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Measuring the immeasurable

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Did you create value during your last sales call? How much value exactly? What was your dream client’s perception of that value? Did you influence the buying process? Did you create trust? How much?

Does your dream client like you? Are you more likable than your competitors? What is the depth of your relationship? Is it as strong as it should be? What metrics are you using to determine the strength of that relationship?

Did you uncover your prospective client’s real motivations? Is the worldview he described really his or is it the company line? Are the buying criteria he described what will really be used to make a decision? Or is it really a price-based decision, with the criteria serving to justify his demand for a lower price?

This list could go on forever.

The world is ruled by invisible forces. Most of what affects our lives, including the outcome of a sales opportunity, can’t be seen. We can measure much, but those measurements often don’t reveal anything we can rely on with scientific certitude.

Keep your processes and methodologies. But none of this is to suggest that you shouldn’t follow a sales process and adhere to good sales methodologies. It doesn’t mean that generalizations and patterns aren’t valuable. There are many generalizations worth understanding. In fact, much of what we do in life is follow patterns that work (or worked at some point in the past).

If your dream client agrees to take the next step with you, then there is some good (if un-scientific) evidence that you created value during a your sales interaction. If you are denied that future appointment, there is some evidence that you might have missed the mark.

We interpret a prospect’s agreement to advance as proof that enough value was created. Scientific? No. Close enough for rock-n-roll? Absolutely.

If you obtain the information you need in order proceed with your dream client, then there is evidence that you have established some level of trust. If you are denied that information, then your dream client may have difficulty trusting you.

We can’t measure most of what’s really important. But the questions at the beginning of this post — difficult as they may be to answer — are important. The best we can do is measure the outcomes that give us some evidence of what works and what doesn’t.

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S. Anthony Iannarino is the managing director of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting company, and an adjunct faculty member at Capital University’s School of Management and Leadership. For more information, go