On Sales Leads, Sales Experience, and Sketchy Statistics

Unless you’re Amish (or at least something close), you’ve encountered at least one statistic that served to contradict personal experience. Whether the topic’s political, economical, or old-fashioned business, it seems like the internet’s hotwired to find a statistic that will prove you wrong.

 

But perhaps what’s more startling is when these battle of numbers make their way into your sales appointments and shake up the process of generating sales leads.

 

Not helping Mr. Twain.

It even gets aggravating at some points. Take this piece from the AsktheManager blog. Apparently, 92.6% of LinkedIn users believe made up statistics. In spite of the clear irony, it’s a really scary thought considering that LinkedIn has become a go-to social media resource for B2B sales.

 

It’s like that agonized moment when you can’t seem to trust anything anymore. How can you create power, relevant content without citing questionable resources? It’s like this idea about made-up statistics has become some depressing, Lovecraftian ‘truth’ that renders everything you do as hopelessly biased.

 

Here’s the simplest answer to that: So what?

 

It’s true that, when you get to the heart of the matter, you’re gathering all these ‘reliable’ statistics in the hopes of convincing a sales prospect. You conduct your own surveys, present your own findings, and parade your case studies for the sake of winning the trust of potential customers.

 

But perhaps the real issue isn’t the reliability of your resources but your attitude towards marketing and selling. Just because you don’t want to look desperate for a sale doesn’t mean you don’t want the sale period. Otherwise, why are you selling? Why can’t you just give away your entire business?

 

Now with this out of the way, it’s high time to be honest with yourself. Yes, you’re citing, researching, and providing testimony to make the case for your business.  It’s part of your job. It’s part of your experience. The best part though is that the attitude towards statistics also says a lot more about your prospect than whether or not how much you cite is based on fact:

 

  • They don’t want to buy – When it feels like they’re so accustomed to criticizing your statistics, it’s clear that these people are just not interested. You’re better off re-tailoring your content and your call lists to exclude those who are intent on disproving their demand for your products/services.

 

  • They’ve got their own bad experience – Instead of having a round of statistical debate, why not get to the heart of their objections? Was it bad experience with a previous vendor? Did they get results far less then expected? You want objectivity, tackling the actual problem makes more sense than the general numbers around it.

 

  • They’re simply not sure themselves – Maybe it’s the complete opposite of a bad experience. Maybe they’re completely new customers and feel constantly ‘starved’ for information. Instead of simply throwing more numbers at them, try to execute simpler follow-up strategies and create more convincing demonstrations.

 

Take note that this is just one of the many issues that divide professionals in the field of content marketing and sales. But instead of just worrying about every individual report or statistical error, look at the bigger picture and get to the heart of why your prospects aren’t just simply buying it.

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