Sales and Football Are Both Games of Inches
If you have ever listened to any football games, the commentators inevitably speak about the fact that games and frequently championships are won by inches.
The same applies to sales. Obviously, we aren’t running a ball up and down a field. But small increments of improvement can produce huge changes in your top and bottom line. Let’s take a look at my overarching philosophy.
Opportunity Volume X Closing Ratio = Sales Volume.
I’ve used this formula for thirty eight years to help my clients improve their sales by as much as 83%, year to year! Now let’s take a close examination at some of the “inches” or small increments that you can make to dramatically improve the mathematics associated with this formula.
First, let’s examine opportunity volume. Opportunity volume simply stated refers to the number of opportunities that you contest. In the perfect world, you and your organization would be considered by 100% of the decision makers and influencers in 100% of the demographically desirable accounts 100% of the time. Please excuse me for that run on sentence, but I did want to make my point that perfection can be measured mathematically.
The first thing you have to examine is, compared to the perfect goal of being considered by 100% of the decision makers in your market, what percent actually consider you?
An easy way to gauge this is to look at the number of names in your marketing database. Now, as you examine those I’d like you to compare the total number of names in your marketing database to the number of names in your market place.
For instance, let’s say that you have 1,000 names in your database and hypothetically all 1,000 will be making a decision this year to buy products or services like those that you sell. But then, you contact a list broker to get a count of the demographically desirable businesses in your geography and you discover that there are more than 10,000 businesses.
Mathematically, at best your consideration rate will be 10%. Now if you’re only competing for 10% of decisions you can’t grow your business geometrically. So now is the conundrum, how do we compete for more opportunities?
First, contact a list broker and acquire all of the demographically desirable names in your market place. Yes I said all. Now recognize that out of those names, you will probably get one human being per company. If you sell to only one decision maker, that’s fine. However, more often than not, we sell to companies who have two, three, four or even five decision makers.
Your first goal is to get in touch with every decision maker or influencer in every one of those accounts. This is best facilitated by an outreach program that involves a mixture of messages. All of the messages should drive the prospect to come back to your website and give you permission to contact them again and again and again. Keep in mind; you’re asking for attention and permission therefore, you must be prepared to give that customer something in exchange for that attention and permission.
- Do you have a white paper to offer them?
- Do you offer an analysis with little charge or low charge?
You must offer them something otherwise all you are capable of doing is essentially saying “I have really great stuff, do you want to buy some”. Obviously, that is an elementary way to sell and it will fail.
Now let’s go back up to my algebraic formula. If we can increase opportunity volume by 20% (and that’s neither impossible nor difficult) what will happen to your sales volume? If you remember your 8th grade algebra, your sales volume will increase.
Always start your sales improvement or sales acceleration efforts by focusing on opportunity volume. It’s the easiest thing to fix. Simply stated you need to get in touch and then stay in touch with all of the demographically desirable decision makers and influencers in your market all of the time.
Stay tuned for more information and more tips on incrementally improving your sales. If you improve five things 10%, the overall improvement is awesome!