Do you know your numbers? Part 1, “@#$% Leads”


Having been in sales and marketing for the last 20 years I’ve always had this aversion to the thought that sales and marketing were number games. It just seemed to me that to treat people like numbers was wrong. And then when I was not making sales, I was just a number to the managers. As I became a sales manager, the numbers started making sense and until I really got into the “Numbers Game” did I become a Director of Marketing and later a business owner. I fought the “Numbers Game” for a long time and until I relented did I “grow” in the sales and marketing INDUSTRY.

At this point I need to let you know that I do not see sales and marketing as a numbers game so stick with me here.

When focused on the numbers only, then sales and marketing does become an industry.

Industry: the aggregate of manufacturing or technically productive enterprises in a particular field, often named after its principal product: the automobile industry; the steel industry.
Here is the turn. Sales and marketing as an “industry” is well deserved of many of the negative connotations it has earned. However, as many sales managers will tell you, it works. The turn for me was when I was taught how to use the numbers. By learning this, I was able to return to and focus on sales and marketing as a Fun/People Industry. This still requires numbers and they vary from product to product and method to method. The difference is in the questions asked and processes adjusted after each group of numbers is gathered. Most sales people see this or something like it and if not, they should:

1000 leads/prospects = 180 contacts = 30 engagements = 15 qualifiers = 10 closed sales.

In the people business you must ask questions beyond the numbers and here we are going to focus on leads/prospects for this first part of this series. This seems to be where most of the blame is placed when the “numbers” are not being met.

“These leads suck!” “These are crap leads!”

Leads come from many places and its very important to track where each lead originated. Did this 1000 leads come from a purchased list or RFI (request for information)? Are the leads being pushed to the sales team 30 days old, 5 days, 24 hours, real-time? Do these leads have recognition of your business? Is there a business relationship? I can go on and on, but you get the gist.

Naturally a purchased list is going to be more difficult to work than real-time RFIs. This is why a purchased list is much cheaper up front than building an RFI process, set up marketing around the RFI, CRM integration and management as well as the distribution of the RFI leads. On the other hand, you will spend a lot more money and effort over a relatively short period of time by purchasing leads primarily around payroll cost, time, and turnover cost (hiring and training). Most businesses initially do not have financial ability or know how to put this together on the outset and do well to get to that point. So looking at the leads as purchased, means that you have to connect with an unsuspecting prospect, that does not really know you, and if there is an expectation on a purchased list, it is most likely not to do business with you. (Win a Free Xbox, vacation, etc!)

The expectation of the customer is secondary to actually getting a hold of the prospect (lead). Looking at a single lead, do you know when the prospect is by the phone and able to answer? No. If the lead is aged more than 48 hours, is the phone number viable? Mostly, but not always? What does this mean? It means that you must have a method to achieve communication. This does not mean that if they answer your call (door knock, text, etc) that you will have an engagement (2 way communication discussing your offering). Some of the more successful businesses using purchased leads will having something of a campaign set up that offers multiple attempts at various times of the day and evening and limit to a period of time. Example:

9 attempts over 3 days. 1st attempt at 8am, 2nd at 1230pm, 3rd at 630pm. 4th attempt on day 2 at 10am, 5th at 4pm, 6th at 8pm, etc.

Another is referred to as the 4321. 8am, the 4 hours later at noon, the next 3 hours later at 3, then 2 hours at 5 and 1 hour at 6.

(Please note that there are laws regarding when and how you call purchased leads and aggregated leads including Do Not Call laws and hours to legally call which vary from state to state and in some cases various cities.)

This is where most solid sales systems stop, but this is a terrible place to stop…more effective than 1 and done, or no system at all; this is not the pinnacle by far though. Looking at the lead type, age, and when contact was made opens many more doors. Over the course of a couple of thousand leads like the above samples should provide an area of focus as to when the best times to attempt are. Keep taking the pulse as these thing change over time.

