When I was a kid, I knew by heart most of the batting averages and other vital statistics of the Chicago White Sox, my hometown team. Like most people my age, I relished predicting who would do what, when his time at the plate was coming up.
Statistics make sports more fun to watch and even to play. But they can be misused, especially in the arena of selling.
For instance, who is the better salesperson?
(1) Joe is able to close one out of every two prospects he meets, and this gives him 20 orders for the week.
(2) Mary closes one out of three, giving her 25 orders for the week.
In terms of batting averages, Joe stands at .500 and Mary at a less efficient, .333. From this perspective, Joe reigns supreme.
Or does he?
After all, Mary outpaces him in total runs scored, or sales made. In that department, she’s 25% more effective, or so it seems.
But we can’t be sure who is the better seller, overall. That’s a judgment call, and it may require we look at more variables, such as the cost of sales, overall availability of sales leads, who is easier to work with, whose sales are more likely to stick over a longer term, who requires more coaching from the manager, and so on.
If you close nine out of ten sales, but it’s because you’re discounting and cutting your commissions, that may actually portend disaster.
From a personal standpoint, it makes sense to defy statistics and just focus on dollars earned. Is your income higher, and is it continuing to move upward? That’s all you need to know, yet even that can be misleading.
There are times when you might be learning to sell a very new type of product that defies conventional introductory practices. Consequently, your initial production looks abysmal, but that handicap will disappear, imminently, if you just keep plodding along.
Keeping perfect scores of your accomplishments may be possible in baseball, but don’t let this pastime carry over needlessly into the sphere of your professional life.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman © 2006
Dr. Gary S. Goodman, President of www.Customersatisfaction.com , is a popular keynote speaker, management consultant, and seminar leader and the best-selling author of 12 books, including Reach Out & Sell Someone® and Monitoring, Measuring & Managing Customer Service. A frequent guest on radio and television, worldwide, Gary’s programs are offered by UCLA Extension and by numerous universities, trade associations, and other organizations in the United States and abroad. Gary is headquartered in Glendale, California. He can be reached at (818) 243-7338 or at: firstname.lastname@example.org