event, go to www.completeselling.com. John has over 34 years of sales experience as a number one sales rep and is the author of the 2010 sales book of the year, Sales Encyclopedia (Axiom Book Awards). You can reprint provided you keep contact information in place.