So in review, sure numbers are important. However its more important to ask questions about the numbers and drill down than just call the number a number. Also as a sales or marketing person, setting up a system and reviewing the system regularly can save you tremendous effort. You should know, based on the leads alone, when the best time to try is. If you don’t, start tracking now as a little effort now can generate more productive efforts next week even.

Feel free to ask questions and look for my next posting in the series of “Do you know your numbers Part 2, Who is the Prospect”.

-Matt Brewster

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How much of your day is DESTROYED by early emails?


I used to have to go into the office an hour and a half early in order to check my emails, respond, and rearrange my day due to another email that is suggesting an emergency of some sort that requires immediate attention. I complained about how my work was not getting done due to having to respond to other situations and help out as a team player because of blah blah blah blah…I was totally compelled to do other work that was not my work and the email was my excuse. This was a terrible excuse. In looking for a solution I came across the 60-60-30 method by Eben Pagan. Feel free to look this up as this blog is not intended to promote this method, but more to demonstrate a realistic situation.

The key to the 60-60-30 method is to block off your day into time segments of uninterrupted work. UNINTERRUPTED work. I cannot say that this will be the answer for you, the 60-60-30 method did not work for me in my situation, however the premise did. The KEY to this working regardless of how you want to block off your time is this: Do not check your email, voice messages, or text messages until you have the first part of your day completed. For me, this meant after lunch. The funny thing was that my work was done now before lunch and the other work was much easier to prioritize. For the most part, the BS work that was being dumped on me at the start of the day that did not help me produce income disappeared. Not only was I able to make my day better, but then I ended up with more time to find more business and become even more productive than my competition.

So, how much of your day is DESTROYED by early emails? It’s painful to realize the truth, but such a relief to resolve it. Give it a shot, you will not regret it.

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1 Comment

How much of your day is DESTROYED by early emails?


I used to have to go into the office an hour and a half early in order to check my emails, respond, and rearrange my day due to an email that is suggesting an emergency of some sort that requires immediate attention.  I complained about how my work was not getting done due to having to respond to other situations and help out as a team player because of blah blah blah blah…I was totally compelled to do other work that was not my work and the email was my excuse.  This was a terrible excuse.  In looking for a solution I came across the 60-60-30 method by Eben Pagan.  Feel free to look this us and this blog is not to promote this method, more to demonstrate a realistic situation.

The key to the method is to block off your day into time segments of uninterrupted work.  UNINTERRUPTED work.  I cannot say that this will be the answer for you, the 60-60-30 method did not work for me in my situation, however the premise did.  The KEY to this working regardless of how you want to block off your time is this: Do not check your email, voice messages, or text messages until you have the first part of your day completed.  For me, this meant after lunch.  The funny thing was that my work was done now before lunch and the other work was much easier to prioritize.  For the most part, the BS work that was being dumped on me at the start of the day that did not help me produce income disappeared.  Not only was I able to make my day better, but then I ended up with more time to find more business and become even more productive than my competition.

So, how much of your day is DESTROYED by early emails?  Its painful to realize the truth, but such a relief to resolve it.  Give it a shot, you will not regret it.

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How to use a business card, v.card, contact exchange.


99% of the time, it is easy to tell the difference between a true professional and a wanna-be.  It’s totally in how the INFORMATION is exchanged.  My card for your card, my data for your data is the norm, but the true professional goes the extra mile.  Little things like asking the new contact for alternative email addresses or verifying phone extensions, even bumping phones via Bluetooth (there is a reason for this tool).  Getting more that just a phone or extension by asking to connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.  The true professionals are usually engaging to get the access that is NOT already on the card or easily accessed.

The “Key” here is to have the total ability to control the direction of the communication.  If you give your card out in jest, who controls who calls whom?  Not you.  If you just get the standard information on the card, who do you get when you use that data?  The same gate-keeper system that is set up to keep everyone out but those that are wanted…ie. Not you.  Simple, get the information and get the information that is not readily available and you have access.  Not only that, but you have access that is not being competed for.  Success knows success by the means of the request for the “gate-keeper” by pass request.  Like a nasty little secret.

