What We Can’t Measure
Did you create value during that sales call? How much value exactly? What was your dream client’s perception of the value that you created?
Did you influence the buying process? Did you create trust? How much trust?
Does your dream client like you? Are you more likable than your competitors? What is the depth of your relationship? Is it as strong as it should be? What metric are you using to determine the strength of your individual relationship?
Did you uncover your prospective client’s real motivations? Is the worldview they described really their view, or is it the company line? Is the buying criteria they described what will really be used to make the decision? Or is it really a price decision with the criteria serving to justify a lower price later?
This list could continue on interminably.
The world is ruled by invisible forces. Most of what effects our lives, including the outcome of a sales opportunity, can’t be seen. We can measure much, but what we can glean from those measurements doesn’t often reveal anything we can rely on with anything that resembles a scientific certitude.
Keep Your Processes and Methodologies
But none of this is to suggest that you shouldn’t follow a sales process and good sales methodologies. It doesn’t mean that generalizations and patterns aren’t valuable. There are many generalizations worth capturing and implementing. In fact, much of what we do in life is following patterns that work (or worked at some time).
If your dream client agrees to take the next step with you, then there is some good, even if less than scientific, evidence that you created value during a your sales interaction. If you are denied that future appointment, there is some evidence that you might not have crated value.
We capture this agreement to advance as proof positive that enough value was created. Scientific? No. Close enough for rock-n-roll? Absolutely.
If you ask for and obtain the information you need to help your dream client, then there is some good evidence that you have established some level of trust. If you are denied the information you need, then there may be some evidence that your dream client doesn’t trust you with the information–or they don’t trust you to do anything worthwhile with the information.
When you acquire information, it likely means you can close some gate in your sales process. Does this mean your dream client trusts you like their oldest friend? Well, not necessarily, but nor must it. It means that, as far as your sales process is concerned, you’ve earned enough to move forward.
We can’t measure most of what’s really important. But the questions at the beginning of the post, difficult as they are to answer, are the important questions. The best we can do is capture and measure some outcomes that give us some evidence that what we are doing is working–and what we are doing that isn’t.
Because something is difficult to measure does that make it unimportant?
What are the important factors that lead to a sale that can’t be measured?
What do we measure instead?
How do we align what we can measure with what we can’t measure?