If you think Sales is A Numbers Game You’re Playing Wrong!


Alex Alexandrou

Oxenford Languages defines a Numbers Game as “a lottery based on the occurrence of unpredictable numbers in the results of races, a lottery, etc.”

By this very definition if sales is a numbers game, closing a sale is based entirely on luck or chance rather than strategy, skill, and technique.

Wikipedia tells us “Sales are often referred to as a “numbers game” because a general law of averages and pattern of successful closing of business will emerge through heightened sales activity.”

So in other words the more activity/work you do the greater the sales. This makes sense and if you are applying a general law of average it is right but how exhausting! And is this really the best approach to sales for your business? It does not seem like a winning set-up for any business with a vision and goal to grow and scale. 

A good example of a sales number game is door-to-door sales. Now don’t mistake me, I know a lot of great, successful, and very professional salespeople that started their careers doing door-to-door selling. I even did my tour of duty selling water filtration systems. I found door-to-door selling to be a strong sales foundation and a highly educational experience that assisted my future sales success in corporate and other areas of business. Door-to-door sales was a numbers game for newer recruits and the less astute members of the canvassing team and they went about their days knocking on as many doors as possible to increase their sales.

The more successful members of the team would analyse the profiles of the customers they actually sold to and would try and isolate and target prospects that seem similar on other streets/areas. They would also consider and analyse the conversations with these customers to work on and repeat tactics, sentences, and phrases that helped win the sale and adjust or remove others that didn’t resonate as well. They did these things to improve their performance with each new prospect increasing their likelihood of closing the next sale. So going back to the Wikipedia explanation of sales as a numbers game, these salespeople tried to change the average in the law of averages rather than increase the activity to get the results they were looking for – more sales.


Some sales experts will tell you that the sales numbers game is a myth but it does exist and in 2022 there are still too many salespeople playing it.

Playing the Sales Numbers Game…

When salespeople approach selling like it’s a numbers game it drastically decreases their ability to succeed for 4 BIG reasons:

1. If sales success is based on luck, chance, or a magical alignment of factors – you can’t understand or appreciate the crucial role the salesperson and their strategy, skills, and technique plays in winning clients.

2. Those that hold the misbelief that sales is a numbers game make their sales process more complex, hard, and time-consuming than it needs to be, limiting their ability to succeed and increasing the likelihood of dissatisfaction, stress, and burnout. More simply put they are working harder not smarter!

3. There is absolutely no reason to stand out from your competition with compelling and resonating messaging when sales is a game of chance or reduced to a transaction based on the amount of activity expended.

4. Those that play sales like a numbers game rarely know the meaning behind the numbers. They just think their number has to come up eventually.

If you believe sales is a numbers game you are playing it wrong. And you are limiting your business’s ability to succeed, grow and scale.

Sales A Professional Game

We believe the best way to play the sales game is to play it as a professional game rather than a numbers game.

Those that approach sales as a professional game will significantly increase their success for 4 BIG reasons:

1. Your salespeople are continuously finetuning and developing their strategy, skills, and technique to maintain and increase their sales success and closing ratios. They know sales is a professional game too!

2. You are always looking to refine your sales process to make it more effective and efficient. You are qualifying, disqualifying, and answering objections along every step of the sales pipeline. You listen to recordings and are always trying to improve and do things better to get a positive outcome more often.

3. You encourage collaboration and information sharing between sales and marketing to maximise their alignment. This approach enables your business to always be working on your messaging and making it compelling and resonating with your ideal clients and entering the conversations in their heads.

4. You know the numbers that count and your sales team religiously records and reports these numbers so you can plan and forecast and also provide further training and development to improve the team’s strategy, skills, and techniques to increase their sales success and closing ratios.

Want to be playing the sales game with professionals rather than in an arena of amateurs and punters?

Here’s how you can improve your professional selling game and drastically and rapidly increase your sales success and closing ratios (and stand out as true sales professionals):

It’s All About Niche Markets

When a business is focused on selling to a niche market they very clearly are not playing sales as a numbers game. Why? Very simply you are not trying to sell to everyone but aiming to be the solution of choice to a segment of a larger market that can be defined by its own unique needs, preferences, or identity that makes it different. 

Numbers game salespeople (or perhaps we could call them busy fools) would choose the largest market possible, wade through all the prospects to eventually and with a great deal of activity and effort get the sales. A focus on quantity vs quality.