Now for those in sales that are giving business cards to prospects, simple suggestion: Only give a card to those that provide their contact data to you.  Simply because you, as the sales person, must be the person in control of the communication.  In case you haven’t noticed, you will give out a huge amount of cards to get one piece of business and it’s most likely NOT due to them having the card.  Simple rule, don,t give a card unless you are use two cards…one to give and one to write the prospects data on.  Again, if you don’t have their data, who is calling whom?  When?

Do you control the ability to communicate with those whom you have met?  If not, that’s a problem.

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How to use a business card, v.card, contact exchange.


99% of the time, it is easy to tell the difference between a true professional and a wanna-be.  Its totally in how the INFORMATION is exchanged.  My card for your card, my data for your data is the norm, but the true professional goes the extra mile.  Little things like asking the new contact for alternative email addresses or verifying phone extensions, even bumping phones via Bluetooth (there is a reason for this tool).  Getting more that just a phone or extension by asking to connect via Linkedin or Twitter.  The true professionals are usually engaging to get the access that is NOT already on the card or easily accessed. 

The “Key” here is to have the total ability to control the direction of the communication.  If you give your card out in jest, who controls who calls whom?  Not you.  If you just get the standard information on the card, who do you get when you use that data?  The same gate keeper system that is set up to keep everyone out but those that are wanted…ie. Not you.  Simple, get the information and get the information that is not readily available and you have access.  Not only that, but you have access that is not being competed for.  Success knows success by the means of the request for the “gate-keeper” by pass request.  Like a nasty little secret.

Now for those in sales that are giving business cards to prospects, simple suggestion: Only give a card to those that provide their contact data to you.  Simply because you, as the sales person, must be the person in control of the communication.  In case you haven’t noticed, you will give out a huge amount of cards to get one piece of business.  Simple rule, don,t give a card unless you are use two cards…one to give and one to write the prospects data on.  Again, if you don’t have their data, who is calling whom?  When? 

Do you control the the ability to communicate with those whom you have met?  If not, that’s a problem.

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Do you run your business or does your business run you?


This is the hardest thing for business owners of small businesses to learn.  Usually this comes at a cost.  What I’m talking about is not so much your hours of operation, but how you schedule yourself within your operation.  Timed items like when you do payroll, when you work the floor yourself (if you even do that anymore), when you are training staff, training yourself, when you are scheduling appointments, business meetings, lunches, family, etc…Now I know that one of the biggest objections to this line of thinking is, “I must do business when my customers need my business”, or something like this.  This is again, you having your business run you.  Firefighters, ambulances, hospitals, these are right now unschedulables and I’m sure there are many other businesses that are response businesses…is yours?  Is your business a response business?  Lead wise, for real-time leads, there are processes to put you in control of your business or you have staff to handle this.  This is not to challenge your business processes but to have you really think about who is in control of your business.  Let me take a real estate agent for example:Most successful Realtors are very scheduled even though most of the public would think of them as a responder business…you know, someone says I wanna see this house today and the agent is dumping the family to show a home.  Your “super agents” and up and coming super agents are very scheduled.  They have specific hours each day that they are prospecting, specific hours that they are following up on messages and emails, hours that they have scheduled in the office, hours that they have scheduled to show and/or list homes.  They are super because they are consistent.  Consistent.  Consistent.  Not only are they scheduled, but they provide a schedule to their clients.  When they will be available for calls, when they reply when they are not able to answer, and as any good sales person, they tell the customer what is next and when.  Not simple, but planned.  Regulated and monitored with the ability to adjust when the adjustment is long-term and maintains the structure of consistency and structure.

If you are in sales, do you have your time structured?  If you own a beauty salon, do you have time set aside for prospecting?  Follow ups on last weeks clients to see how things are going?  If you are a contractor, do you have time set up for project inspections and client updates each week?  Do you have time scheduled with your staff and clients for staged walk-through?

