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Sales Isn’t a Numbers Game. Focus Here Instead

Hello, everyone! Welcome back for Stephanie Bonte Lebair‘s 3rd episode on The Defiant Business Podcast. Stephanie is the founder of The Empowered Voice. As I hinted in yesterday’s episode, we will be talking about sales. Sales isn’t a numbers game, and Stephanie is going to share with us what we should be focusing on instead. Thank you so much again, Stephanie, for being with me today.

Stephanie: Thanks for having me, Ruthie!

Why Is Sales Not a Numbers Game?

Ruthie: This is for everyone who automates their LinkedIn connections and messages, and puts you in cold email campaigns, even though you didn’t ask for that. You say sales isn’t a numbers game, and I know there’s a whole camp of people who would insist otherwise. It’s a really quick way to get people to disagree with you. Let’s pretend someone already has. What’s your response when they disagree with you on that? 

When Someone Says “Sales IS a Numbers Game!”

Stephanie: First of all, it’s the biggest myth in sales ever told. There are a lot of people playing the numbers game, but let’s just stop and think about it for a second. If you need to get more yeses, does it make sense that you need to get as many noes as possible? No. Stop going for noes. 

In order to get more yeses, you need to get more yeses. That’s what makes sense. So how do you get more yeses? It’s not the numbers game. It’s a people game. When you understand people, you can adjust your presentation to meet them where they are and create an authentic connection. Then you’ll get more yeses. And that is honestly the bottom line.

Ruthie: I like that. So it’s not about getting 100 people and getting only 10% to say yes. It’s about looking at why you’re at 10% and not higher.

Stephanie: Exactly. The minute you understand people better, you’re going to start to change those numbers in your favor. I have a friend who used to be a door knocker for a TV company. He used to tell the story that every time someone slammed the door in his face, he would walk to the curb, take a couple deep breaths, go back to the front door and knock a second time.

The person would open the door and they’d be like, “Dude, what are you doing back here? I just slammed the door in your face.” And he would say, “Well, I have to get 100 noes today in order to get a yes, so I thought I’d just come knock on your door a second time so I’d be that much closer.” And that might break the ice. 

How Can You Approach Them Differently?

He  used it that way, but he was buying into the “sales is a numbers game” myth. It’s not about going back and knocking on the door a second time. It’s about going back and saying, “How can I approach this person differently? If I can approach this person differently, I’m going to get a different reaction.” That’s essentially what he did by making a joke. 

How could you do that in any situation, whether you’re a door knocker or not? Well, instead of just giving the same presentation a 10 times knowing that 10% of them are going to say yes, give a different presentation every time and maybe you’ll get 30-40% of them to say yes. 

Ruthie: As you were talking, I was thinking of the people who just go and knock on the door, get the no and move on. With consultants and coaches, that’s a problem. When they look at me as a business owner, they’re initially like, “She might want to work with me.” And I’m happy to talk with people, because that’s my thing. Let’s see how you are, how I am, and let’s talk. 

sales isn't a numbers game

I feel like a lot of coaches will immediately go for, “What’s your biggest struggle in business?” Didn’t we just say hello? I’m not going to share that with you right now.

So I’ve gotten into the habit of just saying, “Oh, everything’s going fine.” And I can’t tell you how many people have just stopped talking to me. I had somebody ask me how I use LinkedIn, which is one of my best channels. I have no problems with it at all. And then they just stopped.


Stephanie: They didn’t know how to speak your language in the first place. If they knew to speak Nurturing to you first, they would know never to bring in potential sales in the initial couple contexts at all. It’s all about getting to know you and understanding who your ideal client is, in case they could give you a referral. 

The best way to approach a Nurturing type is to make it about the relationship, not about the sales transaction. So it’s like, “How can I help you? Who do you want to meet in the next 30 days? Maybe there’s somebody I know that you’d like to meet.” You value community because you’re Nurturing, so how can I give to you? 

Instead of those typical LinkedIn outreach messages which are all about “here’s what I do, we’d love to help you”, the first transaction should be “let me truly, authentically help you and let me connect you to somebody who can help you”. That has nothing to do with making any money, but it has everything to do with me doing you a service.

