Is Sales Really a Numbers Game?
The other day, I got a call from Brian, who was a first time visitor to my website. He told me during our conversation, "I see other people at work playing the old numbers game. You know, they make as many calls as they can, hoping that a few will turn into sales.
"And they are making sales. Ari, if the numbers game leads to sales, why should I change? Deep down, the old numbers game just feels wrong somehow... can you give me some insights so I can unlock myself from having to follow everyone else’s path?"
Interestingly enough, I had just gotten off the phone that morning with Harold Cameron and Ann Thurman, who have both been using the Unlock The Game Mastery Program. They shared with me how the idea of the numbers game has taken on a whole new meaning since they started using their new Mindset.
And they gave me actual, specific before-and-after numbers detailing the changes in their selling results. But they aren’t numbers in the way you think -- “more calls equal more sales.”
In a minute, I'll let them tell you about their experiences in their own words, but first I want to say a little more about the mystique of the old "numbers game" and why most people who sell still think it’s the only way to go.
The whole idea of the old numbers game is that if you spend enough time "dialing for dollars" you're bound to make the occasional sale.
Then, when you do make a sale, you believe even more that the number of calls you make is the secret of success -- the more you call, the more sales you'll make. Everybody assumes that because the old numbers game works once in a while, it's the way to go.
In fact, almost every sales manager in corporate America uses the numbers game to measure their salespeople's success.
So if you're a sales manager or work for a sales manager, this article may come as a real shock.
The wakeup call here is that it isn't about how many sales you're making with the numbers game, but how many you're losing. Think about it.
When you're operating out of the old numbers game paradigm, how many leads do you burn through with every call you make? And how much time do you spend chasing and following up with prospects who will probably never buy?
From the Unlock The Game perspective, the old numbers game creates a dialing "rat race." You're trapped, making huge numbers of calls to reach that tiny percentage of prospects who will buy from you.
Well, here's what Ann and Harold have to say about the numbers game. And though they're in very different business environments, they've had similar experiences since they adopted the Mastery Program
Ann Thurman recruits real estate agents for a residential real estate firm in the Seattle area. She had been dialing literally hundreds of prospects a day -- the essence of the old numbers game: "I was making 200 to 300 calls a day. It was taking 6 or 7 hours, and I was lucky to get 10 seconds of my script in before agents would hang up on me.”
She said that in the first month that she began applying the Mindset, her call volume dropped by 80 percent. "But I was having actual dialogues with 50 to 60 people a day -- real conversations that would last several minutes," she said.
"And I didn't have one hang-up in my first 100 calls. Now I get very few hang-ups, and they aren't rude -- a lot of the time, people ask me to call them back. And when I do, we usually a conversation."
Ann said she used to set one appointment every 2 weeks. When she began using the Mindset, that increased to about 4 appointments a week, and she signed 2 agents in less than 3 weeks. She has also had more people call her back after initial conversations because they decided they wanted to talk about making a change.
"So I'm doing fewer calls, but my results are better," she said. "I'm finding that the Mindset language like 'That's not a problem' is really important because it lets the other person feel I’m not trying to control the conversation."
She concluded, "The Unlock The Game approach is definitely a more rational use of my time. The old approach is to pursue everyone because everyone's a potential buyer. So if you do this many calls, this many appointments, this many bookings, it'll turn into this many sales.
"And when it came to chasing and following up, I used to really try to pressure people. Now, if I know we aren't a good fit, I don't have to pursue them. I know when to walk away without feeling guilty. The old way was the 'quick kill' method versus the Mindset way of building a long-term relationship."
Harold Cameron sells printing services for a long-established family-owned printing business in Pennsylvania. He told me, "My challenge is that most companies I call already have a printer they're very loyal to."
He said that since working with the Mastery Program, he too has been making fewer calls, but more quality calls. His ratio of being asked to send quotes has improved, too: "Before, out of every 100 calls, I probably would end up actually talking seriously to 20 people, and of those 2 or 3 would ask for quotes.
"Now, out of every 100 calls, I'm talking seriously with 60 to 70 people, and being asked for maybe 10 or 12 quotes."
The Mindset has also helped Harold to eliminate the old numbers game problem of "burning through leads."
For example, the vice president of a major computer manufacturer not only returned his call but also referred him to the person responsible for overseeing the corporation's print services.
So the Mindset is helping Harold to create long-term relationships.
By the way, both Harold and Ann have graciously offered to let me publish their phone numbers here if you'd like to talk with them more about how they let go of the old numbers game by using the Mastery Program. Harold's number is (570) 719-1175, and Ann's is (206) 329-2561.
Numbers Game vs. the New Mindset
Here are some of the ways that the Unlock The Game Mindset solves the problems caused by the old numbers game:
Old Numbers Game
New Selling Mindset
“Burning through calls” involves huge investments of time and energy to achieve a few “successes.”
When you focus on quality rather than quantity, every call is a chance to learn your prospect’s truth. So your calls are more thoughtful and efficient.
Numbers-game scripts “talk at” prospects and lead to rejection in all but a tiny percentage of calls.
Starting calls with a focused problem statement makes it easy to create two-way dialogue.
Prospects know that they’re just a phone number to you and that you’re not interested in engaging them on a human level.
Your attentiveness to your prospects’ concerns makes a real human connection possible.
The only goal is to move the sale forward, or to get a quick no so you can move on to the next call.
The goal is to learn the truth and explore there’s a fit between your solution and your prospect’s problem or concern.
The numbers game can leave you feeling dissatisfied, frustrated, and rejected.
When you’ve learned the truth, whether the answer is a yes or a no, rejection is impossible.
The mystique of the old numbers game is that you're bound to "hit" once in a while. But people who sell the old way never ask themselves how many opportunities they've lost in a day because they haven't gotten to the truth with their prospects.
If you're feeling guilty that you should be playing the old numbers game because your colleagues are making sales from it, consider this: All you’re seeing from them is how many sales they are making -- not how many sales they’re losing.
And consider that by refocusing your attention on the quality of each call versus the quantity of calls, you can experience new sales success you may never have thought possible.
And that’s where the opportunity lies for you.
The Mastery Program helps you find these opportunities by teaching you:
* Language that creates trust and truthful conversations
* How to eliminate pitches and other traditional "sales tactics"
* Ways to diffuse sales pressure and continue conversations
The Unlock The Game Mastery Program shows you how to debunk many other outdated sales myths that you may be unaware of -- but are losing you sales.
To your success,
Have a question for Ari? Ask or leave a comment below!