If it’s not scheduled it’s at risk of being forgotten and lost to the other “things” that come up.  So please review your business and ask, “Do I run my business or does my business run me?”

What are the important things needed to ensure you have business next week, month, and year?  Prospecting, Quality Reviews, Referrals, newsletters, phone time, door knocking, training, lunch?  Do you have these scheduled?  And if not, are you running your day and business by reaction only?

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Do you know how to start a GENUINE conversation?


Something that is not taught in schools, but is believed to be taught in society is how to have a conversation. This is a false belief. Think about it, how do you start a conversation? Is it usually with a “Hi, how are you?”, or “So, where are you from?” How is this working out for you? Typically you will engage in a short bout of simple exchange and end up in an awkward silence especially if you are not intentionally starting a conversation for business purposes. If you are intentionally meeting people for business purposes, this initial courtesy may be extended long enough to get to the point of your meeting, but then it not really as genuine as it could be and definitely not as productive as it could be.

There is the “old fashioned” expression that state ‘people love talking about themselves’. This is true. Look at Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Linkedin…society promotes narcissism to a large extent. Here are some quick pointers that will make any random, chance, or intended meeting become genuine and fruitful if not on a business level, then on a personal level.

1. Find something about the person that you REALLY appreciate. Their education, shoes, watch, attitude, etc. This requires sincerity on your part and may require some observation or in a case of a business meeting, homework. If you cannot find anything, you are not in the right mind…please realize you cannot fake this.

2. Introduce yourself by acknowledging what you appreciate of the person. This lowers barriers, and if in a group will give you opportunity to introduce yourself to others in the circle just because of the way you introduced yourself to one of the people in the group. Usually, this will oblige the person to socially introduce you to their circle. Again, sincerity is the core of this process.

3. Open Ended Questions. Most people are taught that an open-ended question is a question that cannot be answered with a “Yes” or “No”. I would encourage you to take this a bit further as it does REQUIRE YOU TO PRACTICE! Let’s define Open Ended Questions as: A Question that cannot be answered with a “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe”, or with less than 3 words.

This is vital because you want to create an engagement which requires the other party to turn off their “autopilot”. You do this autopilot conversation everyday; someone passes you in the office and says, “How are you doing?” and you automatically respond with, “If I were doing any better, there would be 2 of me.” The question did not force you to think, you had an automatic response. Our current social communication paradigm teaches engages in conversation that result in an attempt to gain an instant definitive. In other words, most of our conversations are geared to arrive at a conclusion or black/white answer from the onset…where as you want to create an engagement of gathering information and building a relationship with this person or persons.

Here are some examples:

What do you suggest when looking for…?

What brought you to want to do…?

If I were to try to do X, what suggestions would you have for me?

What were some of the exciting event you experienced in accomplishing…?

When you went to X, what was most surprising to you?

As you can see, this requires the other party to think, turning off their “autopilot”.

4. Listen and listen carefully. Ask them to describe in further detail or to expound on a subject. It is a key to establishing trust. I know it does not make sense, but trust is built on a feeling of security and acknowledgement. You are demonstrating total acknowledgement by doing this. Again, be genuine and sincere.

5. Test the waters. After a comfortable engagement, when you ask an open-ended question, the person will give an answer. You will naturally want to ask more or talk yourself. Do not do it. If you have asked a good open-ended question and they have ended their response, look at them as if expecting more and if you have established turning off the autopilot, they will carry on and give more details. Yes, you will feel uncomfortable at first, but when you see how this works you will find it a great tool for business.