Ruthie: I don’t tell the truth on whether or not any of those people could help me, but as soon as they jump in that way, I’m like, “You don’t even know if I’m a good fit for this or not.” Which tells me that they’re leaning more towards working it as a numbers game. 

Nobody likes to feel like they’re just a number, especially when you’re looking at business owners. The more experienced business owners get, the more they can see that coming from a mile away.

Stephanie: People understand why someone is reaching out in the general sense, but you still need to reach out in the way that works for their personality type.

If You Want To Reach Out To Stephanie on LinkedIn….

If you reach out to me on LinkedIn, the best way to get a yes is if you compliment me. I’m an Action. I like a compliment, so compliment me on how successful I am, “I can tell from your LinkedIn profile that you’re obviously a very successful speaker and trainer. Congratulations.” That gets my attention. 

I’m a Nurture second, so then you lean in with, “Hey, I would love to get on a 15-minute, get-to-know-you call.” That’s a great way to connect with me. I just want to get on the phone and get to know you. That’s it. No agenda other than that. 

Absurd LinkedIn Automated Messages

So if you knew that about me, you would know to never send me a link to all the ways you help your clients. Even though Action types are usually the quickest to say yes to things, do not lead with a cheesy, “Hey, can your business stand to have more clients?” I don’t know how many times I’ve had somebody reach out with that LinkedIn template.

Ruthie: “Can you handle 15-20 more clients a month? If you can, let me know.” Get outta here!

Stephanie: Exactly! That drives me nuts. I don’t even know what personality type that works on.

Ruthie: Maybe somebody who’s new, and they’re like, “Yeah, I’d love to have 15-20 more clients.” But that sounds absurd. 

Stephanie: It’s amazing how many self-proclaimed LinkedIn experts are reaching out to me in the wrong way. I love analyzing their messages, because I can tell them exactly what personality types are attracted to the message. I have an AI for that.

I’ll send them a little message back saying, “Just so you know, this is your message and this is who I am. Not a match.”

Ruthie: Every now and then, I will pitch them back. I’ll say something like, “Hey, so there’s actually a better way to connect with your ideal audience and market, and position yourself as an authority. That’s what I work with my clients on. So if you’re interested, we could schedule a call.”

Stephanie: I’ve done that too, Ruthie! We’re on the same page. When I have the time and I’m feeling it, I’m like, “Yeah, let’s reverse sell to this person.” They’re obviously missing some key information on reaching out, and it’s probably because they’re playing the numbers game. 

Of course they’re going to get some wins. If they’ve got some good systems set up where they can reach out to many people a day, of course you’re going to get results. But you don’t have to work as hard. You don’t have to play the numbers game if you use different approaches with different people.

How Can Leaders Help Their Sales Teams Focus on People, not Numbers?

Ruthie: So now we’re not looking at numbers, and we know we should be focusing more on people. If you’re in charge of a sales team, how can you help your teams with this? With sales teams, it can be a bit competitive. So how can leaders get their team members to focus on the right thing?

Stephanie: What’s great about this value-based personality science is that it’s duplicatable. So it’s just about teaching them the information they need to know about personality types. Then, they can immediately see a different result. 

Because most people just don’t know what they don’t know, and they’re learning sales through trial and error. After having a conversation that didn’t work out, they’re savvy enough to assess it. They’re at least saying to themselves, “What went well in that conversation? What didn’t go well? How can I do it differently next time I come in contact with a person like that?” 

How Understanding Your Prospect’s Values Makes a Difference

But if you understand personality science and how to shift based on who they are, it’s like a script. Have you ever seen the movie The DaVinci Code, where Tom Hanks is trying to find the secret to the Holy Grail and he’s got to put the code into that little Cryptex device in the exact right way?

Your BANK code is the code that opens up that Cryptex. Inside that Cryptex is a script with the secret written on it. So imagine that all of your prospects have that little device in their pocket. If you know their BANK code, you know the exact script of what to say to get a yes, instead of a no. 

So if you’re a manager, who’s training your team in this methodology, they know what to say to get a yes with any combination. There’s actually 24 combinations of this code. What is the combination for that person? When you know that, then you know how to approach them.

It’s also important to always listen, because everybody’s unique. Everybody has their own life story, their own triggers, and their own tripwires. You’re always listening to what they’re saying and what personality type they may have moved into. 

