Afraid of numbers?
Sales leaders would all like to think that their teams are adept and confident when it comes to the critical phase of trading numbers with a sharp buyer. After all, it’s where value is retained or lost.
Well... our experience tells us some can, and worryingly some can’t!
When we were aspiring “representatives”, working out POR or Cash Margin and calculating VAT were drilled into us. Today, this is a lesson that some have missed or need the comfort blanket spreadsheet for support.
Of course, many are not willing to admit that they have “maths anxiety”- a tendency to avoid situations and conversations where a lack of confidence with numbers may be exposed. These “feelings of tension and anxiety that interfere with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in a variety of ordinary life situations”1 is thought “to affect up to 85%”2 of us. Troubling if your people are up against proficient buyers.
In fact, we find the problem is much bigger. In order to persuade customers at all levels of their value propositions, effective sales people must be able to express the offer in the customer’s terms – and not their own. This is challenging when you are not confident of the maths. We see this as a failing in many customer conversations.
So what’s the answer? Three things... [Understanding the] customer perspective, methodology & practice – to build skills and confidence.
There are a few basic calculations that Customer Managers need to know and adapt to frame propositions in their buyer’s world. As with most things, sufficient practice will breed confidence and increased confidence will reduce instances of Fight, Flight or Freeze. Quite handy when pressured by a buyer!
Is it as easy as 1,2,3? Well... Yes! We run a Commercial Awareness programme that we tailor for a number of our clients to help them become more comfortable discussing money – including “buyer’s maths”.
We’re always happy to chat to see if your numbers add up!
1.Richardson, F. C., & Suinn, R. M. (1972). The Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale: Psychometric data. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 19(6), 551.
2.Perry, Andrew B. "Decreasing math anxiety in college students." College Student Journal, vol. 38, no. 2, 2004, p. 321+.