Why Math is Like Sales (And Why it’s Not)


Sales is a numbers game – how many times have you heard that?

Managing sales by numbers is part of it, but these metrics are more applicable to early sales process functions like business development activities.

X number of calls – Y number of appointments – Z number of meetings

It makes a lot of sense to track these ratios as they will indicate strengths, gaps and required efforts to keep a sales funnel on track. Later sales process management by numbers is focused on average sale value, closing ratio and funnel management.

Here is where I am going with this… Sellers have a direct impact on their numbers early in the sales process, and their ability to control and affect the sale decreases as it moves along… Sellers have direct control over their own production, but buyers have control over the dollars (by and large). Too many sellers try to take back that control far too late in the process – at the close.

equationsThe Math Analogy

Closing is simply like the “=” in sales. It is a function – a result. Mathematics does not happen at the point of “=”, it is a process that results in a value and the same goes for sales. In order to achieve the correct value in math, the process needs to be completed by following the rules and doing them in the right order. The calculations are similar to qualifying in sales – I have said many times that in order to be a better closer, you need to be a better qualifier – either way – if you rush through the calculations or the qualifications, you will get a result, but likely not the correct one. Sellers who focus too much attention on the “=” are missing the point of sales as  it has already happened; the “work” of sales is complete, closing is simply the result of a competent sales process.

This math process analogy can help sellers envision what closing is all about. Math is like sales in a vacuum – a repeatable process. In the real world, sellers are using psychology, presentation skills and benefiting from good timing.


5 thoughts on “Why Math is Like Sales (And Why it’s Not)

  1. Carson, great analogy. To add one simple note to your vivid word picture, in math there is always balance on either side of the “=” which implies that poor qualification will ultimately cause or “equal” poor sales results.

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