Speak Your Prospect’s “Language”

I can speak any personality type at any moment. I can start speaking Knowledge. If you don’t recognize I’m speaking Knowledge, you’re not going to respond back in the right way.

Or I can move into my Blueprint and if you know that I’ve moved into my Blueprint, now you have to try to save me money because I’m budget-conscious. Instead, you could be like, “She’s moving into Blueprint. Let me see what I can do to give her a coupon, make a deal/make a guarantee to help her feel good about this transaction.” 

And if I’m moving to my Nurture. I may ask, “Do you give back to a good cause?” Now you might want to share how you volunteer, how every portion of every sale goes to this particular cause, or you allow me to choose the cause that I give a portion of every sale to. 

As you hear this, come in this language. You have to think of it like a language. It takes practice, but as you get better at listening, then you can respond in kind. That’s really what I train teams to do. Start understanding who these different people are, as well as how you can manage conflict and conversations within your team and the prospects that you come in connection with?

The BANK Code Unlocks A lot

Ruthie: This BANK code sounds like it really unlocks quite a bit.

Stephanie: It really does! You can see I’m really passionate about it. I love singing and performing, and I do all kinds of coaching on how do you grow that energetic voice so that you feel powerful. 

 I also talk about the physical voice. How do you use your voice? How do you create inflection? What about how you use your body on the stage? 

And then the third step is the written word. How do you choose the words that you’re going to say? How do you write the words that you’re going to use in your marketing? 

When all those 3 things are working together, you become super influential in everything you do.

Ruthie: That’s what I love about this. I know you work with business owners and sales teams, and that information there applies to anybody who’s in a position to sell as part of their living. That includes businesses from 1 employee in size, to 100s or 1000s. 

Needing to Influence People Is a Life Skill

Even if you’re not in the sales department, you still have to work with and influence people. Thinking back to my time in the military, the highest rank I got was a staff sergeant. So I was a leader, but I was in the middle. I considered it my job to make life as good as I could for my soldiers.

Oftentimes that involved knowing who I was dealing with, what buttons or boundaries I could push, and the things that I couldn’t do. As you said, certain things work well with people based on their BANK code, and certain things don’t. 

Influencing Our Superiors

I’m specifically thinking about one first sergeant I had, who had to have definitely have been an A. I knew that if I really felt strongly about something, I could dig in my feet and say, “First Sergeant, you can do that. I’m not doing that.” And if I really dug in, he would look at me and he would go, “Sergeant Bowles!” And he would just walk away, but I would get my way. 

I didn’t do it all the time. So if I did it, it usually caused him to pause and reflect. He was an A, and I know A has to be one of my top personality types. So he would see that and kind of respect it. 

Stephanie: That’s funny!

Ruthie: I couldn’t do that with everybody. But in my mind I must’ve figured out that if I did this, I’d have a much greater chance at getting whatever good thing I felt needed to happen. 

Stephanie: It sounds like you picked your battles, so he recognized that when you pushed back, it was serious.

Ruthie: That’s exactly right. I didn’t do it over everything, but I did it when I felt like it mattered. And even though he outranked me, I had to trust that he wasn’t going to abuse that particular relationship. So he must’ve communicated that effectively.

Influencing Our Kids

Stephanie: You’re so right, too. Your communication with your superiors and the people you manage is about influence. I’m homeschooling my 8-year-old son, so I’m working on influencing him every morning on how to actually sit down and do his math/reading.

Sometimes, I’m not so great at influencing him. And when I’m not great at it, it’s because I’m not speaking his language. So I have to remind myself to shift how I’m presenting this because he’s not going to take action unless I speak his language.

Ruthie: We’re going to include the link in the show notes, so you can take the quiz that Stephanie has been talking about. I’m very excited about that! I’m interested in having more conversations with people as they learn about themselves. I’ll also probably drop that link in my Facebook group, The Defiant Business Group

Find out your BANK code using this 90-second quiz!

On Friday we’ve got Stephanie’s last episode going live. I’m very intrigued to talk about that episode, especially after talking about sales today. You’ll have to wait until Friday to read it, and it’ll be fabulous. We’ll see you then. 

sales isn't a numbers game