I was one of those kids that loved math; I still do. Numbers always have spoken to me. One of the things I love about math the most is that you’re either right or wrong.

For example, (9)(10) + 26 = 116. If you don’t like the answer, the only way you can change it is to change one of the variables.

The same holds true in selling. If you don’t like your sales results, you have to change the inputs.

In sales, (X)(Y) + Z = healthy growth.

X = ideal opportunities

Y = volume

Z = velocity.

(Ideal opportunities) (Volume) + Velocity = Healthy growth

If you fall short on any variable, you’ll fall short of your growth potential.

Ideal opportunities

Too many producers take the approach that any opportunity is a good opportunity. You can tell a producer who takes this approach by looking at their book of business. The bottom half (based on revenue per client) of their book of business will only produce 6% to 7% of their total revenue. Worse than that, the average revenue on these accounts is so low that they are usually unprofitable. And, worst of all, these small accounts are often the most demanding of their time.

It is a privilege for someone to have access to you and your team and the ideas, strategies, and solutions you offer to improve their business. It is a privilege that can’t be afforded to just anyone. Decide what your ideal client looks like and use that as a filter to determine what opportunities you allow in your pipeline.

Volume

This variable is pretty straightforward. You have to have the right number of the right opportunities. 

What’s also straightforward is that you can’t leave this variable to chance. I hear producers all the time who proudly declare, “I only work on referrals.” On the surface, this sounds admirable. And it would be if they were proactively pursuing specific referrals that met the standard of their ideal client. However, it usually means they sit and wait until something gets tossed their way.

I can tell producers who take this approach by looking at their calendars. It isn't what I find on the calendar that is the giveaway; it's what isn't there. You won't find any time blocked out for focused prospecting time.

Having the right volume of opportunities in your pipeline should be a priority for every salesperson. If something is a priority, you must dedicate time on your calendar to make sure it happens.

Velocity

There is one thing that's worse than an empty pipeline, and that's a pipeline that's full but stagnant. It doesn't matter about the quality or quantity of opportunities in your pipeline if they aren’t moving forward.

I hear producers claim all too often, “It takes two to three years to earn a new client.” This is a clear indication of the velocity variable being inadequate.

This happens because their sales process isn’t creating a sense of urgency. When prospects are slow to move through the pipeline, it is usually because the producer focuses on the products they have to sell rather than the problems they can solve with them.

Think about it, if your sales process helps a buyer see that their current situation is hurting them in some way, how long do you think they want to wait to learn how to fix that problem? Not very long.

And, then, when you share strategies and solutions you have used to solve those problems for others and the improved results they receive, how long do you think they want to wait to fix their problem and get better results themselves? It certainly isn’t two to three years.

Math is fun

Don't complicate your sales growth by ignoring the variables that drive the outcome. Sit down and answer the following questions.

  1. What is the profile of the client you want to be growing your book of business with?
  2. How many opportunities in your current pipeline right fit that profile?
  3. Of those ideal opportunities that match your ideal profile, what problems have you identified that the prospect wants/needs to fix?

If you don't like your answers to any of these questions, you will not like your sales results as much.

One more question, my friends.

How much time will you block out on your calendar to change the variables?

 

Photo by tverdohlib