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Sales is not a numbers game

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We’ve been told for an eternity that the sales profession is a numbers game, and it’s a popular belief today. The idea is that if we want to be successful in this business all we need to do is to call, call, call. If we do that, we’ll fill our pipeline with a gazillion suspects, who’ll turn into X number of prospects, opportunities and ultimately customers.

We’ve been led to believe that going after all those prospects is essential to our success. But what if it isn’t? I’m serious—what if trying to work all those prospects contaminates our thinking and causes us to behave badly? What if we could generate more sales with fewer prospects?

Most salespeople would say that’s heresy. But over and over again, I’ve seen that the top sellers are pursuing fewer and fewer prospects. Of course, they’re not just working fewer prospects. They’re working fewer prospects better.

Top sellers spend more time thinking critically about:

  • The goals and objectives of their target audience
  • What they can do to guide prospects through the sales cycle, and
  • How to add value with every single interaction.

Their goal is to help prospects understand the business value of their solutions—and more important—how changing the status quo would impact their prospects’ organizations.

So what if, for the next month, you stop going after the numbers? I know your boss will freak out, but trust me! What if you started focusing on how you can get maximum impact from the prospects you currently have? How can you get them to really blossom into great opportunities? What would you do differently this month if that were the case? Do you think it’d make a difference?

That’s my challenge to you. Think about it: fewer, not more. Sales isn’t a numbers game anymore; it’s an effectiveness game. You don’t need more leads; you need to make your current leads really count.

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling, Selling to Big Companies and Agile Selling. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.


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