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Your Formula for Success


To learn more about how to create your formula for sales success, attend our seminar, "Want Different Results? Change the Way You Sell" on May 19th. Click here to register.

Salespeople are often asked, “How’s business?” Most respond, “Great!” Some say, “Terrific!” Others answer, “Not so good.”

Most of these replies really mean, “I don’t know.”

Selling is a Numbers Game

Before you can answer the above question you must first know your numbers. Then you can answer: “This week I made 22 calls, spoke to nine decision makers, booked four appointments and made two sales, resulting in a $1,700 commission.”

As salespeople most of us neglect one of our most important sales activities – keeping track of personal statistics – and do ourselves a disservice. Only by tracking your numbers can you monitor your selling behaviors and know how to predict your own success.

As a sales professional you know prospecting is key to your success. But what is prospecting and how does it fit in your numbers game? Prospecting is calling on people who may or may not need your product or service. Some people won’t talk to you. Of those who will, some won’t need your product or service. Of those who do, only some will meet with you. Of this smaller group, some will not be qualified. Those who remain are your real prospects.

Keeping Track of Your Numbers

This will allow you to monitor your behavior and identify those areas where you need work. The process starts when you pick up the phone or walk into someone’s office to make a prospecting call, or attempts. Each time you actually talk to someone will count as a contact (voice mail and no answer don’t count).

More times than not the person with whom you speak will be a receptionist or gate-keeper who will block you from the decision maker. Each time you get past the gate-keeper and speak to a decision maker will count as a conversation. Some of those conversations will result in appointments. Of these opportunities, some will result in sales. For most people, the sale doesn’t take place on the first call, so you may want to keep track of the number of visits required to close the sale.

The resulting numbers from one day of prospecting might look like this: 30 attempts – you dialed the phone and you spoke to 23 people; 15 conversations with decision makers; five appointments; two sales. At $600 average commission per sale, you earned total revenue of $1,200 from your day’s prospecting, or $40 per attempt, even though you didn’t get through each time.

Look at Your Numbers in Reverse

In order to make two sales, you had to get face-to-face with five people from a group of 15 with whom you had conversations. In order to talk to these 15 people, you had to dial the phone 30 times. You had to deal with no answers, hang-ups, answering machines and rude secretaries. However, as part of this process, every attempt, every hang-up, every “not interested” or “Call me some other time” is worth money to you.

Your Formula for Success

Once you understand the numbers, you can use them to your advantage. Suppose you want to increase your income by $3,000 over the next quarter. With an average commission of $600 per sale, you need five additional sales. Your existing numbers indicate you need to schedule 13 additional appointments during the next 13 weeks to make those five additional sales. To do that you need to make 75 additional attempts. If you prospect each week, then you need to make six additional attempts during each of the 13 weeks. Only six additional attempts – certainly a manageable task.

By monitoring your numbers on an ongoing basis you will know how you are doing. Additionally, you can identify which of your selling activities need improvement and be able to accurately predict the impact of that improvement.

Cal Thomas