In sales, I usually find that most of the what a client is telling me is not the whole story or even the true story. This does not mean they are lying or being dishonest, but that they may not have had an opportunity to discuss this and are working it out in their heads. In my discovery time where I am asking questions about what they want to accomplish, what they liked best, what they have now that they will feel sad about giving up, etc…when they answer, i will pause for at least a count of 5 or 7 seconds after they finish. Most always, they will talk more and when they talk, it’s not able to have had time to filter and you get more real answers this way. You will find you can do this on the same question 2 or 3 times. The surprising thing is the first part of the answer is almost always the fluff and the real answer is after the 2nd or 3rd pause. Again, be sincere. These steps require you to think, listen, search, pause when you don’t want to, study, practice, and have fun!

Please feel free to visit my other blog at salesbrew.tumblr.com as well. Thanks for your comments and feedback.

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“Apple nears incredible milestone, coming just shy of $100 billion in cash on hand. Hoard is worth more than all but 52 companies on Earth.” So everyone else owning a company, in hundreds of nations, should just give up, eh? And are many of those 52 tech firms, or is it all old-school manufacturing or oil industry? That would be more illuminating.

Apple sold more iPhones per day than babies were born. That’s pretty impressive, and means Junior should line up for his iPhone right now! Until you remember that maybe Lego sold more than that, or that the number of toilet rolls sold each day could reach the moon and back (or other equally odd comparisons).

“Apple now worth more than projected Singapore economy (318 billion) in 2016.” Okay, which means it beats Singapore’s economy already…Unless the small nation’s economy is in some kind of decline? Which is clearly not the case.

“$AAPL’s cash is worth 2,000 tons of gold. (please forgive me @Morgan_03)” Call in Scrooge McDuck—we’re ready for some cash pile diving! But since a ton of gold is a cube just over 14 inches on a side, it wouldn’t really be that big a pile.

Apple’s profits are also about 30% bigger for the last quarter than Google’s entire revenue.

From Apple’s Earnings By The (Holy S*%#!) Numbers (via fastcompany)

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Do you run your business or does your business run you?


This is the hardest thing for business owners of small businesses to learn.  Usually this comes at a cost.  What I’m talking about is not so much your hours of operation, but how you schedule yourself within your operation.  You know, like when you do payroll, when you work the floor yourself (if you even do that anymore), when you are training staff, training yourself, when you are scheduling appointments, business meetings, lunches, family, etc…

Now I know that one of the biggest objections to this line of thinking is, “I must do business when my customers need my business”, or something like this.  This is again, you having your business run you.  Firefighters, ambulances, hospitals, these are right now unschedulables and I’m sure there are many other businesses that are response businesses…is yours?  Is your business a response business?  Lead wise, for real time leads, there are processes to put you in control of your business or you have staff to handle this.  This is not to challenge your business processes but to have you really think about who is in control of your business.  Let me take a real estate agent for example:

Most successful Realtors are very scheduled even though most of the public would think of them as a responder business…you know, someone says I wanna see this house today and the agent is dumping the family to show a home.  Your super agents and up and coming super agents are very scheduled.  They have specific hours each day that they are prospecting, specific hours that they are following up on messages and emails, hours that they have scheduled in the office, hours that they have scheduled to show and/or list homes.  They are super because they are consistent.  Consistent.  Consistent.  Not only are they scheduled, but they provide a schedule to their clients.  When they will be available for calls, when they reply when they are not able to answer, and as any good sales person, they tell the customer what is next and when.  Not simple, but planned.  Regulated and monitored with the ability to adjust when the adjustment is long term and maintains the structure of consistency and structure.

If you are in sales, do you have your time structured?  If you own a beauty salon, do you have time set aside for prospecting?  Follow ups on last weeks clients to see how things are going?  If you are a contractor, do you have time set up for project inspections and client updates each week?  Do you have time scheduled with your staff and clients for staged walk-throughs? 

If its not scheduled its at risk of being forgotten and lost to the other “things” that come up.  So please review your business and ask, “Do I run my business or does my business run me?” 

What are the important things needed to ensure you have business next week, month, and year?  Prospecting, Quality Reviews, Referrals, newsletters, phone time, door knocking, training, lunch?  Do you have these scheduled?  And if not, are you running your day and business by reaction only?