The benefit of selling to a specific niche market is that you are zoned into finding a specific person or profile (ideal client) with specific needs that align with your offer. When selling to a niche market your salespeople can focus on isolating these ideal clients and uncovering their pains so when they present their offer it’s a no-brainer to purchase. If the professional salesperson is unable to discover the prospect’s pains and/or they do not meet the criteria of an ideal client they politely end the interaction saving the prospect and themselves valuable time and lost opportunity cost.


Know the Metrics That Matter

This is where numbers should come into your selling game. An easy way to spot a professional salesperson is by how well they know the metrics that matter including their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).

Top sales professionals not only know their metrics they analyse them to find weaknesses and areas of improvement so they can expend effort in the areas that are most needed to increase their sales.

In establishing Metrics That Metter, your sales and company metrics should:

  • Align with your company goals (if your goals can’t be measured they shouldn’t be goals)
  • Align with key performance indicators across all divisions
  • Allow you and your team to easily record and report the metrics that matter
  • Provide a snapshot on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annual basis of all key divisions of your business
  • Highlight potential issues, problems and decline in performance before they either arise or get too large
  • Be able to be tracked and analysed on a regular basis by all members of the team not just management. Top sales people track and analyse their performance regularly and make adjustments to improve performance where needed.
  • Help you make informed decisions to grow and scale your business

Centre Your Sales Around Your Client

Those playing sales as a numbers game treat clients like they are a number. They follow a script and process to get through it all as quickly as possible to churn through as many prospects in the shortest time possible because when you play the numbers game more activity leads to more sales. Think of the last telemarketing phone call you received!

A salesperson playing a professional game follows a script and process too but the script and process are centered around the client.

Their empathetic approach focuses on uncovering the real pains and problems the client is experiencing then demonstrating how their solution can solve these pains and problems and provide the desired outcomes the particular client is looking for. No need to consider hanging up on these salespeople they want you to talk about yourself, unlike the before mentioned telemarketers.


Always Disqualifying or Qualifying

Another clear sign a salesperson is not playing sales as a numbers game is when they are constantly aiming to disqualify or qualify the prospect throughout the entire sales presentation/process. A professional salesperson aims to disqualify prospects without the required pain or problems quickly and will not continue on with their presentation or present the offer if they have disqualified them. Instead, they will politely and kindly end the sales call.

To improve your business professional sales performance analyse your sales process to look for opportunities to qualify/disqualify prospects throughout. Once you isolate these opportunities adjust your sales process to systemise the steps and provide relevant tools to better facilitate qualification/disqualification in the highlighted areas.


Be Known For Employee Training and Development

When you have a professional approach to sales you know that closing more sales is tied closely to the mindset, strategy, skill, and technique of the salesperson.

So it is logical that if you educate, train, coach, and mentor a salesperson to improve their mindset, strategy, skill, and technique their sales performance will increase in response.

This statistic from taskdrive highlights the impact of sales training on business:

The ROI for sales training stands at 353%. Roughly speaking, for every dollar a company spends on training, it receives about $4.53 back.


It’s important to weave a culture of ongoing training and development into the fabric of your business too:

Companies that provide decent sales coaching increased revenue by 8.4% year-over-year, which is a 95% improvement over companies that do not provide this kind of coaching.


With talent acquisition and retention becoming increasingly difficult and expensive, being known as a leader in employee training and development is a major plus.

94% of employees say that they would stay at a company longer if there is investment in their learning and development.

LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2019


70% of staff members would leave their current organizations for a job with one known for investing in employee development and learning.


Align Your Sales and Marketing

The highest performing sales and marketing people work for businesses that prioritise the alignment of their sales and marketing divisions and encourage collaboration on a daily basis.

When sales and marketing work together, aligned teams can deliver resonating and converting marketing outreach, boost sales effectiveness, and performance, and ultimately grow revenue, cash flow, and profits.

Putting your client in the centre of both your sales and marketing can assist with the alignment of your teams as this creates a common focus. Regular meetings and collaboration on activities will also help with the alignment and the success of achieving what is actually a common goal – selling to more ideal clients.

If your teams are aligned and collaborating, information is shared and enables each team to perform at their best. For example, if marketing has a good understanding of how sales operate and interacts with their prospects and clients they can provide better tools to improve that interaction. In reverse, if salespeople can share information from their face-to-face interactions with prospects and clients to marketing, Marketing can improve their messaging to speak to prospective clients in their own language, addressing their real pains, problems, and aspirations. Marketing messages will be more compelling and resonate, increasing the volume and quality of leads for the sales team.

A win-win for everyone!


If you would like to investigate how you can improve your sales teams’ professional selling game, connect with us and start a conversation.

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