The power of statistics

I often remind my team (and sometimes need to remind myself) the power of citing statistics in making a point.  It never ceases to amaze me as I sit in a meeting and watch as one of our team recites certain statistics and you can see people write those points down above all others.  When thinking about it – it is obvious.  But so often it is easy to make a point without citing a statistic and in our “busy times” people will often thin that suffices.  But – I will tell you – for sure – IT DOES NOT SUFFICE.

Let me give you one example. Consider the following two statements is a sales  meeting -

“More and more as internet broadcasting becomes popular people are switching from watching cable and satellite to watching TV programming on the internet.”

versus…

“A recent poll reported by CNBC stated ’37 percent of Netflixsubscribers aged 25 to 34 substitute Netflix for pay television. Almost 30 percent of users between 18 and 24 are using Netflix’s streaming service instead of cable or satellite.’”

Which is more powerful in getting the point across?  Which will have a greater impact on the prospective client?  To me – the answer is obvious.  And the challenge – as leaders – is to compel our team to continually strive to get new and more powerful statistics to bring our points to light.

Do you use statistics in presenting your point?  Do you see it as a valuable sales tool?

Metrics, Metrics, Metrics – the “live, like, love” principle

I probably could have written the word metrics 100 more times in the title of this post and still not have been emphatic enough about the need for metrics.  Everything that is done in business should be tied to metrics so that you have a clear understanding of success.  I often tell people about the “live, like, love” principle as an easy way to talk about metrics.  Basically, it is this – there are always three numbers to look at when you measure things – the number that will let you live longer, the number by which your client will be happy and like you, and the number by which your client will be ecstatic and love you.   In financial terms, these are the baseline numbers, the budget, and the goal.

It is interesting to me that in most other parts of our life we talk about metrics all of the time – in sports, in education, in training our children, in comparing different opportunities, in almost everything.  Yet, in business people fear metrics.  They fear being measured.

I remember once speaking with a senior executive for a client and telling him how we needed to meet with his clients to understand their definition of success such that we could measure it and make sure we were achieving it.  His answer was – “I prefer not to do that – it is their job to measure it and determine success”.  What he was really saying was that he feared the metrics and being measured.  Not surprisingly, shortly thereafter the largest client pulled out of the program, claiming that success metrics were not met.

The lesson – forasmuch as you think you can hide from it, metrics are there whether you acknowledge them.  To that end, rather than avoid them, embrace them.  Force them to be stated, clearly understood, and engage around them.  With this, you are clearly in charge of your own destiny and the destiny of your organization.

Sound simple?  Maybe.  Sound critical?  Definitely.

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