Leave a comment

Do you know how to start a GENUINE conversation?


Something that is not taught in schools, but is believed to be taught in society is how to have a conversation.  This is a false belief.  Think about it, how do you start a conversation?  Is it usually with a  “Hi, how are you?”, or “So, where are you from”?  How does this work for you?  Typically you will engage in a short bout of simple exchange and you end up in an awkward silence.  Especially if you are not intentionally starting a conversation for business purposes.  If you are intentionally meeting people for business purposes, this initial courtesy may be extended long enough to get to the point of your meeting, but then it not really as genuine as it could be.

There is the “old fashioned” expression that implies that people love talking about themselves.  This is true.  Look at Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram…society promotes narcissism to a large extent.  Here are some quick pointers that will make any random, chance, or intended meeting become genuine and fruitful if not on a business level, then on a personal level.

1. Find something about the person that you REALLY appreciate.  Their education, shoes, watch, attitude, etc.  This requires sincerity on your part and may require some observation or in a case of a business meeting, homework.  If you cannot find anything, you are not in the right mind…please realize you cannot fake this.

2. Introduce yourself by acknowledging what you appreciate of the person.  This lowers barriers, and if in a group will give you opportunity to introduce yourself to others in the circle just because of the way you introduced yourself to one of the people in the group.  Usually, this will oblige the person to socially introduce you to their circle.  Again, sincerity is the core of this process.

3. Open Ended Questions.  Most people are taught that an open ended question is a question that cannot be answered with a “Yes” or “No”.  I would encourage you to take this a bit further as it does REQUIRE YOU TO PRACTICE!  Let’s define Open Ended Questions as: A Question that cannot be answered with a “Yes”, “No”, “Maybe”, or with less than 3 words.

This is vital because you want to create an engagement which requires the other party to turn off their “autopilot”…you know, someone passes you in the office and says, “How are you doing?” and you automatically respond with, “If I were doing any better, there would be 2 of me.”  The question did not force you to think, you had an automatic response.  Our society engages in conversation that is definitive.  In other words, most of our conversations are driven to a conclusion from the onset…where as you are working to create an engagement of gathering information and building a relationship with this person or persons.

Here are some examples:

How difficult was it to find…?

What do you suggest when looking for…?

What brought you to want to do…?

If I were to try to do X, what suggestions would you have for me?

How was your experience in accomplishing…?

When you went to X, what was most surprising to you?

As you can see, this requires the other party to think, turning off their “autopilot”. 

4. Listen and listen carefully.  Ask them to describe in further detail or to expound on a subject.  It is a key to establishing trust.  I know it does not make sense, but trust is built on a feeling of security and acknowledgement.  You are demonstrating total acknowledgement by doing this.  Again, be genuine and sincere.

5. Test the waters.  After a comfortable engagement, when you ask an open ended question, the person will give an answer.  You will naturally want to ask more or talk yourself.  Do not do it.  If you have asked a good open ended question and they have ended their response, look at them as if expecting more and if you have established turning off the autopilot, they will carry on and give more details.  Yes, you will feel uncomfortable at first, but when you see how this works you will find it a great tool for business.

In sales, I usually find that most of the what a client is telling me is not the whole story or even the true story.  This does not mean they are lying or being dishonest, but that they may not have had an opportunity to discuss this and are working it out in there heads.  In my discovery time where I am asking questions about what they want to accomplish, what they liked best, what they have now that they will feel sad about giving up, etc…when they answer, i will pause for at least a count of 5 or 7 seconds after they finish.  Most always, they will talk more and when they talk, its not able to have had time to filter and you get more real answers this way.  You will find you can do this on the same question 2 or 3 times.  The surprising thing is the first part of the answer is most always the fluff and the real answer is after the 2nd or 3rd pause.  Again, be sincere.  These steps require you to think, listen, search, pause when you don’t want to, study, practice, and have fun!

Leave a comment