Success is a Game of Statistics!
Good fortune often hinges on a lucky break, and these breaks will happen to people because of the way they act. That’s the conclusion reached by British Professor Richard Wiseman in his fascinating study, “The Luck Project.”
Wiseman analyzed hundreds of people who claimed to be extremely lucky and unlucky to see what made them different. In previous months, this blog talked about the first two Luck Factors, “Heightened awareness of your surroundings” and “Altered routines.”
This month, we discuss the third Luck Factor, “Activity,” especially as it pertains to networking and business contacts. Salespeople, feel free to roll your eyes in unison. I recognize every “suit” you’ve ever worked for has preached the importance of higher sales activity.
In a fascinating test, inspired by the Malcom Gladwell book, “The Tipping Point,” Wiseman asked his Luck Project subjects to look at a long list of surnames, and check a box next to names of people they knew. Lucky people checked an average of 800 names, and unlucky people checked 400. The lucky people knew more people, recognized more names and had twice as many contacts.
It’s easy to see why higher networking activity will correlate to success. The more contacts you have, the more chances to make a connection with a new prospect or hear about a new sales opportunity.
When I am introduced to a new sales team, the first thing I do is go on LinkedIn and check out each salesperson’s profile. I want to see how active they are in social media, how much they participate in LinkedIn Groups and, most importantly, how many “connections” they have.
It’s no surprise that network activity correlates to success. The more connections a person has, the better-networked they are. The better the network, the more they will sell. Most $1 million GP producers I meet can boast more than 500 LinkedIn connections. Most underperforming salespeople have fewer than 100.
I met one enterprising salesperson who focused on the financial services vertical market. She connected on LinkedIn with every person she met or befriended in this market. As her network grew, so did her success in getting new appointments.
When she targeted a new account, she would check out the senior executives, and then pay attention if any of them were connected to people in her network. LinkedIn shows your levels of connection right on the main page. Often, she would know a person in common and could leverage that name to get her initial appointment.
Of course the number of LinkedIn connections is only one factor in the success formula, but it one you have direct control over. You don’t have to be Einstein to understand this formula:
Number of Connections x Quality x Solution Value x Selling Skill = Sales Results
Success really is a statistical event. You can break down any sales or hiring process into discrete steps, and then turn that into a success formula.
As Wiseman discovered, the first step in improving your results is to increase activity.
Mike Schmidtmann a veteran leader in sales management, helping both resellers and vendors improve margins and profitability by identifying what it takes to hire and retain the most talented sales staff. As a coach, peer leader and speaker of 4-Profit, Mike is passionately dedicated to the education, growth, and profitability of solution providers and their sales team, helping them strengthen their skills and drive profitable results.