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A Smile as Small as Mine . . .

Sales is a numbers game, which makes it feel heartless and cold. Here's a better way to think about it and approach it. Poem anyone?

02 April 2014

One of the most difficult things to accept about sales is that it's a numbers game. It can make us feel insignificant and faceless to think that it's not who we are or what we have to offer, but only how many times we call on people that determines our success.

But that's not what it's really about. When I (or any sales educator) says, "Sales is a numbers game," here's what we mean:

  • Information Overload: We are inundated with advertising, promotion, and demands for our attention nearly everywhere we turn - from our televisions to our computers and out on the street through SMS and billboards - we receive way more input than we can possibly digest or  recall.
  • The Numbers Game: If you can expect 3 out of every 100 prospects to respond, then won't you feel better with 800 prospects in play, where you have the potential to hit 24?

To be successful in today's market - consumer direct or business-to-business  - you have to become visible, then become memorable, before you can achieve meaningful contact. This takes time and therefore patience. If you increase the number of prospects with whom you are communicating, you will shorten the time, but the dynamics are still the same.

Here's a child's poem that I love to share that expresses the essence of this practice. I have no idea who wrote it. It's something that I remember from my own childhood.

"They may not need me but they might.
I'll keep my hands just in sight.
A smile as small as mine might be
precisely their necessity."

When sales don't happen, it's tempting to lose confidence and let negative ideas take hold. Don't let that happen to you! Just recite this poem and keep on working. If you want to  change something, take a look at how many prospects you have in play, and how often you engage them. Chances are, your shortcomings aren't related to what you have to offer or how people perceive you as a person or company. Most likely you're not "just in sight" for enough potential prospects.

Selling is a cycle, not a single activity. Give it time to mature.
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